Advocacy Begins at Home
The Older Americans Act (OAA) should be reauthorized this year and just in the nick of time: the U.S. expects an unprecedented wave of growth in the population of citizens over the age of 60. The Older Americans Act was originally established in 1965 with the goal of providing health and human services for Americans, particularly as they grow older.
The reauthorization provides an opportunity for Congress to ensure the Aging Network in the U.S. can continue to support a valuable and ever-expanding population of older Americans and their caregivers. Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) design, fund, and coordinate programs that enhance the community support system designed to maintain older adults in their homes, postponing the need for more medically intensive and costly health care services.
5 Reasons to Reauthorize the Older Americans Act Today!
1. The Age Wave
. Every eight seconds in America someone turns 65. Reauthorizing the Older Americans Act will demonstrate a commitment to good planning for handling the growth of the older population. The 2010 U.S. Census reported a 15% increase in New York State’s overall 60-plus population.
2. Reach older New Yorkers before they end up on Medicaid
. Area Agency on Aging programs are pre-Medicaid programs that help older New Yorkers avoid the spend-down to Medicaid. These services can be provided to older New Yorkers at one-tenth the cost of a nursing home.
3. Access to community-based programs
. The national Aging Services Network, which is comprised of the Administration on Aging, State Office for Aging, Area Agencies on Aging, and community providers was established by the act to ensure Americans have access to community-based programs and a continuity of care so they may maintain their independence.
4. More New Yorkers will be able to live independently long into old age
. Agencies on Aging serve the needs – nutritious meals, caregiver support, transportation, in-home personal care services, health insurance counseling – of older New Yorkers who want to live independently in the least restrictive setting.
5. Supports families and caregivers
. The value of the services that family caregivers provide to help older adults live independently is estimated at $450 billion a year nationally, according to AARP’s Public Policy Institute.The New York State Association of Area Agencies on Aging in partnership with the National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs created the following documents for policymakers who might be wondering why they should reauthorize the Older Americans Act.
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