AARP applauds the bipartisan action taken on July 16, 2015 on S. 192, the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act (OAA) introduced by Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) with Senators Richard Burr (R-NC), Patty Murray (D-WA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT). The Senate passed the bill the week that the OAA celebrated its 50 anniversary of providing invaluable services to older adults.
At AARP Utah we appreciate the co-sponsorship from Senator Orrin Hatch and the support of Senator Mike Lee. Here is what AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins had to say about this historic vote:
AARP is thrilled with the passage of this bipartisan bill reauthorizing the Older Americans Act in the Senate and we urge the House of Representatives to swiftly do the same. This bill is crucial to millions of vulnerable older Americans, providing vital programs and services as well as respite care to family caregivers. We hope the bipartisan, fiscally sound compromise reached in the Senate can lead to passage in the House before Members of Congress go home in August. This carefully crafted legislation reflects over three years of bipartisan work reflected in a balanced, pragmatic approach to helping older Americans live longer with independence and dignity in their homes and communities."
The OAA reauthorization addresses AARP's core concern that any proposed legislation include protection of an essential array of programs and services that assist, protect, nourish, and sustain the nation's older Americans, help them maximize their choices, and promote dignity and independence in a fiscally responsible way. The OAA help saves precious tax dollars by keeping older Americans out of nursing homes and preventing unnecessary hospital readmissions.
Since it was enacted in 1965, millions of our most vulnerable older Americans have relied on the services provided by the OAA for their health and economic security. These services help older Americans live independently by:
Supporting nutrition programs, such as Meals-on-Wheels;
Providing home and community-based services, including preventive health services and transportation assistance;
Assisting family caregivers with information and referral, counseling and respite care;
Preventing and detecting elder abuse; and
Providing part-time community service employment and training, including the Senior Community Employment Program (SCSEP), which has helped more than one million older Americans enter the workforce.