The Older Americans Act (OAA) is the primary federal program that supports seniors and their caregivers. It provides services and funding for senior centers, Meals on Wheels, transportation, adult day care, home-delivered meals, caregiver support, and more.
What Is The Older Americans Act?
The Older Americans Act (OAA) is a federal law that was first enacted in 1965. The OAA provides funding for a wide range of services and programs that are designed to help older Americans age 60 and over.
The services and programs funded by the OAA include:
- In-home services, such as home-delivered meals, personal care, and homemaker services
- Transportation services
- Legal services
- Information and referral services
- Protective services
- Supportive services, such as case management and caregiver support
- Health promotion and disease prevention services
- Nutrition services, such as congregate meals and nutrition education
- Employment and training services
- Adult day care services
The OAA is the main source of federal funding for many of these services. The Act is administered by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), which is part of HHS.
The OAA was enacted to help older adults remain independent and living in their own homes and communities for as long as possible. The Act has been reauthorized several times, most recently in 2016.
If you are an older adult, or if you care for an older adult, the OAA can help you get the services and support you need to live independently. For more information, visit ACL’s website.
What Does The Older Americans Act Do?
The OAA was created to help address the needs of a rapidly growing population of seniors.
The OAA is administered by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), which is a part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). ACL also administers the Older Americans Act Nutrition Program.
The OAA is funded through a combination of federal and state funds. States are required to provide a matching share of funds in order to receive federal funding.
The OAA is overseen by the National Advisory Council on Aging, which is composed of up to 35 members. The Council provides advice and recommendations to the Secretary of HHS on matters related to older Americans.
The programs and services authorized by the OAA include:
- home-delivered meals
- Congregate meals
- nutrition education
- health promotion and disease prevention
- elder abuse prevention
- family caregiver support
- legal assistance
The OAA also funds research on aging, as well as training for those who work with older adults.
In addition to the programs and services authorized by the OAA, the Older Americans Act Amendments of 2006 (P.L. 109-365) authorized the creation of the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP).
The SCSEP is the only federal program specifically targeted to help low-income, unemployed adults ages 55 and older find work.
SCSEP participants receive training and are then placed in part-time community service positions with public or nonprofit organizations.
Once they complete their training, participants are given priority for any vacant full-time position for which they are qualified.
In 2012, the OAA was reauthorized by the Older Americans Act Amendments of 2012 (P.L. 112-144).
The amended act authorized funding for supportive services, caregiver support, disease prevention and health promotion activities, nutrition services, and ombudsman services through FY2016.
It also created the National Family Caregiver Support Program and the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP).
The Older Americans Act does several things.
- First, it establishes a network of Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) to develop and implement plans for aging services at the local level.
- Second, it provides funding for supportive services, caregiver support, disease prevention and health promotion activities, nutrition services, and ombudsman services.
- Third, it creates the National Family Caregiver Support Program to provide training and support to family caregivers.
- Finally, it establishes the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) to provide part-time community service opportunities for low-income older adults who want to stay active and engaged in their communities.
The Older Americans Act is an important law that helps ensure our senior citizens can age with dignity and independence. It is just one of the many ways we can support and care for our older population.
What Are Some Of The Key Provisions Of The Older Americans Act?
As you’ve read, there are many wonderful programs and services that the Older Americans Act provides for seniors. But what, exactly, are some of the key provisions of this act?
One key provision is that the Older Americans Act establishes an Area Agency on Aging in every state. These agencies help connect seniors with the services they need, whether it’s transportation assistance, home-delivered meals, caregiver support, or something else entirely.
Some of the other key provisions of the Older Americans Act include:
- Grants for senior citizen centers and services
- Funding for home-delivered meals programs
- Support for caregiver training and respite care
- Senior housing counseling and protection from elder abuse
- Grants for state and local agencies to develop comprehensive systems of long-term care
- Funding for research on aging issues
What Would Happen If The Older Americans Act Was Not In Place?
Without the Older Americans Act, many of the services and programs that older Americans rely on would simply disappear. This would have a devastating impact on the health and well being of seniors across the country.
So what would happen if the Older Americans Act was not in place?
1. Millions of seniors would go hungry.
2. Senior centers would close their doors.
3. Seniors would lose their sense of community and isolation would increase.
4. The health and well being of millions of seniors would be at risk.
The Older Americans Act is a vital piece of legislation that provides essential services and support to seniors across the United States.
Without it, millions of older Americans would be left without the critical resources they need to live healthy and independent lives.
If you or someone you know is a senior citizen, be sure to thank them for their years of service and dedication to our country.
And if you’re ever in the position to do so, vote to reauthorize the Older Americans Act!