Congress passed the Older Americans Act (OAA) in 1965 in response to concern by policymakers about a lack of community social services for older persons. The OAA remains an important resource for nutrition, family caregiver support, in-home assistance, preventive health services, transportation, job training, protection from abuse, and other supportive services.
The impact for the 11.3 million receiving services? Here are a few:
- Transportation - Transportation remains the primary issue of concern for older adults in our area. Without it, healthcare and other needs can go unmet and older adults can become socially isolated. Nationally, 24 million rides were provided to places like doctors' offices in 2016.
- In-home support - Many older adults just need a bit of help to remain safely in their home, but, with the average cost for in-home assistance over $20 an hour, options are limited. 40 million hours of personal-care aides was provided in 2016.
- Adult Day Centers - For many families, ADC's are an integral part of helping their older relatives live at home longer. In 2016, 10.6 million hours of adult day care was provided. Nutrition - 42 percent of congregate meal participants and 61 percent of home-delivered meal participants would skip meals or eat less in the absence of these programs.
- Disease Prevention & Health Promotion - 80% of older adults have at least one chronic health condition. OAA funds support health programs that are proven effective with the older adult population. One of these funded in our area (Live Well) is strongly correlated to show decreases in pain and depression and increased energy among other benefits.
- Family Caregiver Support - About 40 million family caregivers provide $470 billion in unpaid care. The most recent study of the OAA funded program (2014) found that nearly 62 percent of caregivers indicated that without the services they received the care recipient would be living in a nursing home.
The Older Americans Act is set to expire on September 30. Your voice is needed. Support the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act through outreach to your legislators’ offices, and those of key House and Senate Committee members, by September 30. Read the action alert from ASA.