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Where AARP Stands

Reauthorize the Older Americans Act

Seniors’ independence and dignity depend on it

Millions of Americans rely on the Older Americans Act (OAA) to live independently as they age. That’s why AARP is calling on Congress to help preserve the dignity of seniors by renewing the OAA now.

Helping Seniors Live Independently

Since it was enacted into law in 1965, millions of our most vulnerable seniors have relied on the OAA for their health and economic security. The act helps seniors live independently by:

  • Supporting nutrition programs, including 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
  • Providing part-time community service employment and training, including the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), which has helped more than 1 million older Americans enter the workforce

The OAA provides an important safety net for people who are at risk of entering nursing homes, a costly option at nearly $88,000 per year for a private room. More than 85 percent of recipients of OAA-funded homemaker services, case management, transportation and home-delivered meals say that this assistance helped them to remain in their home, where the majority of Americans want to live as they age.

OAA’s assistance makes common sense in fiscal terms, too — it helps save precious federal and state tax dollars by keeping seniors out of nursing homes and preventing unnecessary hospital readmissions. 

Simple, Bipartisan Solution

The OAA’s current authorization expired in fiscal year 2011, but Congress has been unable to reach an agreement on its reauthorization. 

AARP is fighting for a bipartisan, simple reauthorization that will protect core programs and achieve greater effectiveness for funds already dedicated to the act’s core programs.

AARP urges the House and Senate to expedite passage of a simple OAA reauthorization that maintains existing programs without jeopardizing underfunded OAA services for the nation’s seniors.

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