Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Older Americans Act Reauthorized & Updated

On September 30, 2006, Congress approved the sixteenth reauthorization, for an additional five-year period, of the "Older Americans Act" (OAA). The OAA is explained in detail online here. Its unofficial statutory form (Title 42 of U.S. Code, Chapter 35) is found online here. The reauthorized OAA now goes to President Bush for signature, which is expected, since it was approved by Congress without opposition and with the Administration's support.

U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, per its Administration on Aging, issued a statement, dated October 2, 2006, by Josefina G. Carbonell, the Assistant Secretary for Aging, regarding passage of the Older Americans Act Amendments of 2006:

I commend the Congress for the successful passage of the 16th reauthorization of the Older Americans Act (OAA). I thank them for their leadership and compassion in understanding the vital role this Act plays in redirecting our long-term care system to help older Americans remain active and engaged in their communities – the overwhelming preference of the American people.

The OAA embodies our nation’s compassion toward ensuring the dignity and independence of our older citizens by promoting older Americans’ full participation in society, and supporting their overwhelming desire to remain living in their own homes and communities for as long as possible.

The Department's Statement highlighted some provisions including:

*Enhanced Federal, State, and Local coordination of long-term care services provided in home and community-based settings

*Support for State and community planning to address the long-term care needs of the baby boom generation
*Greater focus on prevention and treatment of mental disorders

*Outreach and service to a broader universe of family caregivers under the National Family Caregiver Support Program

*Increased focus on civic engagement and volunteerism
*Enhanced coordination of programs that protect elders from abuse, neglect and exploitation

Senior interest groups lauded the passage, and issued their own press & informational statements, such as that by AARP, dated October 1st, found online

Center for Social Gerontology updated its OAA website here.

The Department provided the following links regarding the 2006 Reauthorization of OAA:

See also the special website on the OAA provided by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce found here.