The creation of the National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP) nearly two decades ago marked the first federal recognition of the central role families play in the provision of long-term services and supports (LTSS). In the field of aging and caregiving, the NFCSP, created in 2000 under the Older Americans Act (originally enacted in 1965), was a game changer. Why? Because the federal program made it possible for every state to address family-related matters that historically were thought to be too private for a public response.
Imagine living alone, being frail or living with a disability, and unable to leave your house without help. Now imagine feeling a hunger pang, opening up your fridge to find it empty, or wondering how you are going to get your next meal.
AARP applauds Congress for passing the long-awaited bipartisan legislation reauthorizing the Older Americans Act (OAA) after the Senate passed the House-amended bill on April 7. Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an amended version of S. 192, legislation that passed unanimously in the Senate in July 2015.
The Older Americans Act (OAA) is the law that since 1965 has provided a variety of essential programs and services to our most vulnerable older Americans, including Meals on Wheels, access to abuse prevention services, transportation assistance, and support for family caregivers. OAA programs save taxpayers money by reducing unnecessary hospital readmissions, and help older Americans stay in their homes and communities, where they want to be.
In the same week as its 50th anniversary, the Senate finally renewed the Older Americans Act (OAA). Thanks to the bipartisan support of Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the Older Americans Act is moving forward after 5 years of inaction.
Today, I’m proud to join AARP volunteers from every state in making our voices heard on Capitol Hill. We will meet with members of the House and Senate from all 50 states, urging them to pass laws to protect and enhance the health and economic security of all people as they age. We will also express our thanks to those members who helped pass a “doc fix” law that allows Medicare beneficiaries to continue seeing their physicians.
When I became a caregiver for my dad's parents, Grandmother Genevieve had dementia and Granddaddy C.V., 10 years her senior, was struggling to care for her. I remember realizing they were getting by on a meager breakfast at home and a single meal at a cafeteria. Getting Grandmother into the car and Granddaddy driving her to the cafeteria were becoming scary, so I contacted the local Area Agency on Aging and arranged for delivery of Meals on Wheels to their home.
Even if you aren't familiar with the Older Americans Act, you probably know of services it makes possible: Meals on Wheels, job training, senior centers and family caregiver support, among many others. The future of this safety net for older Americans looks a little brighter because, with bipartisan support, a key Senate committee advanced legislation to reauthorize the OAA on Oct. 30.
Bernie Sanders, a feisty Independent from Vermont who often votes with his Democratic colleagues, scored a modest - if largely symbolic - victory for older Americans as the Senate pulled an all-nighter last Friday to debate and vote on budget amendment s.
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