Tell Congress Not to Leave Seniors Stranded

The   Older Americans Act (OAA)   is critical to helping seniors live independently as they age. Last month, the Senate HELP Committee unanimously approved the  Older Americans Act Reauthorization Act of 2015 , a bipartisan bill supported by AARP. The bill now awaits a vote in the full Senate. This is the third in a three-part series detailing the importance of programs funded by the OAA to the dignity of seniors across America.


How would you get to your doctor’s appointment if you didn’t have a car?

For many seniors, this isn’t a hypothetical question — it’s their reality.

Transportation for Wheelchair User

Many can’t afford the upkeep or insurance costs of a car while living on a fixed income. Others have lost the ability to drive. In these cases, access to affordable public transportation is a true lifeline.

Without transportation options, these older Americans would be left stranded from their communities. Many would be unable to live independently in their own homes as they age.

The Older Americans Act (OAA) helps seniors get where they need to go while still preserving their dignity and independence. Signed into law in 1965, the OAA provides funding for essential transportation programs, as well as critical services like Meals on Wheels and protection from elder abuse.

The Allen Council on Aging (ACOA) in Oakdale, La., is just one example of a transportation service supported by the OAA. Residents age 60 and older in Allen County who are unable to drive or access reliable public transit can call the ACOA to arrange for a ride.

>> Newsletter: Get the latest on AARP advocay programs affecting you

Whether it’s to get to a doctor’s appointment, grocery store, pharmacy, bank or community center, one of the Allen Council’s 11 vehicles will pick you up. Half of the fleet is wheelchair accessible.

“I will drive people myself,” says Pat Jones, executive director of the ACOA. “Regardless of the number of services you are providing, if people do not have a way to get there, the services are moot. This is a lifeline for them.”

Unless renewed, funding and critical planning for Older Americans Act transportation and other services remain in limbo. Indeed — until recently — Congress has appeared to have no sense of urgency to do anything about it. Older Americans have been left without the full protection of the law they deserve.

No senior should ever feel isolated from the community. As the older population continues to grow, Congress must reaffirm its commitment to critical transportation programs seniors rely upon to maintain their independence.

Congress should renew the OAA so that all older Americans can get where they need to go.  It's time to take action.

>> Renew the bipartisan Older Americans Act today.

Please read, share and tell Congress: Don't play political games with seniors' health and well-being. 

Also of Interest

See the  AARP home page for deals, savings tips, trivia and more.

Search AARP Blogs

Related Posts
December 11, 2018 10:07 AM
In an election year filled with partisanship and political fights, it’s no surprise that many Americans feel that their voices aren’t being heard or that the issues that affect their lives aren’t being addressed. But, many outstanding elected officials work hard every day to make a positive difference for their constituents.  That’s why AARP recognizes state legislators, governors, and other elected officials – from both sides of the aisle – who have stepped up and worked together to write, support, and advance common-sense policies that help older Americans remain in their homes and communities and retire with confidence. AARP is proud to announce our fifth annual bipartisan class of Capitol Caregivers, who fought this year to increase support for family caregivers and their loved ones, along with our fourth annual bipartisan class of Super Savers, who championed policies that enhance retirement security.
December 05, 2018 01:06 PM
Caroline is a mother of two children and a preschool teacher who unexpectedly became a family caregiver for her father after he suffered a major stroke. Her father, Tom, now deceased, lost the use of his right side and his ability to speak. Multiple surgeries and rehabilitation treatments later, he was able to live at home with the help of nurses. But it was up to Caroline to provide daily care, such as overseeing appointments and handling certain nursing responsibilities, like managing his medications. “I became the person my father could rely on more than anyone in the world,” Caroline said. “I became his safe place and his best friend.” In communities across the country, family caregivers like Caroline are caring for older parents, spouses and other loved ones, helping them to remain at home – where they want to be. Their tasks are done out of love and commitment, but are not easy. That’s why AARP is fighting for family caregivers and their loved ones in every state. In 2018, AARP advanced new policies to provide more help at home, flexibility at work, training, relief and more, which will benefit over 30 million family caregivers. Here are a couple highlights:
November 27, 2018 08:55 AM
A few months ago, I wrote a blog about the vital role that transportation options play in what we at AARP call “livable communities” – great places to live for people of all ages. Being able to get around is critical to earn a living, raise a family, contribute and stay connected to your community and enjoy life. And, having alternatives to getting behind the wheel of your own car is particularly important for older adults who want to stay in their homes and communities as they age.