The Senate on Thursday passed the Older Americans Act Reauthorization Act of 2016, bipartisan legislation sponsored by the chairman and top Democrat on the Senate health committee to support social and nutrition services – from home-delivered meals to senior centers – for nearly 12 million older Americans.
Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said: “This bipartisan legislation will continue services for the nearly 150,000 Tennesseans who rely on programs like Meals on Wheels, or on programs that provide rides to their doctors’ appointments or the grocery store. For the last 50 years, the Older Americans Act has provided grants to states so they can help seniors live more comfortably at home or ensure high-quality care at a nursing home.”
Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said: “In America, every senior should be able to retire with the health, dignity, and independence they’ve earned through a lifetime of hard work. With the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act, we reaffirm our obligation to our seniors by enforcing protections to prevent elder abuse and by expanding crucial programs such as the National Family Caregiver Support Program and the Senior Community Service and Employment Program. This bill also sustains investments in vital programs like Meals on Wheels, which supports food security for seniors. Today’s reauthorization is a significant step forward, and I will continue working with all of my colleagues in Congress to live up to our responsibility to our seniors.”
Senator Richard Burr (R-N.C.) said: “I am proud to have worked with my colleagues to ensure a reauthorization of the Older Americans Act that will greatly benefit North Carolina’s seniors. This legislation provides access to critical services and programs that help to meet some of North Carolina’s most vulnerable seniors’ needs, such as providing meals and caregiver assistance, so they can remain in the comfort of their homes and communities longer. I am pleased that this bipartisan legislation will not only continue these programs, but increase the resources North Carolina’s seniors receive through them. This will better serve North Carolina’s seniors today and in the coming years as more and more seniors choose to call North Carolina home.”
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said: “A nation is judged by how it cares for its most vulnerable. The shocking truth is that millions of seniors are choosing each day whether to pay their rent, put food on the table or buy the medicine they need. Seniors in Vermont and around the country deserve to live with dignity and with a sense of security. The Older Americans Act helps to provide that.”
Aging Committee Chairman Susan Collins (R-Maine) said: “For over 50 years, the Older Americans Act has provided funding for critical services that have helped keep our older adults in Maine and across our country healthy and independent. This bipartisan legislation will ensure funding continues for some of the most vital and successful programs, such as meals on wheels and caregiver support, that are currently used by nearly 12 million older Americans and their loved ones.”
The Older Americans Act has been due for reauthorization since 2011 and:
- Provides services to Americans age 60 and over, targeting those with the greatest social and economic need;
- Provides home-delivered nutrition services, group meals, family caregiver support, and community service employment;
- Ensures all long-term care residents have access to the long-term care ombudsman program which advocates and resolves complaints for residents; and
- Provides services to prevent the abuse and neglect of seniors.