by Katie Kutcher, MA, CIRS-A
Older adults are a vital part of our society. Since 1963, communities across the country have shown their gratitude by celebrating Older Americans Month each May. In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Older Americans Act (OAA), the Administration for Community Living has announced “Get into the Act” as its theme for Older Americans Month this May of 2015.
Signed into law in 1965 by President Lyndon B. Johnson, the OAA established the nationwide aging services network. This network of services helps older adults live with dignity in the communities of their choice for as long as possible. These services include home-delivered and congregate meals, caregiver support, community-based assistance, preventive health services, elder abuse prevention, senior centers, transportation and much more.
Reauthorizing the Older American’s Act is important to sustain funding to maintain these services and an increase in funding will be necessary to reach the ever growing demand. Contact your Senators and Representatives to share what these programs funded through the Older Americans Act mean to you! Urge Congress to support these important programs by reauthorizing the OAA, making needed investments, and protecting funding from sequestration. Not only do these services benefit the seniors of our community, but they also save taxpayer dollars by enabling seniors to stay out of nursing homes, prevent hunger and malnutrition, manage chronic health conditions, remain in the workforce, and avoid abuse, neglect and exploitation.
Older Americans Month offers an opportunity to emphasize how older adults can access the home- and community-based services they need to live independently in their communities. It is also an exciting opportunity to highlight how older adults are engaging with and making a difference in the community.
To find out how you can “Get into the Act” and honor Older Americans Month, contact your Area Agency on Aging, or local Senior Center or visit The Administration on Community Living Website to view a full Outreach Guide with ideas about how to celebrate Older Americans Month.
Discover Older Americans Month – Visit http://www.acl.gov/newsroom/observances/oam/index.aspx
Connect: TELL ACL! Older Americans Month is all about promoting health and building communities across the nation. We encourage you to share information about your activities with other communities and with The Administration on Community Living.
Advocacy resources including template letters and emails to congress can be found at https://www.ncoa.org/public-policy-action/older-americans-act/
Contact the Centralina Area Agency on Aging office by visiting www.centralinaaging.org or calling 1-800-508-5777 to find ongoing opportunities to celebrate and support older Americans.