The Older Americans Act
The Older Americans Act (OAA), originally passed in 1965, is the primary legislation that covers social and nutrition services for older persons and their caregivers. From meal delivery to respite care, OAA supports a wide range of social services and programs from both older individuals and their families. It also strengthens communities by improving socialization and independence for seniors. The Older Americans Act:
Builds a Network of Supportive Agencies through the National Aging Network
- Provides funding to State Units on Aging (SUAs), Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs), Tribal Organizations, and Native Hawaiian Organizations to implement OAA programs.
- Divides states into planning and service areas (PSAs), so that programs can be tailored to meet the specific needs of older persons residing in those areas.
Helps Seniors Live Independently & Supports Home and Community Based Long-Term Care
- Helps older adults maintain their independence and dignity in their homes and communities, saving both families and taxpayers money, avoiding costly hospital and nursing home admissions.
- Offers opportunities to enhance independence through work opportunities.
- Notable programs and services include, but are not limited to: senior centers, the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), Aging and Disability Resource Centers, the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, transportation services, and adult day care.
Promotes Health, Prevention & Wellness
- Helps older adults remain as healthy and independent as possible through health promotion services.
- Provides education on health and well-being issues that affect the older population.
- Notable programs and services include, but are not limited to: behavioral health promotion, diabetes self-management, and falls prevention programs.
Ensures Elder Rights Protections
- Provides a range of programs that help protect the rights of vulnerable and at-risk seniors and protects seniors from fraud and exploitation.
- Notable programs and services include, but are not limited to: the Prevention of Elder Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation program, the National Center on Elder Abuse, and the Senior Medicare Patrol program.
Provides Healthy Meals through Nutrition Services
- Reduces hunger and food insecurity, delays adverse health conditions, and promotes the socialization, health, and well-being of older individuals.
- Notable programs and services include, but are not limited to: home-delivered nutrition services, congregate meals, and the National Resource Center on Nutrition and Aging.
Supports Caregivers through the National Family Caregiver Support Program
- Provides a coordinated set of support services for caregivers to help alleviate the heavy emotional, physical, and financial burden on caregivers.
- Funds programs that reduce caregiver depression, anxiety, and stress, thus enabling them to better care for their loved ones.
- Notable programs and services include, but are not limited to: assistance for caregivers in accessing program services, individual counseling, respite care, and caregiving training.