Social Support Bill One Step Closer to Being Passed

The Older American’s Act (OAA), a federal grant originally enacted in 1965, supports a range of home and community-based services, nutritional programs, health promotion and disease prevention activities for seniors, and programs that protect vulnerable citizens, such as the long-term care ombudsman program.

Each of the nine counties in the Centralina region receive Older American’s Act grant funds to help support these services.  However, the federal grant has been stalled for reauthorization since 2011.  Reauthorizing the Older Americans Act allows Congress to update and improve upon the law's vital programs and services and with every day that passes the future of critical programs that serve seniors becomes more uncertain.

But in a major bi-partisan move, North Carolina Senator Richard Burr along with three other Senators (Senator Lamar Alexander—Tennessee, Senator Patty Murray—Washington, and Senator Bernie Sanders—Vermont) introduced the Older American’s Act Reauthorization Act of 2015

A press release from Senator Richard Burr’s office states “As more and more senior citizens choose to make North Carolina their home, it’s vital that funding for programs like Meals on Wheels reflects where seniors are moving.”   

This reference to the very issue that has stalled the bill for the past several years indicates that Senator Burr has gotten support for ensuring that the funding formula in the Act addresses the rapid growth of older American’s in specific parts of the country and in the state of North Carolina.

“As the OAA funds a range of home and community-based services for older Americans, including assisted transport services, home-delivered nutrition services, homemaker and chore services and transportation, the Reauthorization is very significant and will ultimately help prevent or delay the need for older adults to enter institutional care,” said Debi Lee, Centralina’s Assistant Director for Aging Programs.

“The Centralina Area Agency on Aging staff has been instrumental in educating the public and key decision makers on the impact to individual quality of life when services can be provided close to home,” said Lee. 

The chart below reflects the comparison of costs for at home versus long term care facilities.  The chart shows that it is more than twice the cost to the consumer for nursing home care than it would be to receive service in the community. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The passage of the Older American’s Act Reauthorization Act of 2015 is a vital link to North Carolinas fiscal health care success.  The Centralina Area Agency on Aging will continue to provide updates to you on this and other matters concerning the life of older adults in our region.

For more information or questions, please contact Debi Lee, Centralina’s Assistant Director for Aging Programs, at 704-348-2714 or dlee@centralina.org.



Related Counties: AllCounties     
Related COG Areas: Aging and Quality of Life