Illinois Aging Network Alert – April 12, 2019

Illinois Aging Network Alert April 12, 2019
A report of the impact Area Agencies on Aging have on Illinois seniors.

Reauthorization of the Older Americans Act is Vital for the Future of Aging Services!

The current authorization of the Older Americans Act will expire at the end of FY 2019.  Reauthorization generally occurs every 5 years. The Older Americans Act was enacted by the U.S. Congress and signed into law in 1965 through the declaration of the following objectives which are as relevant today:

  • Adequate income in retirement,
  • Best possible physical and mental health,
  • Suitable housing,
  • Efficient community services, including access to low-cost transportation,
  • Immediate benefit from proven research, and
  • Freedom, independence and free exercise of individual initiative in planning and managing their lives.

The Impact of Older Americans Act Services in Illinois (Source: IL FY 2018 AAA Survey):

Older Americans Act (OAA) Services were established to ensure that sustained health, independence and dignity could follow a lifetime of hard work.  The mission of the Older Americans Act is more important now than it was 50 years ago as our State is Aging – by 2030, 1 in 4 Illinoisans will be 60 or older.   The impact in Illinois:

OAA Title III-B Community-Based Services (Information and Benefits Assistance): 389,000 older adults served.

OAA Title III-B Transportation Services: 30,139 older adults received over 450,000 rides.

OAA Title III-C Nutrition Services: 7 million home delivered meals served to 40,781 home-bound older adults, and 2.1 million congregate meals served to 74,943 older adults (in congregate settings such as senior centers).

OAA Title III-E Family Caregiver Services: Over 72,210 family caregivers and grandparents/relatives raising grandchildren/children received support to continue their caregiving responsibilities.

Advocating for the Reauthorization of the Older Americans Act!

The Illinois Aging Network will work with Congress in pursuing a bipartisan, thoughtful, and determined approach to reauthorization that promotes four core principles.

  1. Meet the consumers where they are by protecting local focus and flexibility.  OAA services enable older adults to age in place.  Area Agencies on Aging develop and implement programs from the “bottom up” – truly reflecting the needs of older adults in local communities. Therefore, the reauthorization must preserve the local focus and flexibility maintained by Area Agencies on Aging.
  2. Meet growing needs by increasing investments.  OAA funding constitutes less than 1/3 of 1% of federal discretionary funding.  To meet the demand, an increase of 23% ($2.5 billion) is needed to restore the service capacity of the Aging Network.  Additional funding would reduce waiting lists and expand reach.
  3. Foster innovations in service delivery.  Though the Act’s foundational infrastructure has remained strong for decades, emerging best practices and research have guided changes to its programs and services to meet the needs of a diverse and growing aging population.  
  4. Ease administrative barriers to increase access to services.  Area Agencies on Aging are charged with achieving and maintaining fiscal stewardship and efficiencies.  Additional flexibilities are needed to allow Area Agencies on Aging reduce administrative burdens so they can better address the needs in their local service areas.

May is Older Americans Month!  Please join us in our advocacy efforts as we work together to preserve and improve the foundation of Aging Services through the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act!

For more information, contact Susan C. Real, Legislative Chair (309-829-2065 ext. 218) or Joy Paeth, I4A President (618-222-2561).

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