CONGRESSMAN JOE MORELLE TAKES ACTION TO SUPPORT THE CHANGING NEEDS OF AGING AMERICANS
(Washington, DC) – Today, Congressman Joe Morelle announced the passage of legislation to ensure aging Americans have the support they need to live safely and independently. The Dignity in Aging Act, co-sponsored by Rep. Morelle, reauthorizes the Older Americans Act (OAA) and implements critical updates to respond to new challenges facing a growing generation of aging adults.
“As our loved ones get older, we must ensure they have the resources and support to age in place safely, independently, and with dignity,” said Rep. Morelle. “I am especially pleased that this legislation includes provisions I authored to increase accessibility for aging Americans and individuals with disabilities through home modifications, like ramps and railings. Today’s vote to pass this critical legislation demonstrates our unwavering support for the changing needs of families of all ages and abilities.”
The OAA, originally passed in 1965 alongside Medicare and Medicaid under President Lyndon B. Johnson, is the primary legislation that funds social and nutrition services for older Americans and their caregivers. The Dignity in Aging Act, passed in the House of Representatives today, updates and expands upon the OAA to support the changing needs of aging Americans.
The legislation includes key provisions authored by Rep. Morelle and originally introduced in the Senior and Disability Home Modification Assistance Initiative Act that make it easier for seniors and individuals with disabilities to modify their homes with accessibility features like ramps, railings, and benches to stay in their homes as they age.
The Dignity in Aging Act also does the following:
- Increases funding for OAA programs by 7 percent in the first year, then annual 6 percent increases in the following years;
- Promotes the ability of older Americans to age in place with resources to target fall prevention, home assessments, and home modifications;
- Establishes the Interagency Coordinating Committee on Age-Friendly Communities and tasks the Committee with coordinating efforts to promote safe and accessible independent living environments;
- Provides more tailored support to family caregivers who play a vital role in helping again Americans maintain their independence; and
- Puts a stronger focus on addressing social isolation among seniors by empowering local organizations to test local solutions.