What the Older Americans Act Can Do For You or Your Loved OnesThe Older Americans Act (OAA) is a federal law that promotes the well-being of Americans who are 60 years and older. It was passed in 1965 as a part of President Johnson’s Great Society reforms that included Medicare and Medicaid. The aim of the OAA is to ensure retirement income, health, housing, employment, protection from age-based discrimination, and other community services for this country’s senior population. It does this by funding services that keep senior adults healthy and independent. The services provided under the OAA include: meals, vocational training, senior centers, caregiver support, transportation, benefits enrollment, protections from elder abuse, and more.

The Administration on Aging agency was created out of the OAA, and is tasked with carrying out the objectives of the legislation. The Administration on Aging administers services and programs designed to help seniors live independent and fulfilling lives in their communities. Probably the most well-known is the communal and home delivered meals program, also known as “Meals on Wheels.”  In addition to providing meals, the program also works to educate seniors on health and nutrition.

In furtherance of its goal to help seniors maintain dignity and independence in their homes and communities, the OAA can assist seniors and their families in a number of ways. Below are six areas where the OAA is actively working and improving the lives of seniors (information below from a NCOA fact sheet).

What Does the OAA Do?

  1. Provides supportive services, such as in-home help, transportation, legal services, home modification, and adult day care services.
  2. Feeds older Americans with home delivered meals and meals provided in a communal setting (e.g. senior living centers).
  3. Supports family caregivers by providing education, training, and respite.
  4. Improves public health through disease prevention programs.
  5. Protects seniors by combatting elder abuse through services like the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program.
  6. Connects seniors to jobs, vocational training, and opportunities to serve in their communities.

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