Older Americans Act (OAA)
The Older Americans Act was passed in 1965 as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society package of programs. It set up a national service delivery system aimed at promoting independence, which includes the federal Administration for Community Living (ACL), state units on aging (SUAs), and area agencies on aging (AAAs, or "triple-As") to administer OAA programs, which include senior centers, home delivered meals, and legal assistance programs. OAA programs further advance elder justice goals by targeting services to isolated seniors and older Native Americans and creating employment opportunities. ACL is the national "home" for APS programs.
Title VII of the OAA addresses ‘Vulnerable Elder Rights." It includes 4 advocacy programs: 1) The Long Term Care Ombudsman Program (LTCOP), which trains volunteers to monitor patient care in nursing homes; 2) Programs for the Prevention of Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation; 3) State Elder Rights and Legal Assistance Development Programs; and 4) Insurance/ Benefits Outreach, Counseling and Assistance Programs. The elder abuse prevention program included a small amount of funding for elder abuse prevention activities and the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA).
Supporting Older Americans Act of 2020
In 2020, Congress passed and the President signed the Supporting Older Americans Act of 2020 (HR 4334; ACL Blog Post) to reauthorize the Older Americans Act. It includes new emphasis on efforts to understand the impact of social isolation, particularly in light of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.
How you can help:
- Support the efforts of national advocacy organizations to support critical OAA programs. These include:
To learn more:
- Older Americans Act (as amended through 2016)
- Administration for Community Living Web Page on Programs: Describes programs that protect rights, prevent abuse, support consumers, and strengthen networks.
- The National Adult Maltreatment Reporting System (NAMRS): The first federal collection of data related to Adult Protective Services.
- Federal Voluntary Consensus Guidelines for Adult Protective Services.