San Francisco, CA (Law Firm Newswire) February 24, 2017 – Last year, President Obama signed a reauthorization of the Older Americans Act, renewing it for three years. The legislation provides funding for many services that are necessary for older adults to maintain their health and independence. It will enable millions of elderly to stay at home and in their communities during retirement.
The reauthorization enhances the Act’s core programs by funding services such as job training, caregiver support, transportation, legal services and elder abuse protection. Elder abuse prevention training will be improved, along with the screening of individuals who work with senior citizens. The law will also provide protections to nursing home residents and long term care ombudsmen to those in such facilities.
“The elderly can often become vulnerable to abuse and neglect. The reauthorization of the Older Americans Act [helps to] prevent the exploitation of older adults,” said nationally known elder law attorney Michael Gilfix. “Its programs are essential to promoting their independence and wellbeing.”
The Act was last authorized almost a decade ago. It expired at the end of 2011 after Congress failed to approve legislation for its reauthorization. President Obama had called on Congress to pass the reauthorization bill after the 2015 White House Conference on Aging. A bipartisan letter that House members sent in March 2016 provided the legislation with the necessary momentum for approval.
A key feature of the bill is the authorization of a 6 percent increase in funding levels for the Act’s programs over the next three years. The government is working toward establishing national standards for its implementation and developing guidelines for states to share best practices and gather data.
“After a lengthy delay, aging adults can now look forward to receiving the quality and efficiently coordinated care the Act’s reauthorization supports,” said Gilfix. “The elderly deserve to be able to live according to their individual goals and preferences.”
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