Gerontology Aging and America Essay

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Older Americans Act (OAA) was first passed in 1965, alongside Medicare and Medicaid. Whereas Medicare and Medicaid offered extended insurance benefits through the federal government, the OAA established "the foundation for a system of services and supports that enables millions of older adults in this country to continue to live independently as they age," ("The Older Americans Act: Aging Well Since 1965," (The Older Americans Act: Aging Well Since 1965," n.d.). Along with its federal provisions, the OAA freed up grant money for the states to develop " community planning and social services, research and development projects, and training personnel in the field of aging," (The Older Americans Act: Aging Well Since 1965," n.d.). Basically, the OAA created an actual infrastructure to support America's aging population.

The OAA is currently comprised of seven titles:

• Title I: Declaration of Objectives

• Title II: Administration on Aging (Aoa)

• Title III: Grants for State and Community Programs on Aging

• Title IV: Activities for Health, Independence, and Longevity

• Title V: Community Service Senior Opportunities Act

• Title VI: Grants for Native Americans

• Title VII: Vulnerable Elder Rights Protection Services

The Aoa administers all the other titles except for Title III, which is covered under the rubric of the Department of Labor. The vast majority (70%) of the total OAA budget is allocated to Title III (O'Shaughnessey, 2012). About 23% of the budget goes to Title V, which helps seniors find part-time jobs in their communities; the remainder is divided among the remaining objectives. In 2012, OAA funding was about $2 billion ("O'Schaughnessy, 2012).

Change and Evolution

The OAA has been reapproved and amended since 1965. In 1967, the Age Discrimination Act was passed. In 1972, the Office of Long-term Care Ombudsman Programs was created to provide a state level representative to ensure the rights of elders within their states of residence, including Puerto Rico and Guam. Several of the existing seven titles were added on in subsequent years, like the Office of Elder Justice and Adult Protective Services for Title VII in 1992, and the Office for American Indian, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiian Programs for Title VI, which was added in 1978. The first federal Conference on Aging was actually in 1950, before the OAA, followed by the first official White House Conference on Aging in 1961, the same year Social Security Amendments were altered.
The second White House Conference on Aging was in 1971. They were held every decade since, with the most recent held in 2015.

In 2006, the OAA was amended to create Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs), which function as portals to access the system. This is one of the most important recent additions to the OAA in light of the need for individuals to locate trusted sources of information, and find out what resources and services are available to them. The ADRCs are designed to be " visible and trusted entry points, helping people find information and providing one-on-one, person-centered counseling to help them access the long-term services and support they need," ("The Older Americans Act: Aging Well Since 1965," n.d.). The ADRCs remove barriers to accessing the system and prevent misinformation.

In addition to the ADRCs, the 2006 amendments also included provisions for state elder justice systems and for demonstration programs to help older people "age in place," (O'Shaughnessey, 2012). Aging in place refers to "naturally occurring retirement communities" located in the person's community. The aging in place concept coincides with the core mission of the OAA for helping people age with dignity and independence ("The Older Americans Act: Aging Well Since 1965," n.d.). The 2006 revisions to the OAA also offer systems for mental health screening and treatment services, which had previously been underrepresented in funded programs ("Shaughnessey, 2012). Furthermore, nutrition, health, and preventative health programs are enhanced with the Office of Nutrition and Health Promotion Programs (ONHPP).

Future Challenges and Needs

Americans are getting old, and fast. Over 10,000 Baby Boomers per day are currently turning 65. In fact, the….....

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"2015 White House Conference on Aging: Final Report," (n.d.). Retrieved online:

NHCOA (2016). The future of the Older Americans Act. Retrieved online:

"The Older Americans Act: Aging Well Since 1965," (n.d.). Retrieved online:

O'Shaughnessy, C.V. (2012). Older Americans Act of 1965: Programs and Funding. Retrieved online:

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