The Older Americans Act, first signed into law in 1965, codified the recognition that government has an obligation to respond to the needs of older adults and to create programs that maintain basic living standards and prevent older adults from suffering in isolation and without support. The law enables significant investments in states and tribal nations across the country, values flexibility in developing approaches to service provisions that reflect local needs, and funds a nationwide network to coordinate and strengthen program implementation. The programs and services funded under the act—from meal programs to in-home services to caregiver support—combine to ensure the health of older adults. At the same time, data from the accompanying National Survey of Older Americans Act Participants make visible the unique needs of this population and enable program refinement and effective targeting of resources.
The above excerpt was originally published in American Journal of Public Health.
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