LANSING – State Representative Sarah Roberts (D-St. Clair Shores) has introduced, with bipartisan support, a House Resolution and House Concurrent Resolution encouraging Congress to reauthorize the Older Americans Act. The act was last reauthorized in 2011, although some programs under the act have continued each year since then. Reauthorizing the act now would send a clear signal that serving this population is a high priority.

          “This year is the 50th anniversary of when the Older Americans Act was first enacted, so this is the perfect time to do what should have happened already in 2011 and reauthorize this critically important act that provides so many programs and services to our senior citizens,” said Roberts.

          Programs provided under this act have helped improve the lives of senior citizens through nutrition services such as Meals on Wheels, elder abuse programs, homecare services and by supporting senior centers in communities. Providing services that help seniors stay in their homes and communities also helps control Medicaid and Medicare costs. These programs work through a network of state agencies on aging, area agencies on aging, service providers, tribal organizations and two Native Hawaiian organizations. Michigan’s state Office of Services to the Aging offers assistance and works with Michigan’s 16 Area Agencies on Aging to ensure that seniors are safe and healthy.

          In 2014, Congress appropriated $1.9 billion for these senior programs. A bill was recently introduced in the United States Senate with bipartisan sponsorship, S.192, to reauthorize this act through 2018. With the aging baby boomer population, the need for these senior services will continue to grow.

           “Congress needs to move quickly and reauthorize the Older Americans Act. We must continue supporting our senior citizens who have worked hard and given much to make our country, and Michigan, strong,” said Roberts.