Home Public Policy What is the Older Americans Act (OAA) and What Does it Do?

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What is the Older Americans Act (OAA) and What Does it Do?

by Derrick

The Older Americans Act (OAA) was passed by Congress in 1965 as a response to policymaker concerns about the lack of services for older adults. The original act gave authority for grants to States for community planning, social services, research and development projects, and training on aging related issues. The act established the Administration on Aging (AoA) to administer the grant programs and to serve as the federal agency to oversee matters that pertain to older adults.

The OAA is now viewed as the primary vehicle for the organization and delivery of social and nutrition services to seniors and caregivers. The Act authorizes a wide array of service programs through a network of State Units on Aging, 655 Area Agencies on Aging, 244 Tribal organizations, and 2 Native Hawaiian organizations. The OAA also includes community service employment for low-income seniors; training, research, and demonstration activities related to aging; and activities on elder rights. Program and service areas include, but are not limited to:

  • Elder Justice and Elder Abuse
  • Mental Health
  • Benefits Counseling
  • Civic Engagement
  • Nutritional Services
  • Healthy Aging
  • Evidence-Based Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
  • Caregiving

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1 comment

Bianka Darin May 21, 2020 - 5:06 am

The Older Americans Act (OAA) funds critical services that keep older adults healthy and independent—services like meals, job training, senior centers, health promotion, benefits enrollment, caregiver support, transportation, and more. Nearly five years after it expired, legislation to reauthorize the Act was passed by Congress with unanimous, bipartisan support. Read about the Senate reauthorization bill and the House amendments . The bill was signed into law by the President on April 19, 2016. Read statements from  NCOA  and the Administration for Community Living (ACL) .


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