I’m not what you’d call a political newshound. It’s not a matter of being apathetic but rather not having enough hours in the day. I spend my days laser-focused on CareLinx and the families we serve, and my evenings with my wife and baby girl. I just don’t have time to plunk down and watch CSPAN (not that watching political proceedings is my first choice for R&R).
But after watching this video, I’ve come to appreciate the importance of paying closer attention to the goings-on in Washington, particularly on a matter of critical concern to me: the future of elder care in America, which is on the cusp of a crisis. The video is of a Senate hearing four years ago to debate funding reauthorization for the Older American Acts and features Senators Bernie Sanders, Al Franken, and Rand Paul. As I don’t want to be seen as endorsing an politician, I’m not going to weigh in with my opinion of the proceedings or its participants, but it you care about aging and elder care in America and want to understand the mindset of some of our political leaders, including two presidential candidates, watching this video is a must.
The Older Americans Act (OAA), originally enacted in 1965, was designed to help seniors stay independent and remain in their homes and communities. Services provided under the Act include Meals-on-Wheels and other programs focused on nutrition, elder abuse prevention, legal services, transportation, and caregivers support. The OAA’s funding authorization expired in 2011; the Senate unanimously approved funding reauthorization in July and the bill is now awaiting House approval.
It’s noteworthy that Senator Susan Collins, the chairwoman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging and whose efforts I’ve previously written about, and former Secretary of State and current presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, in 2011 jointly authored a measure to improve mental health access for seniors. I’m heartened that there appears to be considerable bi-partisan support for improving the lot of America’s elderly.
Given that some 20 percent of Americans will be 65 or more by 2030, seems to me it would be politically expedient to address issues and concerns relating to this constituency.