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Senate passes bipartisan legislation to provide support services for seniors

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congressThe U.S. Senate has unanimously approved bipartisan legislation to help older Americans live longer with independence and dignity in their communities.

The reauthorization of the Older Americans Act (OAA), which was co-sponsored by U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA), provides vital programs and services for nearly 12 million low-income seniors, including nutrition programs like Meals-on-Wheels, preventive health services, transportation assistance, part-time community service and employment training, and protection from abuse and financial exploitation.

“The Older Americans Act provides critical support for thousands of Virginia seniors,” Sen. Warner said. “I’m pleased that the Senate has voted to help older Americans stay out of expensive nursing homes and live longer with independence and dignity in their own homes and communities.”

“This week marked the 50th anniversary of the Older Americans Act and I’m glad that the Senate unanimously passed a reauthorization of this critical bill,” said Sen. Kaine, a member of the Senate’s Special Committee on Aging. “This reauthorization will improve the quality of life for thousands of Virginia’s seniors through programs that provide social and nutrition services, family caregiver support, and programs to combat elder abuse.”

This week is the 50th anniversary of the Older Americans Act. Since it was enacted into law in 1965, millions of vulnerable older Americans have relied on the services provided by the OAA for their health and economic security. It authorizes a wide array of senior service programs through a national network of more than 50 state agencies on aging, 629 area agencies on aging, nearly 20,000 service providers, and hundreds of tribal organizations. The OAA was most recently renewed in 2006 and has been due for reauthorization since 2011.

The bill approved by the Senate on Thursday was endorsed by nearly 100 national organizations, including the National Council on Aging, Meals on Wheels America, AARP and the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging.

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