MNRAAA, like all Area Agencies on Aging and tribal entities, work under the Older Americans Act (OAA) and were established in 1973. The AAA’s were established to provide; planning, development, coordination and delivering long term services and supports to their respected service area. The AAA’s primarily offer the following core services; Elder Rights, Caregiver Support, Nutrition Services, Health & Wellness and Supportive Services (Information & Referral). Since the commencement of the OAA (1965), it has been amended sixteen (16) times, most recently in 2016. The OAA is up for reauthorization later this year.
Due to the fact that it is up for reauthorization, MNRAAA, the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging have been working to educate and inform our representatives on the importance of the OAA and the work which we all do. To start, I would like to give everyone a snapshot look at previous years and the funding from the OAA. Since 2001, the population of people 60 years and older has grown by 63%.
This growth is expected to continue to increase by 40% in the next ten years. The OAA appropriation, when adjusted for inflation, since 2001 has decreased by 16% and is expected to continue to decrease over the same period. Below is a graph showing the statistics. This information and graph are from aarp.org/content/dam/aarp/ppi/2019/02/older-americans-act.pdf.
I had the luxury of working with Senator Tina Smith recently on hosting a listening session at Bethesda in Willmar where she heard from constituents about programming and how the utilization of funding under the OAA has assisted in improving their lives and lives of those we serve. I ask each of you to reach out to your senators and representatives. Share your stories of how programs such as; meals on wheels, congregate dining sites, caregiver support and more have made a positive impact in your life.