President Obama signed S. 192, the Older Americans Reauthorization Act of 2016 bill, into law Tuesday.
The underlying Older Americans Act (OAA) statute, which was passed in 1965, created the federal Administration on Aging (AoA) and the current federal framework for providing services for older Americans.
The reauthorization bill, which was introduced by Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., sailed through the House and Senate on voice votes.
The reauthorization bill adds definitions of the terms “elder justice” and “aging and disability resource center.” It also rewords the provision, in OAA Section 721, that talks about state use of federal elder ombudsman funding to fight financial exploitation of older Americans.
Kathy Greenlee, the assistant secretary in charge of the AoA, put out a statement welcoming OAA reauthorization.
“The OAA underpins a promise to preserve the right to live independently, with dignity, making everyday decisions according to our individual preferences and goals across our lifespan,” Greenlee says in the statement. “This promise is more important than ever. In a few short years, more than 77 million people will be over the age of 60, and more than 34 million people — mostly family and friends — will be supporting a loved one who is over 60. These numbers will continue to grow for the next several decades.”