This bill — the Dignity in Aging Act of 2019 — would reauthorize the Older Americans Act (OAA) for five years beginning in FY2020 and increase funding for a number of programs to help older Americans live independently and with dignity. This bill’s key provisions are summarized below.
Increases funding for all Older Americans Act Programs
This bill would authorize an inflation-adjusted 7% in funding for OAA programs in FY2020, then annual 6% in the next four years of the reauthorization period. This lead to a 35% total increase in program funding over the five-year reauthorization period.
Increase support and outreach services
To improve support for both caregivers and elderly persons and access to resources, this bill would:
- Require outreach to identify individuals eligible for assistance under the OAA, with an emphasis on marginalized populations;
- Require the Assistant Secretary to publish a list of the resource centers and demonstration projects funded under the OAA on an annual basis;
- Provide more tailored support to family caregivers;
- Put a stronger focus on addressing social isolation among seniors by empowering local organizations to test local solutions;
- Require the Assistant Secretary for Aging at the Department of Health and Human Services to create a new focus on the issue of social isolation among older adults at the national level;
- Create a demonstration program specifically to provide grants to tribal organizations to carry out in-home and community supportive services; and
- Establish the Interagency Coordinating Committee on Age-Friendly Communities and tasks the Committee with coordinating efforts to promote safe and accessible independent living environments.
Support research, evaluation, and demonstration efforts relating to aging
This bill would establish a National Research, Demonstration, and Evaluation Center for the Aging Network in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of HHS. This Center would be responsible for conducting, promoting, and coordinating research, including evaluation and demonstration projects, and related technical assistance for projects related to aging. It would also increase the repository of information on evidence- based programs and interventions available to the Aging Network.
Increase older individuals’ economic opportunity and multigenerational engagement
This bill would put improve economic opportunity and multigenerational engagement. Specifically, it would:
- Add individuals who are justice-involved as a priority population for the Senior Community Service Employment Program; and
- Allow demonstration funds to be used for multigenerational collaboration projects that provide opportunities for older individuals to participate in multigenerational activities and civic engagement activities.
Support aging in place
To help older individuals age in place, this bill would:
- Create an initiative to coordinate federal resources to promote the independence and safety of adults living at home as they age, including resources targeting falls prevention, home assessments, and home modifications;
- Codify the existing Falls Prevention and Chronic Disease Self-Management Education program into the OAA; and
- Add a focus on focus on expanding and improving the direct care workforce through demonstration projects.