(Washington, D.C.)– Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) have introduced the Older Americans Act Reauthorization Act of 2015, legislation that supports social and nutrition services—from Meals on Wheels to senior centers—that over 476,000 seniors in Washington state are currently enrolled in.
“We should be doing everything we can to support our seniors in leading healthy, fulfilling lives,” said Senator Murray. “I’m proud that from putting in place stronger elder abuse protections to ensuring funding for Meals on Wheels, this legislation makes important improvements to the care and resources available to seniors in Washington state and across the country.”
Under this reauthorization, Washington state will now see an increase in funding for key supportive services and centers, family caregiver support, nutrition programs, and disease prevention and health promotion services that all seniors have access to.
In addition to providing grants to states for senior social and nutrition services, the reauthorization also aims to protect vulnerable elders from abuse by increasing existing abuse screening and prevention efforts. This includes programs to ensure that all residents of a long-term care facility have access to an ombudsman. The reauthorization streamlines federal level administration of programs, promotes effective use of transportation services, and improves coordination between programs at the federal, state, and local levels. The reauthorization also adjusts the formula that allots state grants to account for geographic changes in the older population.