Older Americans Act
“No longer will older Americans be denied the healing miracle of modern medicine. No longer will illness crush and destroy the savings that they have so carefully put away over a lifetime so that they might enjoy dignity in their later years. No longer will young families see their own incomes, and their own hopes, eaten away simply because they are carrying out their deep moral obligations to their parents, and to their uncles, and to their aunts. And no longer will this nation refuse the hand of justice to those who have given a lifetime of service and wisdom and labor to the progress of this progressive country.” - President Lyndon Johnson, at the signing of the Older Americans Act, July 1965
- 1961: The 1st White House Conference on Aging was held in Washington D.C.
- 1965: July 14th - The Older Americans Act signed into law as part of the Great Society legislation. Established the Administration on Aging within the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, and called for the creation of State Units on Aging. This act was considered one of the most important contributions of aging legislation enacted by congress.
Medicare, Title XVIII, a health insurance program for the elderly, and Medicaid, Title XIX, a medical assistance program for the low-income, are also established.
- 1967: The Age Discrimination Act signed into law. Governor Tom McCall appointed the 1st State Committee on Aging, and the University of Oregon hosts the 1st Office on Aging in Oregon.
- 1969: OAA Amendments passed to allow grants for model demonstration projects such as Foster Grandparents and Retired Senior Volunteer Programs. The Program on Aging moved to Salem with $110,000 for 30 pilot projects.
- 1971: 2nd White House Conference on Aging was held. Oregon was 1 of 6 states to get demonstration grants.
- 1973: The OAA Comprehensive Services Amendments establish Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) and authorize grants to community agencies for multi-purpose senior centers. The amendments also establish the Community Service Employment program for low-income persons age 55 and above, and the congregate meals program.
- 1975: AAA’s 1st designated in Oregon, with Lane Council of Governments identified as the Area Agency on Aging for Lane County.
Federal amendments authorized OAA grants to Tribal organizations and added transportation, home care, legal services, and home renovation/repair as priority services.
The Oregon State Legislature passed the Oregon Project Independence program into law.
- 1978: OAA amendments required each state to establish a Long Term Care Ombudsmen program to cover nursing homes.
- 1981: 3rd White House Conference on Aging held.
OAA reauthorized - emphasizing supportive services to help older persons remain independent in the community.
In Oregon, Senate Bill 955 was passed, leading to the writing of Oregon Revised Statute 410. This landmark state legislation created Oregon’s long term care system with its emphasis on home and community-based care. Senior Services Division (SSD) was formed, combining the Office of Elderly Affairs and Long Term Care (LTC) units of Adult and Family Services (AFS). Area Agencies on Aging were given the option to administer the Medicaid Long Term Care program.
In response to the economic downturn, Lane County divests itself of senior programs including Senior Meals, Senior Outreach, and Senior Employment. LCOG assumes these programs.
- 1983: LCOG begins doing Long Term Care program, paid with Medicaid funds, as a Type B Contract Agency.
- 1984: LCOG becomes a Type B-2 Transfer Agency, initially providing only case management services.
- 1987: OAA reauthorized - adds distinct appropriations for:
- In-home services for frail elderly
- Long-term care ombudsman
- Assistance for special needs
- Health education and promotion
- Prevention of elder abuse
- Outreach for SSI, Medicaid and Food Stamps
Emphasis was given to serving those in greatest economic and social need.
- 1989: In Oregon, SSD became Senior and Disability Services Division (SDSD). Legislation was passed providing the option to transfer services for persons with disabilities to local governments (AAAs).
- 1991: LCOG elects to become a Type B-1 Transfer Agency, serving only seniors.
- 1993: LCOG becomes a Type B-2 Transfer Agency, adding people with disabilities to its service population.
- 1992: OAA reauthorized, increasing the focus on caregivers, inter-generational programs, and protection of elder’s rights.
- 1995: The 4th White House Conference on Aging was held. The 30th anniversary of the OAA, Medicare, and Medicaid programs and the 60th anniversary of the Social Security Act were celebrated.
- 2000: OAA reauthorized - establishing the National Family Caregiver Support Program and requirements that AAA’s provide medication management information and services to older adults.
- 2001: Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) reorganized into a single department with integrated service delivery systems. SDSD became Seniors and People with Disabilities (SPD) combining the former agencies:
- Disability Determination Services
- Office of Developmental Disabilities
- Senior and Disability Services
- Vocational Rehabilitation
- 2003: Oregon, like many other states suffered from increasing budget deficits. HB5100 and the failure of Ballot Measure 28 forced SPD to make drastic cuts in services and benefits. Within 5 months the General Assistance program and the Medically Needy program were eliminated. SPD was further mandated to eliminate 6 levels of service priorities. All of these actions impacted thousands of frail and vulnerable individuals.
- 2005: SB 870, the Oregon Project Independence (OPI) Modernization Act, was enacted by the Oregon Legislature. This legislation expanded allowable OPI services and added people with disabilities as an eligible population. Also established the OPI Fund as a Treasury Account separate from the State General Fund, and provided for the transfer of excess revenues from the Senior Property Tax Deferral Program to the OPI Fund.
- As of 2009 this fund was essentially depleted due to the housing market crisis. Deferred taxes are due upon sale of one’s home, with 6% interest. With few homes being sold, the revenue to the Trust Fund dramatically dropped.
- 2006: OAA reauthorized for 5 years, with emphasis on consumer information for long-term care planning and evidence-based prevention programs. Authority provided for states to develop Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs).
- 2008: The State of Oregon receives a 3 year, $1.6 million grant to improve hospital discharge-planning processes and pilot a local ADRC. The state chooses LCOG as the local pilot.
The 5th White House Conference on Aging was held.