Aging Well Priorities and the Need to Reauthorize the Older Americans Act

Ensuring older adults’ wellbeing as lawmakers and individual citizens is crucial. Learn how advocates and good estate planning promote aging well.

As we age, ensuring our well-being requires thorough planning and foresight. Aging well means maintaining your physical, emotional, social, and financial quality of life. While good estate planning is a must for aging well, benefits programs also help. The Older Americans Act is landmark legislation that has protected older adults’ well-being for decades.

What Is the Older Americans Act?

The Older Americans Act (OAA) provides vital services and support to older adults. Since it became law in 1965, it has funded programs such as:

  • Nutrition
  • Caregiver support
  • Community service employment

Congress reauthorized the act in 2020. Now, they can choose whether or not to reauthorize it again. According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), reauthorizing this act is essential to support older adults’ well-being and meet their evolving needs.

How are Advocates Promoting Aging Well?

In May 2024, 200 advocates gathered on Capitol Hill to promote healthy aging. They emphasized the need to reauthorize the Older Americans Act and secure funding for various programs benefiting older adults. Their message was clear: healthy aging should be a right for all, not a privilege for a few.

What are the Key Priorities for Aging Well?

One advocate, Susan, shared her story during the Capitol Hill meetings. A retired teacher, Susan spoke passionately about the impact of community services funded by the OAA. After her husband passed away, she struggled with loneliness and health issues.

The local senior center became her lifeline. It provided meals, social activities, and health screenings. For Susan, these services were more than helpful; they were life-changing. Thanks to funding from the OAA, it was all possible.

Susan’s story underscores the importance of continuing these programs. Advocates push for the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act to ensure seniors like Susan have access to essential services that help them age well.

How Does Estate Planning Support Aging Well?

Estate planning is a crucial aspect of aging well. It involves making decisions about your assets, healthcare, and final wishes. By making these decisions, you support your well-being in various ways. These benefits and strategies include:

  • Healthcare directives: Provide for your healthcare needs through advance directives.
  • Relieve stress: You and your family can rest easily knowing you have a clear end-of-life plan.
  • Fund management: A well-planned budget incorporating benefits and your assets can provide comfort into your later years.

Why Should You Plan Ahead?

Planning allows you to maintain control over your future. It can also relieve your loved ones from making difficult decisions during emotional times. Working with an estate planning attorney can create a comprehensive plan tailored to your needs. You can start planning by taking the following steps:

  • Assess Your Assets: List your assets, including property, savings, and investments.
  • Consider Your Healthcare Wishes: Consider what kind of medical care you want if you cannot make decisions.
  • Choose a Trusted Representative: Select someone to make decisions on your behalf if you cannot do so.
  • Consult with an Attorney: An estate planning attorney can help you navigate the complexities of wills, trusts, and advance directives.

Plan for Peace of Mind

Aging well involves proactive planning and ensuring access to essential services. We can continue supporting older adults’ well-being by advocating for Congress’ reauthorization of the Older Americans Act. If you’re ready to take control of your future and start planning, contact us today to learn more about how we can help you with estate planning and ensure you age well.

Key Takeaways

  • Aging Well: Maintaining health, independence, and quality of life is crucial for older adults.
  • Older Americans Act: This act funds essential services for older adults, including nutrition, caregiver support, and community programs.
  • Advocacy Efforts: Advocates are pushing to reauthorize the Older Americans Act to continue supporting these vital programs.
  • Estate Planning: Proper estate planning helps secure your future and ensure your wishes are respected.
  • Action Steps: Assess your assets, consider healthcare wishes, choose a trusted representative, and consult an estate planning attorney.

Reference: NCOA (National Council on Aging) (May 15, 2024) “Hill Day 2024: Advocates Take Aging Well Message to Lawmakers”

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