The Older Americans Act: Our Nation's Promise

A message from U.S. Senator Patty Murray

As a nation, we should be doing everything we can to support our seniors in leading healthy, fulfilling lives. Fifty years ago, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Older Americans Act, which enshrined into law that commitment to our seniors. And fifty years later, I'm proud to be working with both Democrats and Republicans in Congress to reauthorize that legislation and once again uphold that promise of our nation.

The Older Americans Act supports crucial social services and nutrition programs for seniors in Washington state and across the country.

Today, far too many seniors struggle with hunger and serious challenges like elder abuse, mistreatment in a nursing home, or financial exploitation. This legislation works to correct that.

The Older Americans Act would support more funding for Meals on Wheels in Washington state, a program that is a critical lifeline for more than 460,000 seniors in our state.

Additionally, the legislation puts in place strong protections against elder abuse. This bill would increase existing abuse screenings and prevention efforts, and it would improve the response to abuse, neglect, and exploitation in long-term care facilities.

This legislation to reauthorize the Older Americans Act has been a product of strong, bipartisan work and I am proud to have worked with Democrats and Republicans on a bill that will benefit so many seniors. I'm hopeful the full Senate will vote on it soon, so we can send it to the President's desk for his signature.

In 1965, at the original signing of the Older Americans Act, President Johnson said the true significance of this bill would be in its results. He said he hoped the bill would, "help us to expand our opportunities for enriching the lives of all of our citizens in our country, now and in the years to come."

The Older Americans Act will carry on that mission and expand opportunities so more seniors can lead healthy, independent lives.

I'm going to continue to work with my colleagues in the other Washington to find common ground and get results for seniors, families, and communities in Washington state.

I was proud to introduce the Older Americans Act reauthorization, and Congress must pass this legislation and live up to our nation's responsibility to seniors across the country.

Patty Murray, born and raised in Bothell, has served in public office since 1985 and has represented Washington state in the U.S. Senate since 1993.