The Older Americans Act (OAA)

Last Updated: November 24, 2020

Written by the Open Caregiving Team. Editorial review by Joyce O. Murphy RN, MSN.

What is The Older Americans Act (OAA)?

In 1965, Congress passed the Older Americans Act because of peoples’ concerns about the well-being and safety of older people. They saw the need for social service programs to assist the aging population and their families. In 2020 the OAA was reauthorized for continued funding through 2024.

What does the Older Americans Act (OAA) fund?

The OAA has authorized funding that:

  • Has developed into a network of state and area agencies on aging. These are administered by the Administration for Community Living.
  • Provides employment for some people, and training about elder service needs for others.
  • Helps states and various localities with deciding how to spend funds to best meet residents’ needs. Examples of these are:
    • Nutrition Services
    • Legal services
    • Elder abuse prevention programs
  • Allocates certain funds for caregivers, including grandparents who are responsible for raising their grandchildren.

What services does the OAA guarantee aging individuals?

The OAA has seven titles, each of which ensures specific services for the aging population. These are:

  • Titles I and II state that the Agency on Aging (AoA) is the federal coordinating agency for OOA services.
  • Title III gives grants to states based on their number of aging people. States then distribute funding to manage services like these:
    • Case management, senior center services, transportation, and in-home options such as family caregiver support.
    • Meals programs, including meals-on-wheels, and group meals at senior centers.
    • Services that focus on health promotion and disease prevention.
  • Title IV is for training and research, such as special projects that test new solutions for aging care.
  • Title V oversees the Senior Community Service Employment Program. This program helps aging people with low incomes or a limited chance for employment find jobs.
  • Title VI is Grants for Services for Native Americans. Funding goes to tribal and Native Alaskan and Hawaiian agencies to manage programs based on each grant’s guidelines.
  • Title VII offers support for programs that focus on the rights and safety of those who are aging. This includes:

Who is eligible for OAA programs?

The OAA provides these programs for people 60 years of age and older. The focus is on serving these specific groups:

  • Those who are low income and belong to a minority population.
  • People who are learning to speak English.
  • Aging rural residents.

What caregiving acts does the OAA entail?

How is the OAA funded?

The OAA is funded with federal money.

  • Funding levels are discretionary, meaning they are useful but not essential services.
  • The level of money the OAA receives is decided through federal legislation. It is currently less than it was in the past.

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