The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is dedicated to improving the lives of seniors in the United States. As such, it has come up with five things that Congress can do to provide elder services and help the NCOA reach its goal.
The first way is to restore funding and modernize elder services. The Older Americans Act, first passed in 1965, calls for vital services for the elderly. But funding has not kept up with inflation and parts of the program need to be updated to reflect today’s senior population.
The NCOA is also calling on Congress to make permanent Medicare assistance to low-income seniors. Without it, they may not be able to pay for medical services to keep them healthy.
Number three on the wish list of elder services to is renew the farm bill. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps some four million seniors pay for groceries. Congress is looking to cut the SNAP budget, which would leave some seniors without the assistance they desperately need.
NCOA is calling for legislation for long-term care and support. Medicare does not cover long-term services. Private insurance does, but it is prohibitively expensive for many seniors. Under the current systems, many seniors spend their entire life savings, or have to ask their children for money, on these types of long-term elder services.
Finally, NCOA is calling for immigration reform. What does this have to do with seniors? Well, nearly 25% of all caregivers are foreign-born. Immigration reform would increase the number of these life-saving workers by allowing more of them into the country. Also, people who are currently in the country illegally can be given a path towards citizenship, allowing them to pursue work as a caregiver.
Elder services are vital to keeping seniors alive and healthy. It is a good thing a group like the National Council on Aging is there to fight for them.