Counties throughout the United States have celebrated the contributions of older Americans since 1965 when John F. Kennedy designated May as senior citizens month. This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Older Americans Act (OAA) on July 14, 2015. The Act supports health and vitality programs for over 11 million older Americans and is currently up for reauthorization to renew the funding of support services for the elderly. The National Council on Aging (NCOA) has developed a nationwide digital campaign to raise awareness of the cause and wants you to spread the message to Congressmen to support the bill.
An Act Everyone Can Support
This year’s “Get Into the Act” initiative was formed to encourage citizens support of aging Americans to help improve their overall quality of life to live independently, stay healthy, provide access to care resources, and help them engage more in their communities. The organization is asking the public to contact members of Congress and urge them to fund and protect the Act. The Leadership Council of Aging Organizations (LCOA) has dedicated Thursday, May 21 the day to call and “Urge Congress to Get Into the Act.” Government agencies across the country are holding aging symposiums and health awareness and abuse prevention events to acknowledge the anniversary this month. Counties are using social media hashtags like #WeAreOAA and #OlderAmericansMonth to promote the campaign. Locally, Jefferson County, Colorado is celebrating by hosting the annual Senior Heroes event, honoring community volunteers for local senior programs. The event takes place on Thursday, May 21 at 2:30 p.m. at the Mountain Vista Retirement Community in Wheat Ridge.
What You Can Do
Protecting and supporting older Americans is something we all can do. According to the Department of Health and Human Services website, Colorado has one of the most aggressive aging populations in the nation. Accordingly, abuse, neglect—whether from eldercare or self-neglect, and physical and financial exploitation—is a serious problem that affects aging adults unable to protect or advocate for themselves. Mistreatment occurs in all social circles, ethnic backgrounds, and does not discriminate against gender.
As of 2014, failure to report abuse cases in Colorado could be punishable by law. Calling into report an abuse claim can sometimes be difficult for the person reporting the issue, that’s why it’s important to capture the caller’s information fast and accurately. Vertiba worked with the Colorado Department of Health and Human Services to develop a cloud-based Salesforce application that enables caseworkers to quickly collect information and track abuse cases more efficiently. Those who suspect abuse can easily make a report by calling a Colorado Adult Protective Services (APS) intake representative (visit the HHS website). For families in search of support and planning for their elderly loved ones, the Colorado Eldercare Planning Council has a trusted list of both government and private resources located at CareColorado.net.
You can join in on the #WeAreOAA conversations!
Tell your OAA story: www.caregiving.org/weareoaa
Helpful Aging Resources
National Council on Aging OAA 50th Anniversary: www.ncoa.org/public-policy-action/We-Are-OAA.html
Colorado HHS Aging & Adult Services: www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/CDHS-VetDis/CBON/1251595238465
Colorado Area Agencies on Aging: www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/CDHS-VetDis/CBON/1251651403806
National Alliance for Caregiving: www.caregiving.org