Top goal of White House Conference on Aging advances

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Less than a year after assembling, delegates to the White House Conference on Aging are close to achieving their first – and most important – policy objective.

Both houses of Congress last weekend passed without dissent a five-year authorization of the Older Americans Act. They sent it to President Bush for signature. The legislation, which reauthorizes and strengthens services under the Older Americans Act, represents the No.1 priority of the conference, which convened last December. The conference takes place once a decade. Long-term car providers set the reauthorization of the act as a top action point.

Reauthorization would mean continued federal support for programs such as home-delivered meals, congregate meals, family caregiver support, grants to senior centers, elder rights protection, and senior community service employment. The bill would also strengthen the availability of home- and community-based services and create a National Center on Senior Benefits Outreach and Enrollment.