President Obama signed the Older Americans Act Reauthorization Act of 2016 into law today, reaffirming our nation’s commitment to the health and well-being of older adults. Earlier this year, the President called on Congress to reauthorize this important legislation as part of his remarks at the White House Conference on Aging.
For more than 50 years, the Older Americans Act has helped people live the lives they want, with the people they choose, throughout their lives. Through the aging services network, it has helped older adults continue to work, play and volunteer in their communities, to the great benefit of all. Because of the Older Americans Act, neighborhoods and organizations across the country are able to continue to draw upon the wealth of knowledge that comes only with life experience.
The OAA underpins a promise to preserve the right to live independently, with dignity, making everyday decisions according to our individual preferences and goals across our lifespan. This promise is more important than ever. In a few short years, more than 77 million people will be over the age of 60, and more than 34 million people—mostly family and friends—will be supporting a loved one who is over 60. These numbers will continue to grow for the next several decades.
The OAA affects everyone—older adults, people who help support them, and all of us who hope to one day grow old. I am delighted to see its reauthorization, and I am deeply grateful for the renewed commitment to preserving the rights of all people, for the full course of our lives.