To the editor,

Time is running out to reauthorize the Older Americans Act (OAA), which provides critical nutrition, healthy aging, legal aid, transportation and other services to 11 million Americans, before it expires on Sept. 30.

Reauthorization of – and increased funding for – the OAA are necessary to ensure that Wisconsin can meet the needs of our 1.2 million older adults. This number is projected to grow by 72 percent between 2015 and 2040, but OAA funding has fallen below 2010 levels.

NewBridge Madison, which provides services in Madison and Monona, is just one organization in Wisconsin that uses OAA funds to improve the lives of older adults. Because of the OAA, NewBridge is able to:

– serve 42,300 meals to low-income seniors at our nutrition sites;

– spend 3,500 hours assisting older adults with critical health, safety and welfare decision-making through our Volunteer Guardianship and Representative Payee programs; and

– support 103 unpaid family caregivers.

The OAA must be re-authorized and strengthened to support the continued provision of these cost-effective services, which allow older Wisconsinites to remain living in their own homes and communities.

Older adults need a bipartisan OAA deal before the Act expires on Sept. 30.  

Barbara Zabawa

McFarland

President of the Board of Directors for NewBridge

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