Watch LIVE: US Senate HELP Committee Hearing Testimonial – June 19, 2013 @ 7 am PDT

June 18, 2013

On Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 7 am (PDT), I will testify before the Senate HELP Committee, Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging – chaired by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) who had formerly introduced the reauthorization bill in January 2012.

***Watch the proceedings LIVE at www.help.senate.gov.***

The hearing is titled “Reducing Senior Poverty and Hunger: The Role of the Older Americans Act” and it is held in support of the OAA reauthorization and 2013 amendments to the bill.

June 20, 2013 UPDATE: A video & testimonies of the hearing can be found here.

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About the Senate HELP Committee: The Committee began in 1869 and has been called the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee since 1999.

About the Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging: The Subcommittee has oversight over many issues including but not limited to: The Older Americans Act, elder abuse and long-term care services.

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“President Lyndon Johnson hands a pen from the signing of the Older Americans Act to an unknown woman on July 14, 1965. Photo by Yoichi Okamoto and courtesy of the LBJ Library.” (Reference: PBS News Hour Article, May 29, 2013)

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Impending Storm Calls for Bipartisan Leadership

January 24, 2013

Welcome to the new year as we continue our quest to put Seniors First. In recent months, we have all been so wrapped up in the struggling economy and now the slippery slope of the fiscal cliff that we have failed to pay attention to another looming storm on the horizon – the silver tsunami.

1399SDSeniorCenter

Baby boomers (people born between the years 1946 and 1964) began turning 65 in 2011. In fact, 10,000 people turn 65 every day now. In 2000, there were 35 million senior citizens in this country. By 2030, there will be 72 million, which will represent 20 percent of the U.S. population. Without services and support in place, the long-term implications of the aging baby-boom population are daunting. […]

A bill was introduced a few months ago to reauthorize the Older Americans Act (OAA) by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. Unfortunately, his bill – while excellent – received little attention and even less support from his colleagues in the U.S. Senate. In the House of Representatives, not one hearing has been held or piece of legislation been introduced. […]

There is no time like the present to get something done. With the ever-increasing senior population, the OAA is needed now more than ever. Nine million seniors currently rely on the OAA-funded programs for vital, life-sustaining needs. The program also saves taxpayer dollars by reducing health care expenditures, the number of nursing home placements and other expensive long-term care facilities. In fact, the programs require a relatively modest level of assistance (about 0.02 percent of federal discretionary spending), but often make the difference between healthy independent living and costly assisted living, nursing home placements or expensive hospital stays. […]

Call, write, email, tweet and Facebook our congressional delegation and U.S. senators and tell them to end the partisan games and get to work. There are thousands of acres of common ground when it comes to the OAA and helping vulnerable seniors. Let’s show our support for the older adults in our lives, be it grandparents, mothers, fathers, aunts or uncles, and make our voices heard.

~The above material first appeared in the U-T San Diego on January 10, 2013 and the full article can be found here


Senator Introduces Bill to Protect Senior Nutrition Programs

January 27, 2012

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has formally introduced the Older Americans Act reauthorization bill, which affects senior nutrition programs like ours. It includes all of the key policy points  that we have been advocating through NANASP. This includes maintaining separate funding streams for congregate and home delivered meals and limiting the authority of local government to transfer money out of nutrition to back-fill administrative positions.

Senator Sanders’ speech was spot-on and highlighted the critical need for senior nutrition programs. Here’s an excerpt:

Not only is it the right and moral thing to do to keep seniors in this country from going hungry, in the long run, we save money by keeping them healthy.

Listen to the full speech below.


Congressman Filner Promises to Support Senior Programs and Activites

December 15, 2011

Today at the Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center, Congressman Bob Filner stopped by to talk to the seniors. I’ve known Bob for a longtime, since before my days began with Senior Community Centers. He worked his way through the room. He talked to seniors about those issues affecting them. He has long represented the 51st district for many years now. Over the past week, we appreciate that our Congressional representatives, Susan Davis and Bob Filner take time from their busy schedules to stop by and express their support for seniors and the work we do at Senior Community Centers. Our nutrition program is the foundation for our model of care. As hunger and food insecurity grows, so does the importance of nutrition programs like ours.

The House hasn’t yet addressed the Reauthorization of Older Americans Act. In the other chamber, Sen. Sanders (V) is expected to introduce his bill on the OAA Reauthorization. This bill affects nutrition programs, like ours, across the nation. Check back soon or sign up to receive blog updates.  I will post my thoughts on the bill as soon as it is released and I’m able to review it.


Senior Nutrition is the Best Medicine

July 20, 2011

Recently, after my DC trip for the NANASP Conference, I was asked to write an article for One Away; Campaign for Elder Economic Security. We spent two days talking to members of Congress, their staff and numerous others about cost-savings support services provide to Americans; and how essential it is that we protect funding for Older Americans Act (OAA). Everyone I spoke with understands the importance of senior nutrition programs; and agrees there is a connection between senior nutrition, which is the best medicine to maintain health and independent living; and savings to taxpayers by preventing unnecessary hospitalization or institutionalization. Bill and Sonia are a couple I met a few months ago and their story is anyone’s story and illustrates best OAA’s impact.

A Senior Community Centers’ social worker discovered them earlier that morning while participating in a count of homeless in downtown San Diego. A fire had destroyed their apartment, leaving them with nothing but the clothes on their back and a car. Read the rest of this entry »


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