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Each May our nation takes time to celebrate the lives and contributions of older Americans. Older Americans belong to the greatest generations who fought wars for our freedom, marched for civil rights, and created a more equitable society for their children and grandchildren. The theme for this year’s Older Americans Month is Engage at Every Age. The Administration for Community Living (ACL) says that this year’s theme “emphasizes that you are never too old (or young) to take part in activities that can enrich your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.”

Having access to necessary health care is critical for older people to remain active and age with dignity. Programs like Medicare and Medicaid ensure that older Americans get the care they need when they need it the most. Without these programs, many older people – particularly those with complex care needs – would live in poverty. Medicare is part of a promise our nation made to older people that they would be cared for in old age; Medicaid helps low-income older people afford basic health necessities and is the main payment source for long-term care. Proposals to cut these programs or further restrict access are misguided and must be rejected.

We must also work to ensure that the rights of older people are respected and that they are protected from abuse, neglect and financial exploitation. Whether in the community or in long-term care settings, older people deserve to live with self-determination and in safety.

As stated in the 2016 Older Americans Month Proclamation, “One of the best measures of a country is how it treats its older citizens.  During Older Americans Month, let us pay tribute to the men and women who raised, guided, and inspired us, and let us honor their enduring contributions to our society by safeguarding their rights and the opportunities they deserve.”  

  • During Older Americans Month, the Center for Medicare Advocacy will be hosting a webinar on May 23, 2018, at 3 P.M. ET on Recurring Skilled Nursing Facility Issues.  The webinar will provide an overview of the revised nursing home Requirements of Participation, the current state of the nursing home survey and enforcement system, and the current Administration’s rollback of nursing home resident protections. You can register at: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/6109669841298417666
  • See the ACL Older American’s Month link for tools, resources and materials to promote #OAM18: https://oam.acl.gov/

May 3, 2018 – B. Belton

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