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ADA praises Older Americans Reauthorization Act

April 26, 2016 Washington — President Obama signed into law April 19 the Older Americans Act Reauthorization Act of 2016, which for the first time specifically references oral health.

The Older Americans Act, formally known as S. 192, provides funding to 56 state and 629 area agencies on aging, which in turn provide services for older Americans to help them remain healthy and independent. Services provided by the aging agencies may include meals, transportation, job training and preventive services. The new oral health provision will allow state and area aging agencies to use funds for disease prevention and health promotion activities to conduct oral health screenings.

“This is an important first step,” said Dr. Carol Gomez Summerhays, in an ADA statement. “Oral health screenings are an important part of more preventive and restorative care necessary to improve and even save lives while reducing long-term healthcare costs.”

According to the U.S. Administration on Aging, the population of Americans 65 and older is expected to double to about 71 million by 2040.

“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,” said Kathy Greenlee, assistant secretary for aging. “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.”