The main aim of the Old American Act was to develop the individual lives which are older and have problems concerning community service, employment, housing and mental health. It was the first legislature authorized to bring together the private aging network and fragmented public delivery system to meet the basic requirements of older individuals. This act stipulates that agencies on aging are needed to be established along with the supervision on these aging establishments. It should be noted that the Old American Act (OAA) was erected to accompaniment Medicaid and Medicare.
The OAA was passed as part of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society reforms. What allowed for the passage of these reforms and the OAA was the correct mix of political energies coming together at the right time. Organized political groups for the aged grew during the late 1950s to mid-1960s. These included (AARP) The American Association of Retired Persons, (NCSC) The National Council of Senior Citizens and (NRTA) The National Retired Teachers’ Association (Binstock, 1978).
These organizations provided a powerful instrument for developing a cohesive voting bloc and political leverage for older adults. Older adults constituted as much as 16 percent of the electoral vote during the mid-1960s (Binstock, 1978). During this same timeframe, in 1959, The Standing Subcommittee on Aging of the Senate Committee on Labor and Social Welfare was established. This committee morphed into The Senate Special Committee on Aging (SSCA) in 1961. Both were established by Senator Pat McNamara of Michigan and provided a plethora of testimony, reports, and hearings of the problems older adults faced by both experts and the public (Binstock, 1978). The SSCA formed ties with the aging organizations, and although the special committee had no legislative power, they were able to assist these organizations in creating legislative proposals (Binstock, 1978). In addition, the NCSC became an organizing basis for “senior citizen” groups and lobbied extensively for aging issues (Binstock, 1978).
Aging issues were rising on the political agenda in Washington which generated a joint resolution of Congress authorizing the first White House Conference on Aging in Washing D.C. in January of 1961. This conference helped build authority and provided a consensus of recommendations for public policy of the aged at a national level. In addition, the Democratic landslide in the 1964 election proved to be the most liberal House since 1938 (Congress is Nobodies [sic] Lap Dog, 1965) and has been considered by many as the most productive legislative body to date (Tumulty, 2014). These forces combined, thereby opening the policy window wide which led to the passage of the OAA.
Need for OAA
The main reason by which this act was formulated accounts for four basic problems that older citizens of the society faced at that particular time. These problems largely comprises of insecurity in getting social and health services, income uncertainty, and other opportunities through which one can sustain productive and complete living style. In many regions, the amount that was needed to assist these senior citizens was far lower to fulfill their filial responsibility, restrictive residences, and residency necessities limited public help. Because of this, there were barriers established which hinders the older persons to get adequate aid through Disability Insurance, Survivor, Old Age social security. Before Medicare and OAA, every third individual that was overage living under the line of poverty.
Earlier Problem Handling
In earlier times, there was not much economic security for the elder citizens because there are very few people who reached to elder age. Old-style causes of financial security comprised of charities, family, labor and assets. Similarly, large families are often accounts for the source of economic security for the aged and many states had filial responsibility laws (Moody & Sasser, 2012).
The Social Security Act created a social insurance program for workers age 65 years or older funded through contributory payments made to a joint fund during persons’ economically productive years (Social Security Administration, 2015). The act also provided grants to states for means-tested Old-Age-Assistance and was intended to be a temporary “relief” program (Social Security Administration, 2015). Dependent and Survivor benefits were added in the 1939 Amendments.
The act was an exertion to protect against unexpected dangers of the modern life including old age, widowhood, unemployment, poverty and disability. Social Security was of reasonable success as it lifted the poverty level of older Americans from more than 50 percent during the Great Depression to 32 percent in 1960 (Moody & Sasser, 2012).
Changing Policy over Time
This policy was continuously been changed over time in perceptive to it Amendments. The representation of the OAA, congress has amended and reauthorized the act many times. Its course was defined in many stages like ‘Initial implement stage.’ During the initial years, management on aging was inattentive with guessing out its part as the dominant figure in aging policy. The main concern was that either they include just low income elders or all older citizens.
The ‘Title-III’ grant program was been strengthened in 1969 amendment, and allow model projects to meet the necessities of old age citizens. Similarly, National Older Volunteer Program, was one of the major change in 1969 amendment.
Subsequent amendments and passage of OAA created the aging network which in today’s society consists of challenging edifice made up of and links two Native Hawaiian organizations, Title VI grants to 246 Indian tribes, 629 Area Agencies on Aging, 56 State Units on Aging, The Administration on Aging, The Administration for Community Living, The Department of Health and Human Services and some 29,000 providers delivering services to older adults (Wacker & Roberto, 2014).
The original act did little in the way of instructing outcome measures of effectiveness of the OAA. The Welfare, Education and Secretary was allowed to provide technical assistance and consultative services to public or nonprofit institutions, agencies, organizations to conduct study, and to circulate reports of the developments subsidized under the OAA. Currently, section 206 (Title-II) suggests that the Secretary is authorized to evaluate and measure the impact of all programs sanctioned by this Act, their efficiency in attaining stated goals in general, and their efficiency in directing for facilities under this Act unserved older persons with greatest social and economic need. Assessments shall be steered by individuals not directly involved in the management of the project or program that was been evaluated. Moreover, the Secretary is to get input from administrations representing older grownups’ programs and needs accomplices about the weaknesses and strengths of the programs (Administration for Community Living, 2006).
Discrimination and inequality in education and economic compensation, along with continuing and past racism, sexism, and ageism in public assistance policies, housing practices, and employment were the primary underlying inequalities that contributed to the leading problems for older adults in 1965. Inequalities were being realized at an accelerated pace in the 1960s. It was a time of civic unrest and betterment. The OAA was a momentous piece of legislature that addressed some of these inequalities. Since the passage of the OAA, the knowledge and understanding of the older adult population has expanded tremendously.
The older adult poverty rate has decreased and there is a strong movement in culture change and holistic living coming from our seniors and professionals. In 1959, 35 percent of older adults lived below the poverty line compared to 9 percent in 2006 (Karger & Stoesz, 1994). Of the 10 objectives of the OAA, five could be said to directly address equality issues. They are: An adequate income in retirement, the best possible physical and mental health, suitable and affordable housing, opportunity for employment free of age discrimination, and efficient and available community services which provide social assistance.