Dedicated to Improving the Lives of Blind and Visually Impaired People

Input Sought for Proposed Updates to Older Americans Act Regulations

The Administration for Community Living (ACL) is seeking public comments, needed by August 15, 2023, on proposed updates to Older Americans Act (OAA) programs. The last substantial changes to OAA were made in 1988. Since that time, the world “has changed dramatically” and the population of older adults has nearly doubled and is increasingly diverse. Originally passed in 1965 in response to concerns about the lack of community services for older adults, the OAA authorized grants to states community planning and social services, research and development initiatives, and personnel training in the field of aging. It also established the ACL to administer grant activity and to “serve as the focal point on matters concerning older persons.” The legislation makes no mention of blindness or vision rehabilitation, as noted in an item on the ACL in VisionServe Alliance’s enews, stating that, with people living longer, with expectations of maintaining independence and aging in place, “consideration of Aging and Vision Loss must be addressed.” A formal response from VisionServe Alliance and the Aging and Vision Loss National Coalition is being developed to the proposed updates and they “encourage (others) to make your voice heard as well.” The ACL’s proposed rule change process acknowledges issues that have emerged and aims to include updates that are needed “to align regulations to…reflect the needs of today’s older adults.” In the “Notice of Proposed Rule Making,” the ACL indicated that “Increased understanding of the social determinants of health is reshaping health care, as non-medical services that help people avoid hospitalization and institutional care–like those provided through OAA programs—are increasingly being incorporated into health care service delivery models.” For more details about the proposed regulation changes, including its key provisions, read the ACL’s Notice of Proposed Rule Making or the request for Input needed: Proposed Update to Older Americans Act Regulations. The links also include information about how to submit comments, either online or by mail.