Dedicated to Improving the Lives of Blind and Visually Impaired People

“Powered by Connection” Theme for 2024 Older Americans Month: The Older Americans Act: Its Reauthorization and Upcoming Webinar on Including Seniors with Vision Loss in the Legislation

Each year in May, the Administration for Community Living (ACL) leads the national observance of Older Americans Month (OAM). OAM recognizes the contributions of older Americans, highlights aging trends, and “reaffirms commitments to serving the older adults in our communities.” “Powered by Connection,” the 2024 theme, focuses on the “profound impact that meaningful relationships and social connections have on our health and well-being.” OAM will explore the role that “connectedness” has to health and well-being, supporting independence, and “aging in place.” As the population ages, and the number of people experiencing vision loss grows, these messages are especially relevant. To promote the theme, the ACL suggests a number of ways to participate, such as:

– Connecting older adults with local services, including transportation;
– Sharing information about the mental, physical, and emotional health advantages of social connection; and
– Advancing messages on social media about the benefits of interpersonal connection.
For additional suggestions, along with links to a poster, social media graphics, activity ideas, and more, visit the ACL webpage on Older Americans Month 2024.

The Reauthorization of the Older Americans Act: Including Seniors With Vision Loss

The regulations for the Older Americans Act are currently under review. A consortium of organizations and leaders in the blindness field, VisionServe Alliance (VSA), and the Aging and Vision Loss National Coalition (AVLNC) have responded to the proposed revisions to the legislation to address blindness and vision loss. Their response includes recommendations related to specific parts of the proposed regulations. For example, the addition of “sensory loss including deaf, hard of hearing, blind or visually impaired” is called for under the categories related to physical and mental disabilities and chronic conditions. Additional terms, such as “accessible” and references to “vision rehabilitation services” are included as well. For more details, read the VSA/AVLNC letter to the ACL on the proposed OAA regulations. Additional information about the Older Americans Act reauthorization was also featured in a previous issue of this Bulletin.

Webinar to Address Issues Related to the Older Americans Act: May 28, 2024
A webinar on May 28, 2024 at 3 pm ET will address “important issues related to the Older Americans Act.” Presenters include Allison Council, Senate Aging and Policy Director, as well as representatives from LeadingAge California, the Alliance on Aging and Vision Loss, and the AVLNC. For a full list of speakers, visit the VSA webpage on the OAA Reauthorization Webinar and register for the Zoom here.