Area Agency on Aging: The Older Americans Act passes and Census 2020

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By Kay Kaylor
PREVIEW Columnist
I advocate for residents in extended care and assisted living residences as the region’s lead long-term care ombudsman. I also am a Senior Medicare Patrol and State Health Insurance Assistance Program counselor. Information on the many aging and care concerns will be included here.
For a bit of good news in these troubled times, on March 25 the Supporting Older Americans Act of 2020 was signed into law, extending the 1965 Older Americans Act (OAA) for five years with increased funding. As noted in earlier articles, the act connects older adults and their caregivers with services to help people age with health, dignity and independence. Although the act expired Sept. 30, 2019, the services continued, such as home-delivered and senior center meals, the national long-term care ombudsman program, abuse and neglect prevention, legal advice, in-home care and transportation.
It also includes provisions of the Younger-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease Act, which gives people under age 60 and their families who are living with this disease access to OAA programs.
Census 2020: Everyone counts
Invitations to complete the U.S. Census began in March and questionnaires are scheduled to be mailed to all houses in mid-April. Due to COVID-19, it is advantageous for people to respond by phone, (844) 330-2020 in English or (844) 468-2020 in Spanish, or online at 2020census.gov. Online services include accessible features like Braille and large-print guides and an American Sign Language video guide. The information is confidential, is never published and cannot be used against you, and the answers are kept anonymous.
Most important, $675 billion is at stake for states to distribute in communities for schools, public works and social services like Medicaid. The census numbers will determine Colorado districting lines and how many representatives Colorado will have in Congress.
The San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging offers resources for people age 60 and older or on Medicare. For further information, please call 403-2165 or send an email to leadombudsman@sjbaaa.org.