Sanders To Sponsor Older Americans Act
01/09/12 4:04PM By Patti Daniels
(Host) Senator Bernie Sanders is sponsoring the re-authorization of the Older Americans Act. The legislation, which was originally enacted in 1965, supports programs that help senior citizens remain independent and in their homes and communities.
Among the nutrition programs funded by the Older Americans Act is Meals on Wheels. But Sanders says the nutrition program is underfunded, and he calls that a moral problem, and he says it doesn't make financial sense.
(Sanders) "Because what the studies show us, is that if there are seniors -- and there are more than you think -- who do not get good nutrition they need, they are more likely to be ill, they are more likely to fall and break a hip or something, end up in the hospital at great expense."
(Host) Sanders says that, with 10,000 Baby Boomers turning 65 everyday, programs like Meals on Wheels are needed now more than ever.
Another component of the bill supports employment programs for seniors. Sanders says the economic collapse three years ago disrupted the financial security of many people who were nearing retirement:
(Sanders) "That world for many, many people has now changed. Many seniors have lost their jobs, and you know what? In all likelihood, they're never gonna have another job again. What does that do to your sense of who you are as a person? Which is why the employment component of the Older Americans Act is so important. What does it mean in terms of revenue, income coming in so you can have a decent retirement? Those are some of the issues we gotta focus on."
(Host) Sanders says the last authorization of the Older Americans Act was $1.5 billion. He expects this authorization to be more than that.