Older Americans Community Access Revitalization and Education (CARE) Act

Members | August 03, 2014

LeadingAge applauds Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) for introducing the Older Americans Community Access Revitalization and Education (CARE) Act (S.2763), legislation that would improve the coordination of support services for older adults through the implementation of a community care wrap around support demonstration program and a program to improve the access to support services for lower-income older adults who live in federally assisted rental housing or low-income housing.

The Older Americans Community Access Revitalization and Education (CARE) Act  (S.2763) was introduced Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) on July 31.

The legislation aims to improve the coordination of support services like meals, nursing visits, and transportation assistance that are implemented through the Older Americans Act programs.  

The bill was referred to the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP).

What Would the CARE Act Actually Do?

If passed, S. 2763 would:

  • The bill creates a pilot project to encourage Area Agency on Aging support services, including the Title V Senior Community Service Employment Program, to be packaged and targeted to residents in federally assisted rental housing or low income tax credit housing.  This will increase access to available services for low income, elderly adults.
  • Create a community care wrap-around support demonstration program.
  • Encourage Aging and Disability Resource Centers and Area Agencies on Aging to improve coordination and collaboration so that seniors seeking services would be directed to the best resource, no matter where they first seek help.
  • Prevent older adults from falling prey to financial abuse, fraud and scams by strengthening early detection and finance education programs.
  • Widen dissemination of information on public and private health and social services available to seniors, including a national education campaign to make more seniors and their families aware of available assistance.

“We can do a better job to connect older Americans to the basic services that can help them stay at home and help their families make sure they get the care they need," Sen. Merkley said. "If we can keep more seniors in their communities and save money on expensive hospitalizations and institutional care, everyone is better off.”

LeadingAge Applauds Sen. Merkley

LeadingAge applauds Sen. Merkley for addressing access to support services for lower-income older adults who live in federally assisted rental housing or low-income housing, as well as for his commitment to helping older adults to remain independent through the use of coordinated services in the community. 

The study, Medicare and Medicaid Use Among Older Adults in HUD-Assisted Housing, explored the potential for publicly subsidized senior housing to serve as a platform for efficiently managing the population health of low-income older adults with various levels of physical and mental health risk.  

The study found that older adults that reside in federally assisted rental housing tend to:

  • Have more chronic conditions than their peers in the community who do not receive HUD assistance.
  • Utilize more health care, including hospitals and emergency department services, than their peers in the community who do not receive HUD assistance.
  • Have higher health care costs than the average older person—and even higher costs than community-dwelling elders not receiving HUD assistance who are also eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.

LeadingAge believes that the Older Americans Community Access Revitalization and Education (CARE) Act  will foster discussion between democrats and republicans in the Senate on including housing with services in the final Older Americans Act reauthorization bill that is approved by the Senate and House and signed by the president.