The following are some to the most important aging policies that matter for quality of life for older Americans.
Minnesota Legislative Priorities for 2012
The Minnesota Board on Aging has identified the following priority areas for legislative attention in 2012:
- Prepare Minnesota for Alzheimer’s Disease (Download pdf – Preparing Minnesota for Alzheimer’s: The Budgetary, Social and Personal Impacts)
- Criminal Penalties for Neglect or Abuse of a Vulnerable Adult
- Home and Community-Based Services: Options and Information
Communities for a Lifetime Legislation
In 2009, the Minnesota Legislature enacted legislation that charged the Minnesota Board on Aging (MBA) with taking actions to further communities for a lifetime. The stature defines communities for a lifetime as partnerships that “extend to persons ages 65 and older the opportunities, supports, and services that will enable them to continue to be contributing, civically engaged residents.” The MBA submitted a report to the legislature with recommendations for building communities for a lifetime in January 2010. Download pdf report.
Complete Streets Legislation
Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty signed the complete streets policy into law in 2010. Complete streets refers to “the planning, scoping, design, implementation, operation, and maintenance of roads in order to reasonably address the safety and accessibility needs of users of all ages and abilities. Complete streets considers the needs of motorists, pedestrians, transit users and vehicles, bicyclists, and commercial and emergency vehicles moving along and across roads, intersections, and crossings in a manner that is sensitive to the local context and recognizes that the needs vary in urban, suburban, and rural settings.” The complete streets policy is an important support in making Minnesota communities age friendly.
Older Americans Act
The Older Americans Act was signed into law in 1965. The act created the Administration on Aging and authorized grants to states for community planning, services, research, and demonstration and training projects in the field of aging. Later amendments provided grants to Area Agencies on Aging for local needs identification, planning and funding of services. The Act was reauthorized and amended in 2000, at which time the National Family Caregiver Support Program was established to support family, friends and neighbors caring for older person as well as for grandparents and other older relatives caring for children. In 2006 additional focus on long-term care, person-centered initiatives, and evidence-based programs was established. The act was again up for reauthorization in 2011. Congress has not yet acted on reauthorization, putting at risk programs that provide crucial services for older Americans.
Code of Federal Regulations
The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is the codification of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register. The Older Americans Act: Title III regulations are found in the Code of Federal Regulations Title 45 – Public Welfare Chapter XIII – Office of Human Development Services, Department of Health and Human services Part 1321 – Grants to State and community programs on aging and Part 74 – Uniform administrative requirements for awards and subawards to institutions of higher education, hospitals, other nonprofit organizations, and commercial organizations
Americans with Disabilities Act
The Americans with Disabilities Act gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities and guarantees equal opportunity in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications.
Civil Rights Act of 1964 – Rehabilitation Act of 1973
All programs funded under the Older Americans Act must comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 which state that programs receiving federal funds must provide services, facilities, and benefits on a nondiscriminatory basis, for use of older people regardless of race, color, sec, religion, disability or national origin.