« PrécédentContinuer »
In summary, Mr. Chairman, the participants told me that business as usual in Older Americans Act programs would not enable the network to meet the challenges of the future. The participants spoke of the high costs of transportation services, the growing numbers of inquiries from the "old old” who need services in the home, and the increasing challenge of keeping up with the growing demands.
As a result, network officials recommended that services be more focused on those in special need, as mandated in the law and particularly reinforced in the 1987 amendments. There was concern that in view of the growing numbers of seniors on waiting lists and those not yet touched by outreach efforts our emphasis should be placed on the socially and economically deprived.
I recommend, Mr. Chairman, that we step up our efforts to strengthen the Act in this regard. Participants in our forums particularly focused on the Title III intrastate funding formula. Many urged me to do more than simply review the way funds are distributed. They emphasized the need for action to assure that resources are directed to the areas in each state where they are most needed.
Network officials also ask for more flexibility in implementing Older Americans Act programs at the local level, particularly in developing procedures and innovations that result in expansion of services for those in need. I heard not one network official talk about positioning his or her agency in order to obtain financial benefits for the agency. Rather, I heard statements related to ways Older Americans Act funds could be leveraged to draw in additional resources to serve the poor and needy.
In this regard, Mr. Chairman, I believe we should permit and encourage the network to establish public/private partnerships, not to the detriment of the poor and needy, but to the benefit of the growing numbers in need by expanding services. There are ways to safeguard this public/private partnership to assure full compliance with the Act.
Network officials, not advocacy groups but network officials, Mr. Chairman, those charged with the current responsibility for serving seniors, those who have to face older persons every day, or listen to their calls for help by phone, or read the many letters as I do daily in which older persons make it clear that they are on the edge of total dependency; these network officials believe that it is time we give them the option of asking older persons who can do so to help out with the cost of services.
Officials of the network believe that permitting more affluent older persons to assist with service costs is consistent with the values of the elderly as we know. They do not want charity. They are very giving, as evidenced by the contributions they make to create room for more at the table. The Older Americans Act program is special in that the dignity of older persons is protected. That must continue. I believe our network officials are skilled at ensuring and safeguarding the privacy of older persons. I further believe that stepped-up efforts to assure proper targeting of services will ensure greater protection for minorities and the economically and socially needy.
There are many other areas of concern, Mr. Chairman. Secretary Sullivan and I are particularly interested in additional emphasis
on the prevention of elder abuse. The recent remarks by the Secretary offer hope for strengthening the family and community to promote elder care and to prevent elder abuse.
We have begun to use the term "elder care" to more easily convey to the lay person the concept of caregiving for older persons. The term has gained wide acceptance outside the aging community. We know that the business community is using it to describe specific types of services. The broader concept we are trying to promote is the concept of caregiving for all Americans. We must position the network to be in the forefront of this elder care movement.
The National Eldercare Campaign is more than an initiative. It is a movement to promote caring and greater elder care for America's seniors who are at risk today. Our network can play a greater role in working with other public and private agencies, organizations, and institutions including those not focused solely on aging issues. We must develop coalitions from all segments of each community to focus on outreach to the vulnerable elderly.
Shortly, I will provide resources to our network of State and Area Agencies to assist them in being at the forefront of the elder care movement by establishing coalition building efforts in select communities through the National Eldercare's Project Care movement.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the opportunity to appear here today and look forward to implementing the current provisions of the Act and the new 1991 amendments to the Act. Secretary Sullivan has sent a clear message to the field of aging by removing the Administration on Aging from the Office of Human Development Services and creating a separate operating compo nent within the Office of the Secretary.
I will continue to report to the Secretary on all matters related to older persons. I believe that the Commissioner on Aging's position within the Department has been strengthened by the Secretary's recent action and by the Department's ongoing plans to strengthen the staffing and technical assistance capacity of the Administration on Aging. Thank you.
Chairman ROYBAL. Thank you, Dr. Berry.
JOYCE T. BERRY, PH.D.
U.S. COMMISSIONER ON AGING
ADMINISTRATION ON AGING
SUBCOMMITTEE ON HUMAN RESOURCES
COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND LABOR
SELECT COMMITTEE ON AGING
UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
APRIL 25, 1991
Mr. Chairman, Members of the Subcommittee on Human
Resources and Members of the Select Committee on Aging, I very
much appreciate the opportunity to be here with you and with the
other witnesses who will be presenting testimony as you continue the
important process of reauthorizing and extending the Older Americans
Act. My testimony will respond to some of the issues which you
have identified in your invitation to participate in the hearing, and I
will be happy to respond to any further questions which you may
Since October 1, 1987, the Administration on Aging has had a
direct reporting relationship to the Secretary of Health and Human
Services. I am now pleased to inform you that on April 15, 1991,
the Secretary announced that the Administration on Aging will be a
separate operating component within the Office of the Secretary. The
reorganization which was announced April 15, 1991 by HHS
Secretary Louis W. Sullivan, M.D. also established a newly created
Administration for Children and Families, designed to consolidate
many of the child and family programs administered by HHS.
I am, of course, very pleased with Secretary Sullivan's action
which brings together all of the programs serving children and
families and places greater attention and emphasis on the needs of
older Americans. I can think of no better way to get off to an early
start on the May celebration of Older Americans Month than for the
Administration on Aging to assume its new status within the Office of
I know, in light of the series of hearings which you have held,
that you have already given substantial thought to areas which need
attention in a reauthorized Older Americans Act. I, too, have given a
great amount of thought and careful consideration to what reshaping
or refinement of the legislation is most needed at this time. I can not
discuss the specifics of the Administrations' bill with you while it is