As the state with the nation's oldest population, Maine is the "canary in the coal mine" when it comes to the field of aging in America. That's according to the longtime executive director of the Southern Maine Agency on Aging (SMAA).
At the invitation of Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins, Larry Gross appeared before the U.S. Senate Aging Committee Wednesday to support reauthorization of the federal Older Americans Act (OAA).
OAA, which was originally enacted in 1965, is up for reauthorization. The act supports programs for seniors, especially those who are low-income, through programs that promote nutrition, such as meals-on-wheels, support care caregivers, and prevent abuse and neglect.
Among recommendations, Gross urged senators to increase funding for the Older Americans Act. "Older Americans Act funding has woefully lagged growth in the aging population," he said. "At SMAA, after inflation, we receive less Older Americans Act funding today than we did in 2010."
Collins, who chairs the Senate Aging Committee, says she is committed to ensuring that the Older Americans Act continues to to permit seniors to age with dignity, respect, and community.