Older American Act Summary

Compilation of the Older Americans Act of 1965 as amended in 2020 (Public Law 116-131)

Declaration of Objectives for Older Americans

Section. 101

The Congress hereby finds and declares that, in keeping with the traditional American concept of the inherent dignity of the individual in our democratic society, the older people of our Nation are entitled to, and it is the joint and several duty and responsibility of the governments of the United States, of the several States and their political subdivisions, and of Indian tribes to assist our older people to secure equal opportunity to the full and free enjoyment of the following objectives:

  1. An adequate income in retirement in accordance with the American standard of living.
  2. The best possible physical and mental health (including access to person-centered, trauma-informed services as appropriate) which science can make available and without regard to economic status.
  3. Obtaining and maintaining suitable housing, independently selected, designed and located with reference to special needs and available at costs which older citizens can afford.
  4. Full restorative services for those who require institutional care, and a comprehensive array of community-based, long-term care services adequate to appropriately sustain older people in their communities and in their homes, including support to family members and other persons providing voluntary care to older individuals needing long-term care services.
  5. Opportunity for employment with no discriminatory personnel practices because of age.
  6. Retirement in health, honor, dignity—after years of contribution to the economy.
  7. Participating in and contributing to meaningful activity within the widest range of civic, cultural, educational and training and recreational opportunities.
  8. Efficient community services, including access to low-cost transportation, which provide a choice in supported living arrangements and social assistance in a coordinated manner and which are readily available when needed, with emphasis on maintaining a continuum of care for vulnerable older individuals.
  9. Immediate benefit from proven research knowledge which can sustain and improve health and happiness.
  10. Freedom, independence, and the free exercise of individual initiative in planning and managing their own lives, full participation in the planning and operation of community-based services and programs provided for their benefit, and protection against abuse, neglect, and exploitation. (42 U.S.C. 3001)