Renewed in 2006, the Older Americans Act (OAA), in Title III of the United States Code, was authorized to promote infrastructure to protect the seniors of our country. Heavyweight special interest lobbying muscles behind the AARP and other parties have called upon Congress to reauthorize the Older Americans Act. Furthermore, as the AARP levers more lobbying pull as a major lobbying presence during the Affordable Care Act, revisiting legislation providing funds for senior citizens is surely likely to happen in the near future.

Historical Background

Along with other lawmakers, Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT – I) may seek to introduce a bill that would both reauthorize and improve the Older Americans Act this year.The Senator published in his press releases just last year, “’First passed by Congress in 1965, the Older Americans Act provides essential services for seniors like nutrition programs, job training, caregiver support, transportation, preventive health services and protection from abuse and financial exploitation.” Senator Sanders continued, ”All states are serving more seniors in need with less money.” Sanders also said said. ‘I strongly believe we should devote considerably more funding to these programs.” Read more about this here. The broader takeaway is that the possibility of reduced state coffers would certainly result in increased dedication of funds by the federal government, no matter political affiliation. Initiatives by Congress (who report dedicating $1.360 billion toward Title III OAA programs for seniors in fiscal year 2011. See page 13 of the report.

Public Policy

One of the greater public policy initiatives encouraged by the OAA is public outreach. This means that when seniors are encouraged to tap into their full government benefits, then both future residents of private senior housing developments and the initiatives provided by the government are effectively executed. For further reading on the full scope of the program’s design and considerations provided through the Congressional Research Service, consult the pdf here.

Senior Medicare Patrol Initiatives

Such initiatives in place by OAA legislation include the Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP), whose mission is to “Protect Our Citizens’ Health, Protect Their Health Benefits, and to Strengthen Medicare and Medicaid.” In addition to fighting fraud, the Senior Medicare Patrol intends to help educate seniors on expanding and protecting their rights to receive benefits. SMP reports training over 30,000 volunteers to help educate over 3.5 million people on the full scope of their benefits packages as provided through the government.

Benefits Translate to Money in Senior Housing

These benefits packages directly help both the citizen as well as the senior care facility. One smart idea for senior housing businesses is to include the benefit information and ancillary resources on both the facility’s website and inside of the facility. Furthermore, an on-site point of contact savvy on the benefits for elders available through government and public interest outlets would be cutting edge within the business and would assure those residents not fully paying out of pocket on the feasibility of financing a senior housing facility. Including the SMP not only enhances the quality of life for senior facility residents, it will ensure your benefit of compliance so that senior facilities continue to realize cashflow and keep a close eye on optimal returns from government money readily available.

It’s important to learn how an investment in senior housing will be fully served in a field flush with resources, compliance initiatives, and potential residents, and Cambridge Realty Capital accommodates those opportunities by following the economic implications within the senior housing market, such as government spending for senior benefits.

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