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c. , 1979 should permit 11mited construction when it is not possible to acquire, renovate, or alter existing facilities to be used as senior centers. This would be especially helpful in rural areas where structures may simply not be available for senior centers. However, the overall emphasis as it is now -- should be directed at acquisition, alteration, and renovation of facilities because this will allow Title V funding to have a greater impact.
The provision permitting the Department of Agriculture to contribute surplus commodities to the Title VII nutrition prosram should be continued. This measure enables these prorrams to serve more people by expanding the food budgets.
Title IX should be made more flexible by extending eligibility to persons with incomes slightly above the poverty lines. Several income formulas could be used, such as 25 percent above the poverty thresholds, or the Department of Labor's lower level budget, or perhaps taking into account State income variations.
The overall emphasis should continue to be on the low-income elderly because their needs are the greatest. However, there may be instances when individuals with income slightly above the qualifying limitations may be in greater need because of extraordinary circumstances.
The authorized funding level should be boosted to a level to provide 100,000 jobs within three years, or more than double the 47,500 who will be at work starting in July.
1978 presents an opportunity to build upon the solid achievements of the older Americans Act. One example is the Title VII nutrition program which provides at least one hot meal per day in group settings.
Title VII also supports home-delivered neals. However, existing funding -- even though the appropriation is now $250 million -- permits only a modest effort on behalf of the homebound elderly. In fact, only about 15 percent of Title VII funds are used for so-called meals-on-wheels programs.
Approximately 3 to 4 million older Americans are unable to participate in a group nutrition progran because they are confined to their homes.
These individuals frequently suffer from nutritional deficiencies because they may lack the Incentive to cook for themselves, especially those living alone. Failing health may also make it difficult to prepare meals.
biany elderly persons are placed in nursing homes, simply because other alternatives which nay include a hone-delivered meal available.
A separate home-delivered meals program under Title VII would help to respond to these problems and provide greater flexibility in enabling these persons to continue to live independently in their homes. I support the efforts by Senator Kennedy and Senator McGovern to make meals-on-wheels more readily available and hope that the Subcommittee will incorporate this concept in legislation to extend the Older Anericans Act.
Legal counseling is another service that should be expanded under the older Anericans Act. Legal services can have an important multiplier effect for older persons. For example, a paralegal or attorney nay assist an elderly client in recovering back payments or to becone eligible for Social Security, Medicare, Supplemental Security Income, or other Federal benefits.
The Committee on Aging has been informed time and time again about the effectiveness of legal services programs in helping older persons recover benefits -- in some cases several thousand dollars.
Older Anericans have traditionally been underrepresented in legal services prograns, despite their pressing needs, Legal services offices usually do not have the resources to provide the degrec of representation older Americans need because they have limited budgets and staffs.
Feb. I, 1970 I recent years the basisistrutise se seing bas funded u legal services sose: projects as a lega: services developer in every state. Sese process sate semestrated the feasibility as effectiveness of a Pegai services progra working with the aciag setwork under the Older
Je zal Services fer the Ederis Act, which I have cosponsored with Sesator besedy, weld beiis on this working arrangesent and size legal representatie sore readiiy available for elderly persons. Lezai services is ciea:is a priority need for older Adericans, and it ca se = eifeccire kezisz to assure that they receive the services ad benefits sesized to belo then.
I aiso arge cibe Subcommittee to establish a direct funding dathorization for Federali; recognized indian tribes. Direct funding Is as asthorized ser ficie mi, provides the commissioner on Aging decesines Ebat (1) India tribe nenbers are not receiving benefits equivalent to other older persons in the State, and (2) they would be better served through direct funding. This provision, horrever, has proved to be inadeq Ice because the existins forrula provides a 7 tively shall not of soney - so scall, in fact, that Indian tribes have difficulty is funding, an adequate services, Procrap..
A separate authorization vould help to correct this probles by enabling the Commissioner to find a larger-scale services effort. The Federal Goverseat has a unique relationship with these coveraental units. any other federal prograns – such as Indian health services, the Coeprebensive Exployment and Training Act, Revenue Sharing, and others - aos provide direct funding to Indian tribes. The needs of aged Indians are intensified because of geographic isolation from supportive services, lower life expectancy, substandard housing, and videspread poverty.
WHITE HOUSE CONFERECE C: AGIIC Finally, I recompend that the Subcommittee approve legislation to authorise a thice House Conference on Aging in 1981.
In 1950 the first national conference on aging helped to sensitize our Nation to the problezs and challenges of older Avericans.
Since then, the Congress has approved legislation for a White House Conference on Aging in 1961 and 1971. Both conferences laid the foundation for 1 portant and far-reaching legislative achievements for the elderly, including edicare, the Older Adericans Act, the Age Discrimination in Caployment Act, the nutrition program for the elderly, the senior cosaunity service employment program, Social Security increases, and others.
A third White House Conference on Aging is needed to assure that the momentun generated by previous conferences does not falter and die. Equally important, it would provide a means to take stock of the progress sade in implesenting the recommendations of the 1971 conference. conference in 1981 vould also provide a forur for older Anericans and others to develop a long-awaited national policy on aging.
THE COSPELLING NEED All Americans -- whether they are young or old -- have a vital stake in assuring that our commitment in aging is built upon a sound and effective strategy.
Our Kation cannot afford half-hearted efforts in responding to the problems and challenges of aged and aging Americans.
We must also recognize that we are in the midst of rapid changes affecting policies and retirenent patterns. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act Amendments, which would, in effect, raise the mandatory retiresent age to 70 for most workers, is one good example.
It may be difficult now to appreciate the dimensions and implications of these changes for present and future retirees.
Congress enacted the older Americans Act in response to trends existing in 1965 and projected changes for the future.
Feb. 1, 1978
Subsequent anendments have helped to update and perfect the Act to seet changing conditions and developments.
The amendments I have suggested for 1978 would help considerably to implement this goal.
The se neasures were developed in close cooperation with leaders in the field of aging and older persons themselves. And, I urge the Subcommittee to incorporate them in the bill you report to the full Committee.
Senator EAGLETON. Senator Domenici has been detained. He will be here later this morning.
I will call as our first witness, Mr. Nelson Cruikshank, Chairman, Federal Council on Aging. Mr. Cruikshank, we are always happy to have you with us.
Senator KENNEDY. On the chart, on the left, you have medicare 17, medicaid, 10, that is 27 to start with. You had 5 billion in SSI and you have 2 billion below.
I do not understand the figure.
Senator EAGLETON. You are right. Not only did we misspell "total", we lost a few billions.
Senator KENNEDY. I would love to see the growth.
Senator EAGLETON. I was floored with my initial glance there, that it went from 26 to 40. Even 10-percent inflation would only make it up to 32.
Senator KENNEDY. Just comparison of the figuresSenator EAGLETON. There is a slight error. It should read 35 billion.
We will get a new chart.
Senator EAGLETON. I am glad you brought that to my attention. Tomorrow we will have a different chart, folks.
Mr. Cruikshank, we are delighted to have you with us. No one has worked more vigorously than you in the area of America's elderly in services and programs affecting their future and quality of their lives.
You may proceed, sir, and we are delighted to have you.
STATEMENT OF NELSON H. CRUIKSHANK, CHAIRMAN, FEDERAL
COUNCIL ON AGING, ACCOMPANIED BY DR. ALAN SHEPPARD, DEPUTY ASSISTANT, FEDERAL COUNCIL ON AGING; AND ROBERT M. FOSTER, STAFF, FEDERAL COUNCIL ON AGING
Mr. CRUIKSHANK. Thank you, Chairman Eagleton, and Senator Kennedy. It is a pleasure for me to appear before your committee. I must say at the outset that I appreciated ever so much the opening statements of the chairman and Senator Kennedy. They set a beautiful backdrop for the considerations of the committee. If I may add a personal note to Senator Eagleton, all of the work that I have done and the efforts that I have expended to which you generally referred were not exactly altruistic. At the age of 75, I have now a very direct and immediate and personal interest in the welfare of the elderly, so some of it is self-serving, in a way.
I am happy to be here. With your permission, I am accompanied by Dr. Alan Sheppard, on my left, who is Deputy Assistant to the Federal Council on Aging, just recently joined our staff, and Mr. Robert Foster, a staff member, both of whom assisted in the preparation of this statement.
My name is Nelson H. Cruikshank and I am speaking today as Chairman of the Federal Council on the Aging. I thank you for the opportunity to provide testimony on reauthorization of the Older Americans Act. As you know, the Council was created by the Congress to serve as spokesman on behalf of older Americans by making recommendations to the administrative and legislative branches of Government with respect to Federal policies regarding the aged. Today's statement is part of that assigned legislative responsibility.
The Federal Council traces a substantial part of its parentage to this Senate body and as the Congress considers the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act, it is timely both to report on functioning of the Council and to present its views on possible amendments to the act.
Specifically, the 1973 amendments to the Older Americans Act created the Federal Council on the Aging. Among its broad functions, it was required to:
serve as a spokesman on behalf of older Americans by making recommendations to the President, the Secretary, the Commissioner, and to the Congress with respect to Federal policies regarding the aging and federally conducted or assisted programs and other activities related to or affecting them.
When this measure was finally reported to the House and Senate by the conference committee, the report explicitly spelled out the intent of Congress by the following language:
It is the intention of the conference that this body function as more than a passive advisory body, and that it work to actively promote the interest of older Americans throughout the whole range of Federal policies and programs affecting them.
This is indeed a broad mandate and one which the Council, with its limited resources, has never fully discharged. As a member since its inception, I accept my share of the responsibility for this shortcoming. However, in the 4 years since the first members of the Council took office and as documented in the four annual reports which have thus far been issued, the Council has sought to identify those national policy issues which the Council felt were of priority concern to the largest number of older Americans with the greater needs. This has always been done in cooperation with and support of similar advocacy efforts by the Administration on Aging and the respective units in the House and Senate, including this subcommittee, with their responsibilities for providing Federal focus on the needs of older Americans.
RECOMMENDATIONS MADE BY THE FEDERAL COUNCIL FOR AMENDMENTS
IN THE OLDER AMERICANS ACT
While the Council never took formal action on approving the extension of the Older Americans Act, it looks upon this legislation as having great importance to the Nation's elderly population. Therefore, the Council assumes the act will be continued and broadened to serve even more older persons in the years to come. This assumption perhaps is a recommendation of sorts in itself. The fact that the Federal Council on Aging never felt it necessary to put on its agenda the question as to whether the Older Americans Act should be extended has a kind of negative element of support. The Council always assumed the Older Americans Act would be extended and specific recommendations, of course, are based on that assumption.