Highlights in the U.S. Chronology of Aging Policy Events


This post is part of course requirements for Dr. Farzin Madjidi, EDLT724.20, Ethics and Personal Leadership.

1920: U.S. Civil Service Retirement Act provided a retirement system for many government employees

1935: U.S. Social Security Act provided elderly assistance and elderly survivors’ insurance

1950: U.S. President Harry Truman initiated the 1st National Conference on Aging 

1950: The National Council on Aging founded

1952: U.S. government first appropriates federal funds for social service programs for older persons under the Social Security Act

1954: Meals on Wheels, a home-delivered meal program for seniors begins in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

1965: U.S. Older American Act (Public Law 89-73) signed into law on July 14. It established the Administration on Aging within the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. Medicare, Title XVIII, Medicaid Title XIX established

1972: Older American’s Act created a national nutrition program for older persons.

1973 Older American’s Act establishes the Area Agencies on Aging

1974: Title XX of the Social Security Act authorized grants to states for social services including protective services, homemaker services, transportation services, adult day care service, training for employment, information and referral, nutrition assistance, and health support.

1974: Housing and Community Development Act provided for low-income housing for older persons pursuant to the Housing Act of 1937

1981: American Federation for Aging Research founded by Dr. Irving Wright to fund research focused on aging processes and age-related diseases

1984: National Institute on Aging created to conduct research and training related to the Aging process, the diseases, and challenges of an aging population

1987: Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act provides for nursing home reform in the areas of nurse aide training, survey, and certification procedures, and pre-admission screening.

1987: Reauthorization of the Older American’s Act added six service sectors:

In-home services for the frail elderly
Long-term care ombudsman
Assistance for special needs
Home education and promotion
Prevention of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation, outreach activities

1990: Americans with Disabilities Act extended protection from discrimination in employment and public accommodations to persons with disabilities. Reauthorization of the National Affordable Housing Act HUD Section 202 Elderly Housing program.

1990: Age Discrimination in Employment Act made it illegal for companies to discriminate against older workers in employee benefits

1992: Commissioner on Aging position elevated to Assistant Secretary for Aging

•• To serve as the effective and visible advocate for older individuals within the Department of Health and Human Services and across the federal government
•• To collect and disseminate information related to problems of the aged and aging
•• To gather statistics in the field of aging that other federal agencies are not collecting
•• To stimulate more effective use of existing resources and available services for the aged and aging, and to coordinate federal programs and activities
•• To carry on a continuing evaluation of the programs and activities related to the objectives of the OAA, with particular attention to the impact of Medicare, Medicaid, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the National Housing Act relating to standards for licensing nursing homes and other facilities providing care for vulnerable individuals
•• To provide information and assistance to private organizations for the establishment and operation by them of programs and activities related to the OAA
•• To strengthen the involvement of the Administration on Aging in the development of policy alternatives in long-term care by participating in all departmental and interdepartmental activities concerning development of long-term-care health services, review all departmental regulations regarding community-based long-term care, and provide a leadership role for AoA, state, and area agencies in development and implementation of community-based long-term care.

1993: Dr. Fernando M. Torres-Gil becomes the 1st Assistant Secretary for Aging in the Department of Health and Humans Services

1997: Dr. Jeanette Takamura becomes the 2nd Assistant Secretary for Aging in the Department of Health and Humans Services

1999: International Year of Older Persons: A Society for all Ages

1999: Olmstead Decision of the US Supreme Court regarding ADA and community-based care

2000: Older American’s Act reauthorized to establish The National Care Givers’ Support Initiative

2001: Josefina G. Carbonell becomes the 3rd Assistant Secretary for Aging in the Department of Health and Humans Services

2006: Kathy Greenlee becomes the 4th Assistant Secretary for Aging in the Department of Health and Humans Services

2006: Older American’s Act reauthorized under the Senior Independence Act of 2006

2009: The Elder Justice Act of 2009 becomes part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or “the Health Reform Act”

2012: Administration on Aging (AoA), reorganized as a division within the Administration for Community Living . Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) first to introduce the bill for reorganization


For more information, click on these links:

ElderCare Locator: http://www.eldercare.gov/Eldercare.NET/Public/Index.aspx

Center for Advancing Health: http://www.cfah.org/blog/ 

John A. Hartford Foundation: http://www.jhartfound.org/