Kelly Introduces Bill to Strengthen Senior Programs, Services

Arizona Senator Mark Kelly introduced the Revitalizing the Aging Network Act to strengthen vital services for Arizona seniors, from modernizing senior centers to expanding meal programs. The bill will build upon the investments made by the American Rescue Plan and provides long-term support while strengthening vital services for seniors. The bill is cosponsored by Bob Casey (D-PA).

“It’s been a long two years for seniors across our state as we’ve battled the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s why I’m working to get more support for services to Arizona seniors,” said Senator Kelly. “Our bill would strengthen critical programs for seniors so they can enjoy the healthy and happy retirement they’ve earned.” 

“With 10,000 people turning 65 every day we need to make sure programs to support and protect older Americans reach the people who need them,” said Dora Vasquez, Executive Director, Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans. “Senator Kelly’s bill will expand meal services for seniors and support the long-term care ombudsman program that ensures the safety of our loved ones in long-term care facilities. It will also support the loving family members who care for their aging relatives. All Americans deserve a secure and healthy retirement, and we thank Senator Kelly for working to make sure that they have one.” 

“We are so appreciative of Senator Kelly and Casey’s championship of the Older Americans Act and the incredible value and services it brings to older adults and those who love them in Arizona. The Revitalizing the Aging Network Act provides much needed relief to the Aging Network by allocating funding for nutrition programming and in-home supports such as transportation, in-home care, caregiver supports, and so much more. This bill bolsters the resources available to Arizonans who have relied on Older Americans Act services heavily during the pandemic. These additional services create a more robust infrastructure that helps to address the demographic shift towards an older Arizona. We are incredibly grateful to Senator Kelly for his leadership and look forward to the Revitalizing the Aging Network Act making progress in the Senate,” said Maddy Bynes, Director of the Arizona Association of Area Agencies on Aging.

Since 1965, the Older Americans Act (OAA) has supported community programs that enable older adults to maintain health and independence. However, since the inception of the OAA, the needs of the aging community have evolved, particularly as the United States prepares for an aging population that is living longer. Renewed investments will ensure OAA-funded programs and services are positioned to better serve the growing number and diversity of older adults by: 

  • Supporting innovations and program expansion efforts in congregate meal settings and for home-delivered meal services;
  • Modernizing senior centers by investing in multi-purpose and shared-site models and the aging services workforce;
  • Fostering intergenerational relationships by supporting multigenerational activities and civic engagement activities;
  • Elevating and supporting the role of family caregivers by investing in the National Family Caregiver Support Program; 
  • Prioritizing the health and safety of older adults by supporting the long-term care ombudsman program;
  • Ensuring that Indian Tribes and Tribal organizations have the resources necessary to serve Indigenous elders, including through nutritional services; and
  • Promoting equity by supporting technical assistance and resource centers to foster culturally-appropriate services for older individuals with the greatest need.

Kelly is a member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging. This year, he convened with his Senior Citizens Advisory Group made up of leading seniors advocates from across the state who advise him on issues facing Arizona seniors. Kelly has also volunteered with Mobile Meals of Southern Arizona delivering prepared meals to homebound seniors, seeing firsthand how this essential service supports Arizona seniors during the pandemic. 

For full bill text, click here