By Chris Herman, MSW, LICSW
Senior Practice Associate–Aging, NASW
May 11, 2018
NASW is celebrating Older Americans Month (OAM) in May. Established in 1963 and coordinated by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), OAM celebrates the role of older adults within our communities. The 2018 theme, Engage at Every Age, emphasizes that people of all ages can take part in activities that enrich their emotional, mental, and physical health and well-being. ACL offers OAM 2018 materials, activity ideas, and resources to enhance your OAM celebration.
The Older Americans Act (OAA) helps older adults to engage in their communities and to maintain and improve dignity, health, and independence. Services funded through the OAA include case management, elder abuse prevention, family caregiver supports, nutrition programs, transportation, and in-home assistance. Yet, the OAA has been underfunded for many years. In partnership with the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations and other groups, NASW has advocated consistently for OAA funding. Thanks to this persistence, funding for some OAA programs was increased or held steady for fiscal year (FY) 2018. Send an e-mail to your members of Congress to underscore the importance of funding for the OAA and other aging programs.
The workforce also plays an integral role in enabling older adults to maintain well-being and to engage in their communities. Join NASW in supporting two pieces of legislation:
- The Geriatrics Workforce and Caregiver Enhancement Act (H.R. 3713) boosts federal funding for the Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program. Urge your Congressional representative to support this bill.
- The Improving Access to Mental Health Act (S. 2613/H.R. 1290) enhances Medicare beneficiaries’ access to mental health services provided by clinical social workers. Urge your members of Congress to cosponsor these bills.
NASW is also celebrating OAM 2018 by preparing for the 2018 NASW National Conference, Shaping Tomorrow Together. The conference, which will take place on June 20 through 23 in Washington, DC, features a preconference workshop on reframing communication about elder abuse and a breakout session on the Hartford–NASW Supervisory Leaders in Aging initiative. Other breakout sessions include the following topics as they relate to aging: HIV/AIDS, Medicare, trauma, social isolation, the Supplemental Security Income program, dementia-friendly communities, and civic engagement and brain health.
NASW welcomes input about how you are observing OAM 2018 in your community. #OAM18
NASW resources related to OAM
Standards, guidelines, and indicators—including publications addressing health, case management, cultural competence, family caregiving, technology, and other topics
Continuing education (CE): 2018 NASW National Conference, Shaping Tomorrow Together; other national-level CE programs; chapter-level CE programs
Aging Specialty Practice Section: benefits include newsletters and free Webinars
Advanced practice specialty credentials in gerontological social work, case management, health, and other areas
NASW Press eBooks and other publications, including updated editions of Foundations of Social Work in the Field of Aging: A Competency-Based Approach and Social Work Speaks: National Association of Social Workers Policy Statements
Hartford–NASW Supervisory Leaders in Aging initiative
Find a Social Worker—free, online databases for consumers
Related initiatives in which NASW participates
Other resources related to OAM and aging