Today Congressman David Wu and Prof. Margaret Neal of Portland State University's Institute on Aging announced legislation to better prepare for the growing, diverse senior population living in urban areas and encourage life-long learning opportunities for all seniors.
“This year, our first baby boomers will turn 60, and we need to better prepare our communities so that the growing urban area elderly population can lead healthy, productive lifestyles,” said Congressman Wu.
This year, Congress is set to reauthorize the Older Americans Act (OAA), federal legislation that defines the delivery of social and nutrition services for older persons. Under the Act, funding is provided to states for services to persons, age 60 and over, with the “greatest social or economic need.” Currently, seniors living in urban areas are not included under this definition. However, as the population ages and the nation's seniors become more diverse, seniors living in urban areas have become a special needs community.
Congressman Wu: “Current federal law falls short of addressing the needs of seniors living in urban areas and providing opportunities for life-long learning. Portland State University and I are working together to ensure federal law adapts to these vibrant and influential members of our nation.”
In collaboration with Dr. Neal, Congressman Wu is introducing legislation to see that OAA addresses the needs of seniors who choose to retire in urban areas. Congressman Wu also wants the Older Americans Act to encourage life-long learning by providing seniors with the opportunity to take classes at universities and community colleges. Portland State University currently offers such a program with great success. The Institute on Aging houses the Senior Adult Learning Center that allows seniors to audit university classes for free.
More background information on the Older Americans Act and Rep. Wu’s proposed changes can be found at www.pdx.edu/sites/www.pdx.edu.syndication/files/media_assets/OlderAmericansAct.pdf.
Jillian Schoene, Congressman David Wu's Office (503-326-2901)
David Santen, Portland State University (503-725-8789)