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U.S. Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) introduced a bipartisan package of legislation to provide and enhance support systems for older Americans. This package of legislation is the latest offering in a series of bills Jones is introducing to strengthen families in Alabama and across the country.
“As a society, we need to do a much better job of caring for the elderly and ensuring that they can continue to live in dignity as they age,” Jones said. Jones is a member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging. “These bills will expand resources and support for older Americans and their families, and enable them to participate in meaningful ways in their communities.”
The Promoting Opportunity for Women Entering Retirement (POWER) Act, legislation co-sponsored by Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), would improve older women’s economic security by codifying the National Resource Center on Women and Retirement Planning, which provides retirement planning tools and financial education to women who are most at-risk for poverty in older age.
In addition to helping women plan for their future financial, health care, and caregiving needs, the center educates seniors about scams and predatory practices, which disproportionately affect older women and cost Americans billions of dollars each year. By strengthening this program, the POWER Act would help thousands of additional seniors avoid poverty and remain independent and financially secure.
The Care Across Generations Act, also co-sponsored by McSally, would establish child care programs at long-term care facilities and fund activities to bring people from different generations together. Intergenerational programs provide a wide range of benefits to both the older adults and the children who participate. Children in intergenerational programs benefit from the wisdom and support of older adults, which can translate to significant academic and behavioral gains. Meanwhile, engaging with children reduces older adults’ social isolation, which is tied to a wide range of positive health outcomes.
The Aging Together Act, introduced with Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), would create a new grant program for multigenerational and civic engagement activities that improve participants’ health and wellness. These programs would promote lifelong learning and volunteerism, improve older individuals’ economic well-being, promote social connectedness and support family caregivers.
Earlier this year, Jones also introduced the bipartisan Younger Onset Alzheimer’s Disease Act with Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Casey and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.). This bill would help the 200,000 Americans suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s disease by allowing them to access resources and services provided by the Older Americans Act, even if they are younger than 60.
Disaster Relief Bill
The Senate approved a compromise bill to provide disaster relief for Americans impacted by eligible natural disasters between 2017 and 2019. The bill passed after months of negotiations, which were primarily delayed over disagreements about funding for Puerto Rico hurricane recovery efforts and the southern border.
The legislation will now go to the House of Representatives for consideration.
“I am glad the Senate finally stepped up to pass a disaster relief bill that will help folks in Alabama who have suffered so much already, from our farmers in the Wiregrass to the tornado survivors in Lee County,” Jones said. He has visited with disaster survivors in Lee County and impacted farmers in the Wiregrass. “This relief will be a great help to the ongoing recovery and rebuilding efforts in our state. And while I am glad that we’ve finally found common ground on this important step, I am disappointed that this disaster bill took so long to get done. We should never allow politics to get in the way of helping our fellow Americans recover from a disaster.”
Since late last year, Jones has worked to advocate for a strong disaster relief funding bill that would benefit Alabamians. He has reiterated his commitment to recovery efforts in meetings with impacted residents, farmers and local officials. In February, he joined with several of his Republican colleagues to propose a bipartisan $13.6 billion disaster relief package, which also included aid to Lee County as a result of the March 3 tornadoes, as well as farmers in the Wiregrass whose crops were devastated by Hurricane Michael. That legislation was incorporated into the broader bill that the Senate approved.
In April, Jones was the only member of the Senate to support both disaster relief bills that were brought to a vote. After both bills failed, he personally reached out to the President to ask him to strike a compromise that could earn bipartisan support.