MA4 Salutes Representative Swan’s Commitment To Seniors

Jefferson City, MO – Legislation establishing the Senior Growth and Development Program Fund received House and Senate approval this past legislative session and is headed to the Governor for signing.  Sponsored by Rep. Kathryn Swan, (R) Cape Girardeau, this program establishes sustainable funding for services provided by Area Agencies on Aging (AAA), which include senior center programs. These services are designed to maintain and maximize independence and dignity and keep seniors in their homes as long as possible. Senator Wayne Wallingford, (R) Cape Girardeau, sponsored the bill in the Senate.

Catherine Edwards, Executive Director of the Missouri Association of Area Agencies on Aging (MA4), explained the significance of the new program. “For the past four years, MA 4and the Silver Haired Legislature have been advocating for the establishment of the Growth and Development Program Fund. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of Rep. Swan and her foresight in filing this important proposal early in the session, this priority is one step closer to reality.”

“Under current funding authority, Area Agencies on Aging are only able to serve ten percent of the eligible senior population. Waiting lists for meals and other services have continued to grow and our aging population is increasing while funding for programs has remained stagnant. The creation of the Senior Growth and Development Program will fundamentally help address those critical concerns” added Edwards.

Originally filed as House Bill 337, the Senior Growth Initiative language was added on the House floor by Swan to Senate Bill 275, only hours before the close of the 2019 legislative session.  Shortly before the 6 pm deadline, the Senate picked up and passed Senate Bill 275 as amended by the House which included this important measure for Missouri’s aging population.

Edwards acknowledged important support from Sen. David Sater, Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe and his General Counsel, Alex Curchin, Rep. John Wiemann, Rep. Mary Elizabeth Coleman and bipartisan support from both the Missouri Senate and House in the passage of the authorizing legislation.

“MA4 is grateful to these champions of Missouri’s seniors” said Edwards.

About the Missouri Association of Area Agencies on Aging (MA4)
The Missouri Association of Area Agencies on Aging (MA4) was founded in 1973 to serve as a statewide advocate and resource for older Missourians.  MA4 is comprised of the state’s 10 Area Agencies on Aging (AAA), which were created under the 1973 amendments to the Older American’s Act of 1965.   For 45 years, these local agencies have been providing vital services, programs and information to millions of Missourians and their caregivers, including legal services, home-delivered meals, disease prevention and health promotion, transportation, public benefits counseling, senior center services and activities and in-home services. The 10 Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) provide a coordinated network of care which are designed to help older Missourians maintain their independence and give them a voice in articulating their concerns and changing needs.  
For additional information contact Catherine Edwards, Executive Director at: cedwards@ma4web.org

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