West Health Institute and Gary and Mary West Foundation Commend the House of Representatives for Passing Older Americans Act


The West Health Institute and Gary and Mary West Foundation commend the House of Representatives for passing the Older Americans Act (OAA), critical legislation that strengthens support services for seniors and their caregivers. It also includes, for the first time, oral screenings for preventive care.

“We’re pleased that the House has passed the Older Americans Act which helps provide access to many of the social services and resources that enable our nation’s seniors to age successfully with dignity, quality of life and independence,” said Shelley Lyford, president and chief executive officer of the West Health Institute.

“We look forward to the president’s signature following Senate action,” Lyford said. “We are especially pleased that for the first time, the act recognizes the importance of oral health screenings, which can lead to early detection and prevention—helping to avoid more serious health care conditions for our aging population.”

The bill now includes a provision that allows the aging network to use funds they receive for disease prevention and health promotion activities to conduct oral health screenings, and does not require new or increased appropriations. These types of screenings could be helpful in helping address oral health issues among seniors, which have been shown to be indicators of overall health.

Please click here to learn more about the Older Americans Act from the National Council on Aging, and click here to learn more about the West Health Institute, Gary and Mary West Foundation and Serving Seniors’ efforts to improve oral healthcare for seniors in San Diego.