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Thursday
May262011

Rosalynn Carter Advocates for Older Americans Act

Rick Diamond/The Carter Center(WASHINGTON) -- Former first lady Rosalynn Carter was on Capitol Hill Thursday to advocate on behalf of the older generation, urging Congress to reauthorize the Older Americans Act, which provides seniors with access to care giving services.

Carter's personal stake in the OAA stems from her early years as a caregiver for her father. At the age of twelve, Carter, the oldest of four children, joined her mother in caring for her father, who was diagnosed with leukemia, and her grandfather who was bedridden in the late years of his life.

"I still vividly remember going to my secret hiding place, the outdoor privy, to cry," Carter was scheduled to say, according to written testimony to the Senate Special Committee on Aging. "I was the oldest child, I felt the burden of needing to help care for my father and my three younger siblings; yet I was scared and didn't always feel like being strong."

The former first lady also established the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving in Georgia, which supports caregivers and their loved ones dealing with chronic illnesses and disabilities.

Originally enacted in 1965, The Older Americans Act devised programs to ensure communities have the means to develop social services for older people.

Carter's advocacy comes as Congress debates cuts in the Medicare program and new Census data reveals men are narrowing the female advantage gap, particularly in older generations.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio