Editor’s Note: This blog was cross-posed from the Administration for Community Living (ACL) blog.
By Edwin Walker, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Aging
Yesterday marked the 17th anniversary of a landmark Supreme Court decision. In Olmstead v. L.C. the Court ruled that people who need assistance with activities of daily living such as eating, bathing, dressing and walking cannot be unnecessarily segregated. They must receive services in the most integrated setting possible.
This decision, based on the Americans with Disabilities Act, has great implications for older adults.
All people should have the opportunity to live, work, retire, and contribute to diverse neighborhoods and communities, regardless of age or disability. The Olmstead decision has helped make that vision a reality for older adults and people with disabilities alike by shaping policy that ultimately provides services. For example, in the 2006 and again in 2016 Congress reauthorized the Older Americans Act, each time helping reshape the systems that provide long-term services and supports to include more home-and-community-based services. As a result, more older adults now get help with dressing, grocery shopping, and other routine tasks, making it possible for them to continue living in their homes.