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PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  
Thursday, May 29, 2003 Contact: AoA Press Office
(202) 401-4541

HHS TAKES STEPS TO ENCOURAGE HEALTHY AGING
Department To Support Aging And Disability Resource Centers

HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson today announced a new grant program to help states develop one-stop shopping centers for seniors and people with disabilities who need long-term care information.

He also called on older Americans to increase their physical activity -- an essential part of healthy aging -- and joined senior citizens and leaders of national aging organizations on his second annual Older Americans Month Walk on the National Mall.

“It’s never too late to become physically active,” Secretary Thompson said. “No one is too old to enjoy the benefits of regular physical activity. Regular exercise, something as simple as walking, has positive effects both mentally and physically and as a result, can prevent a broad array of diseases and health problems.”

Under the new grant program, HHS will support state efforts to develop Aging and Disability Resource Centers to provide long-term care information to consumers. HHS is soliciting proposals from states to create such resource centers and will support as many as 16 such projects with grants of up to $800,000 for three years.

The program supports President Bush’s New Freedom Initiative, a government-wide initiative aimed at eliminating barriers that unnecessarily hinder Americans with disabilities as they seek to participate fully in the life of their communities. The resource center grants will help states to effectively integrate their many long-term support resources for consumers into a single coordinated system.

“As I’ve traveled across the country, one thing I’ve heard loud and clear is that families need access to reliable and accurate information about long-term support services,” HHS Assistant Secretary for Aging Josefina Carbonell said. “These centers will serve as visible and trusted places where people can turn for information on the full range of long-term care options and assistance in accessing the options supported by public programs.”

Secretary Thompson talked about the new grants program at a breakfast meeting with the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations. The resource center grants are a joint effort of HHS’ Administration on Aging (AoA) and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

“Resource Centers will be a tremendous help to families who are often desperate to find appropriate, affordable care for a loved one near home,” CMS Administrator Tom Scully said. “These grants are just the beginning of what we hope will be an effective network for these families.”

Any state may apply for a resource center grant. Applications must have the support and active involvement of the State Agency on Aging and the state Medicaid agency. The deadline for applications is July 28.

A notice soliciting proposals for the new program was published in today’s Federal Register. More information about the program is available at http://www.aoa.gov or www.cms.hhs.gov/newfreedom.




Last Modified: 12/31/1600