The world is so focused on youth. Sometimes as you get older, it can feel like you’re invisible. The media and politics give so much more attention to kids, teenagers, and middle aged adults than they do to seniors, you have to wonder if there are important legal coverages and benefits you risk missing out on because there aren’t enough people concerned about the issues that matter to you.
Luckily, a few key organizations are actively working to advocate for seniors. The many unique issues that citizens of a certain age face aren’t invisible to these organizations and they work hard to ensure they’re not invisible to lawmakers and other policy experts as well. To learn more about who’s fighting for you and the issues they’re taking on, check out these fifteen organizations working to advocate for seniors.
Probably the most visible organization actively advocating for seniors is the AARP. In addition to offering member discounts and helpful resources to seniors, they also work as advocates for seniors in the political arena, urging lawmakers to consider their older constituents when they make policies likely to affect them.
In addition to putting pressure on politicians to make choices that benefit seniors, they also provide seniors with the information needed to better advocate for themselves by knowing the best bills and issues to call their representatives about.
The NCOA is a government organization that partners with nonprofit organizations and businesses to help provide resources and solutions to make aging easier on seniors in the United States. They offer educational resources and tools to help seniors find and take advantage of the benefits available to them in addition to advocating for seniors’ concerns at a policy level.
Interested seniors can sign up for their advocacy alerts to stay up to date on policy decisions that influence the lives of seniors and tips for ways to get involved and take action themselves.
CARIE, or the Center for Advocacy for the Rights and Interests of the Elderly, is a coalition of groups and individuals that both get directly involved when called on by individual seniors that need help navigating senior care issues and work toward legal reforms that provide seniors with more rights and better protections.
While primarily based on Pennsylvania, the organization does work that goes beyond its local efforts.
Legal Advocates for Seniors and People with Disabilities is just what the name says it is – it’s an organization of lawyers that help seniors and people with disabilities with certain legal issues they’re most likely to face. In particular, they focus on helping seniors deal with aggressive debt collectors and with social security disability claims. They provide low-cost services to seniors who aren’t sure how to handle these issues on their own.
Justice in Aging is a legal advocacy organization that pushes for any legislation that will reduce poverty for seniors. They therefore fight for affordable healthcare, greater resources for seniors that are economically disadvantaged, and give a particular focus to the types of seniors that have often been the least legally protected, such as people of color, immigrants with minimal English skills, and LGBTQ seniors.
The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care (usually shortened to Consumer Voice) was started decades ago in response to concerns about the quality of nursing home care. They have long worked to improve the standards long-term care facilities are held to and to advocate for policies that affect the quality of life seniors in long-term care experience.
The American Society on Aging is a little different from the other organizations on the list as it’s less focused on influencing public policy, and more focused on providing better education and resources to the professionals that work with seniors. They offer education, publications, and training to help people who work with seniors learn best practices and stay up to date on how to do their work effectively and compassionately.
In spite of work done throughout the years to reduce the incidence of elder abuse, it’s still a problem many seniors deal with. The NCEA works to provide resources and education designed to further reduce how frequent elder abuse is and help the estimated two million people in the U.S. that are victims of it each year.
Many seniors worked their whole life confident that their work would pay off in a pension that was promised, only to face doubt that they’d receive their due when they retire due to budget cutbacks. The Pension Rights Center works both to secure the legal protections that hold governments and businesses to their pension promises, and helps seniors navigate the process of getting their pension when the time comes.
Medicare fraud costs an estimated $60 billion a year, but much of that could be prevented if Medicare beneficiaries receive proper education. Senior Medicare Patrol funds projects that help educate seniors on common Medicare abuses and respond to any complaints they have about their coverage.
Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders is an organization that works toward improving the lives of LGBTQ seniors. They offer a range of services in areas like employment and health care, and work to advocate for public policies that benefit the LGBTQ senior population.
The National Hispanic Council on Aging works to advocate for the Hispanic seniors that represent a growing portion of the U.S. senior population. They focus on policy issues that range from economic security to health and housing.
The National Indian Council on Aging advocates for better health care, social services, and economic programs for American Indian and Alaska Native elders. They help provide education to Native American seniors to help them access the services available while also working with agencies and organizations to ensure more and better services are provided.
- Administration on Aging
The Administration on Aging is the government organization devoted to advocating for seniors and their concerns. They work to keep other government organizations aware of the issues that influence seniors so that legislation affecting the senior population keeps their needs and issues top of mind, and they provide grants to various other organizations that provide direct services and education to seniors.
With more than 5 million seniors suffering from Alzheimer’s, the Alzheimer’s Association advocates for better research, policies, and care for a significant portion of the senior population. They also provide resources and suggestions to people who want to do their part to advocate for Alzheimer’s patients. As the number of people with Alzheimer’s continues to grow, the organization has an important role to play in helping the seniors and their families affected by the disease.
If you ever feel that your needs and the issues you’re concerned about aren’t getting the attention they deserve, consider following or working with one of these organizations. The work they do can help amplify your voice and help you secure more rights and benefits for you and your fellow seniors.