Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Statement by the President Upon Signing the Older Americans Act Amendments of 1967.

July 01, 1967

TODAY, we honor in law our continuing commitment to the 19 million older Americans among us.

The bill I am signing--the Older Americans Act Amendments of 1967--builds on a respected tradition.

In Franklin Roosevelt's day, the hand of justice was extended when the first Social Security Act was passed. Now we need to bring that act up to date, with the greatest increase in benefits in more than 30 years.

In our own time, we have extended the hand of hope--through Medicare. That historic program is 1 year old today.

All the doubts and dire predictions have vanished in the glow of its success. Millions have already benefited. And this year we hope to make Medicare even stronger and better.

In our day, too, we have taken another progressive step. The Older Americans Act of 1965 reaffirmed a Nation's sense of responsibility and respect for the dignity of age.

For the first time, States and communities in a true hometown effort were able to plan and develop special programs to enrich the later years.

Here is the record of accomplishment:

--550 communities in 44 States have launched programs to improve the quality of life for their aged.

--50 community organizations are carrying forward research and pilot projects, to put new life into later years.

--2,000 specialists are being trained in colleges and universities to work with the elderly.

But the full meaning--and the humanity--of this effort cannot be found in these statistics alone.

These programs have ignited a sure sense of usefulness in lives once lost to loneliness and boredom. Thousands of older people have found friendship, education, and recreation. Thousands more have volunteered their still valuable services to their community.

The legislation I am signing today will strengthen this great work. The $43 million it authorizes will greatly increase our efforts of the last 2 years by:

--Adding 275 new community to the 550 already started;

--Making possible a comprehensive national study to determine what kinds of specialists are needed--and how they can be better trained--to work with the elderly;

--Carrying forward research programs , including 75 new pilot projects.

I know of no better way to sum up the vitality and the hope of our programs for older Americans than to report the words of a volunteer worker:

"We are enabling men and women in their years of retirement to plow their goodness back into the world they helped to build."

With the bill I sign today, we are returning some of that goodness to the world.

Note: As enacted, the Older Americans Act Amendments of 1967 (H.R. 10730) is Public Law 90-42 (81 Stat. 106).

The statement was released at San Antonio, Texas.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Statement by the President Upon Signing the Older Americans Act Amendments of 1967. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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