Support H.R. 1780: Senior Accessible Housing Act
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To Honorable Members of the House of Representatives:
The following petition is a collection of individuals in support of the passage of H.R. 1780: Senior Accessible Housing Act.
What is H.R. 1780: Senior Accessible Housing Act?
In the bill text, H.R. 1780: Senior Accessible Housing Act proposes that subpart A of part IV of subchapter 1 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 be amended to incorporate language allowing a nonrefundable personal tax credit for those in the older adult population who make modifications to their residencies, which permit them to age in place. The credit suggested would apply up to $30,000 to make home modifications for individuals who are 60 years or older. These modifications would be at the discretion of an acceptable list made by the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Health and Human Services, and public input, which currently proposes the installation of: entrance and exit ramps, wider doorways, handrails, grabs bars, and non-slip flooring. Moreover, the major intended and anticipated outcome of this proposed legislation is to allow the older adult population to age safely and independently in their own residencies, by providing financial benefits to make these home modifications.
Why is the passage of this bill important?
There are many astounding facts and issues related to falls in the older adult population. Particularly, one out of four Americans aged 65 years or older fall each year. In New York State alone, approximately 60% of these falls that result in hospitalization occur in the home. With this in mind, these fall-related events are extremely serious in the older population, as they are the leading cause of fatal injury and trauma-related hospitalization admissions in the United States. These statistics are only projected to dramatically increase over the next several decades, as the older adult population continues to age. In fact, as of 2012, there were approximately 43 million older adults in the United States; however, by 2050 this number is expected to exceed 83 million.
The financial toll of the aging population will also see no reprieve, as by 2020 it is estimated falls in older adults will cost Medicare over sixty-seven billion dollars . As of 2012, approximately 90% of those 60 years and older plan to “age in place” at their current homes for minimally the next 5 to 10 years. Given all these points, it is essential legislation such as H.R. 1780: Senior Accessible Housing Act be enacted, as it is inevitable the aging population will place many demands on society in the near future.
Why should occupational therapists be included in the language of this bill?
The occupational therapy discipline consists of licensed professionals who have extensive knowledge related to evaluating, identifying, and implementing these home modifications. It is crucial this legislation incorporates language including these qualified professionals, to enhance the quality and credibility of this bill.
How could the passage of this bill affect the occupational therapy discipline?
If implemented, the occupational therapy discipline could play a direct role in the application of these home modifications for the older adult population. Specifically, occupational therapists could provide client-centered recommendations to optimize a home environment for those in the older adult population who qualify for the proposed tax credit. Occupational therapists are also knowledgeable in many home modification methods, including alterations and adjustments, through the use of adaptive devices or strategies. In turn, this would promote maximal participation in the daily life tasks of older adults, while allowing them to remain safe in their home environments for many years to come.
Who else can make this bill happen?
-Health Care Professionals: Who may have treated or currently treat older adults at risk of falls or who have fallen, including doctors, nurses, social workers, physical therapists, pharmacists, and occupational therapists.
-Home Builders: Who have the professional qualifications to directly implement home modifications.
-Realtors: Who play a role in the marketing process of both buying and selling a home.
The passage of H.R. 1780: Senior Accessible Housing Act would have a profound effect on the aging older adult population. We, the undersigned, call on members of the House of Representatives to support the passage of this bill, in which will benefit the older adult population for years to come. We would appreciate your efforts, alongside other Honorable Representatives, to advance and advocate the enactment of this proposed legislation.
Emily P. Good, OTS
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