In mid-June, Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), the ranking member and chairman of the Special Committee on Aging, and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced the 21st Century Assistive Technology Act, which would increase access to assistive technology — devices or services that help seniors and people with disabilities maintain their independence and live where they choose.
The bill, which comes following a hearing in the Aging Committee on the topic, would also help reduce the low employment and high poverty rates of older adults and people with disabilities by helping them live independently and maintain employment.
“Assistive technology helps millions of people live independently and remain engaged in their community, and improves the quality of life for seniors and people with disabilities,” said Casey.
“It is important that we update this bill to support the advances in assistive technology over the last 15 years, so that those who need it can be full participants in every aspect of their lives.”
“As our population ages, the need for care and support is increasing,” said Collins. “Advances in technology are working to bridge the ‘care gap,’ improving function in activities of daily living, helping to manage multiple chronic conditions, reducing risk of hazards, and making homes safer for seniors.”
The 21st Century Assistive Technology Act (S.1835) Act would update the Assistive Technology Act by clarifying that the program serves all people with disabilities, including veterans and older adults who developed disabilities later in life.
The Assistive Technology Act would also increase the funding authorized for programs that serve rural areas.
Assistive technology refers to any piece of equipment, product, or service that helps someone with a disability or functional limitation accomplish their daily needs, such as wheelchair ramps, hearing aids, screen readers, and even smartphones.