Founded by Frank J. Manning and a small group of retired men and women in 1969, the Massachusetts Association of Older Americans (MAOA) is the conscience for the promotion of social and economic security for Massachusetts elders. An early Faneuil Hall rally drew more than 1,000 elders to fight for reduced MBTA fares for senior citizens, and MAOA’s mass meeting at Suffolk Downs in 1971 brought together over 14,000 seniors from all across the Commonwealth to voice their concerns. Senator Ted Kennedy and Governor Frank Sargent were at Suffolk Downs, and heard the voices of older Americans that day. Thus, the Massachusetts Senior Power movement was born.
Since that time, MAOA has collaborated with many community agencies to win major victories for the state’s seniors and their families. Through MAOA’s efforts, major changes have occurred in improving the lives of Massachusetts seniors and their families:
- The Executive Office of Elder Affairs was established as the first cabinet level senior agency in the nation.
- Mandatory retirement at age 65 was abolished.
- Annual fights have been waged to expand funding for home care, nutrition, and fuel assistance.
- MAOA has fought for property tax abatement laws for elders and to abolish balanced medical billing.
- MAOA played a major role in the establishment of the University of MA at Boston, Gerontology Program.
- MAOA worked to ensure that no senior had to go without their prescription drug during the implementation of Medicare Part D.
Today MAOA continues to lead the fight:
- To improve the economic security of older Massachusetts residents through research and advocacy on policies that may reduce risk and hardship.
- Against the dual stigma of being old and mentally ill.
- To preserve Medicare and Social Security.
- Ensuring access to community-based long term care and obtaining mental health care for elders suffering from depression and other brain disorders.
MAOA organizes regular conferences on important issues throughout the state and collaborates with Councils on Aging to hold training sessions for senior advocates. MAOA continues its collaborative, educational and coalition-building efforts on a statewide basis to accomplish our educational and advocacy goals. Our efforts to advocate for the needs of low-income and minority seniors in programs and coalition work reach thousands of the 360,000 seniors throughout the Commonwealth.