NAHC Celebrates 24th Anniversary of the ADA

NAHC Celebrates 24th Anniversary of the ADA

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 23, 2014)– Today, the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) commemorates the 24th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In celebration of this historic day, we reflect on the ADA and the many lives it has touched.

  • Approximately 57 million people — 19 percent of the population — had a disability in 2010.
  • About 8.1 million people had vision impairment.
  • Roughly 30.6 million had movement impairment.
  • Approximately 2.4 million had Alzheimer’s disease, senility, or any form of neurocognitive disorders.

“This week, we observe the 24th anniversary of the ADA, a milestone law that guarantees equal opportunity for people with disabilities,” said NAHC President Val J. Halamandaris. “Let us recognize the founding fathers of the ADA who helped wage the last great civil rights battle of our time.”

 

  • Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) sponsored the ADA at the risk of becoming a target for the opposition, including business, railroads, telecommunications providers, and local governments. When warned of the danger this posed to his political career, he stayed resolved to push the legislation through. “I didn’t get elected to get re-elected,” Harkin said. “My brother is deaf. I understand discrimination. I understand what it means and what this country can look like in 30 years.”
  • Justin Dart chaired the Congressional Task Force on the Rights and Empowerment of Americans with Disabilities. Despite being a polio victim, he chaired 63 forums nationwide and collected over 5,000 documents supporting the ADA. He took pride in the passage of the ADA but stressed that his achievements were only possible with help from hundreds of activists and colleagues. “There is nothing I have accomplished,” he said, “without reaching out to empower others.”
  • Bob Dole helped bring the ADA to a vote as minority leader in the Senate. The Kansas Republican and disabled vet, reached across the aisle to expand rights for people with disabilities. “I have supported the ADA,” he said, “because it is a just and fair bill which will bring equality to the lives of all Americans with disabilities. Our message to America is that inequality and prejudice will no longer be tolerated. Our message to people with disabilities is that your time has come.”
  • George H.W. Bush signed the ADA into law as president of the United States. He was committed to tearing down walls for the disabled because he had a daughter who died from leukemia, a son with a learning disability, another son who needed an ostomy bag, and an uncle with quadriplegia. “I am going to do whatever it takes to make sure the disabled are included in the mainstream,” he explained. “For too long they have been left out, but they are not going to be left out anymore.”

These pioneers paved the way for the disabled to live full lives and contribute to their communities. But they can’t do it without help from home care, which will be even more in demand as the 78 million baby boomers reach their retirement years. The vast majority of boomers will demand home care because it helps patients stay independent and keeps families together. Home care is also more cost-effective than institutional options and saves Medicare tens of billions of dollars each year.

 

About NAHC

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) is a nonprofit organization that represents the nation’s 33,000 home care and hospice organizations. NAHC also advocates for the more than two million nurses, therapists, aides and other caregivers employed by such organizations to provide in-home services to some 12 million Americans each year who are infirm, chronically ill, and disabled. Along with its advocacy, NAHC provides information to help its members provide the highest quality of care and is committed to excellence in every respect. To learn more about NAHC, visit www.nahc.org.

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