The alliance is organized to bring together organizations and individuals to work actively toward common goals to improve the quality of life for older Oklahomans.
Oklahoma Alliance On Aging
3200 NW 48th Street,
Oklahoma City, OK, 73112
The Oklahoma Alliance on Aging, Inc., (OAoA) is a nonprofit statewide educational and charitable body composed of individuals and delegates from organizations interested in affairs concerning the welfare of the elderly citizens of Oklahoma and their families. The alliance is organized to bring together organizations and individuals to work actively toward common goals to improve the quality of life for older Oklahomans.The purposes of the Alliance are to:
Act as a forum for discussion of, and education on concerns of members.
- Provide informational material on issues contributing to the well being of older Oklahomans and make recommendations to public and private entities and the general public in accordance with the purposes adopted by the Alliance.
- Facilitate internal communication, coordination, and cooperative action by members, and establish a communication network to study issues and talk with decision-makers.
- Develop a base of grassroots support through member organizations to stimulate and participate in training of people to assist in carrying out the purposes and objectives of the Alliance.
- Assist and cooperate with member organizations in developing independent local coalitions and grassroots support for state and local issues that are important to the elderly. All actions taken by the alliance shall be nonpartisan. Statements of endorsement or opposition shall be only on issues.
In 1979 an Oklahoma legislative interim public hearings documented major problems in nursing homes. During these hearings, stories of problems in some nursing homes and tragic experiences of some residents were presented and it was perceived by many that state laws and regulations relating to nursing homes were inadequate. As a result, a coalition of some 100 individuals and 30 organizations came together in 1980 as the Oklahoma Alliance on Aging to push for passage of a comprehensive Nursing Home Care Act to address such issues.
Despite bitter opposition of the nursing home industry, refusal in one committee to hear the bill, and the transfer of the bill to another committee before it reached the House of Representatives, the bill passed the House with one dissenting vote on Senior Day at the Capitol. Subsequently the bill passed overwhelmingly in the Senate, and was signed into law by Governor George Nigh. The law includes sections on resident rights and the Long Term Care Ombudsman. The authors were Representative Don McCorkle of the House and Senator Bernest Cain of the Senate.
The Alliance on Aging incorporated as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization in 1983. Initial members were Area Aging Agencies, AARP Oklahoma, and a diversity of individuals, agencies, and groups throughout the state. There were 30 organization members and nearly 100 individual members.
The first president of the Alliance on Aging was the executive director of the Oklahoma Conference of Churches followed by Vivian Smith, who had become involved in senior issues in 1973 as a founding board member of the Daily Living Center in Oklahoma City.
The first standing committee became the Strategy Committee, when the president asked to have a group to discuss questions and issues regarding aging concerns. It now meets once or twice a month during the legislative interim, and weekly during the legislative session. It is an open, occasionally having speakers presenting on issues pertinent to legislation during the session. The Strategy Committee also monitors legislation that has a bearing on Oklahoma seniors’ welfare
There were multiple special issue committees in the early years of the Alliance, each focusing on separate kinds of topics. When it was decided that it was not practical to have so many committees, a decision was made to also have an Education Committee, which could schedule open monthly discussion on a selected broad topic, with a panel of two or three speakers. Goals of the committee are: (1) To enable interested people to become informed on issues affecting older people and their families, including understanding of state and national policies and community needs in both urban and rural area, (2) To develop information for public policy input, (3) To bring agency officials, service providers and others together with advocates for the elderly in a setting that encourages communication and cooperation as well as recognition of perceptions of all who participate.
We had periodic general reports to members during our early years. In 1991, we started a monthly newsletter, initially edited by member Richard Green, who is a free-lance writer. He taught Vivian Smith, the editor at that time, the difference between a fact and an editorial. The newsletter was approved each month to go into the mailboxes of members of the Legislature. The news letter is now published on a quarterly basic. Except for a part time secretary in the Alliance office at Mayfair Center, work of the Alliance is done entirely by volunteers.
The Oklahoma Alliance on Aging has initiated a policy of recognizing its financial supporters and calls upon all older Oklahoman's to look for the special Plaques awarded to these individuals, companies and organizations for their financial support
The Alliance encourages it's members and all individuals interested in the goals and purposes of the Oklahoma Alliance on Aging to make an effort to thank these supporters for their financial help.