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U.S. Assistant Secretary for Aging Josefina G. Carbonell today announced the 2007 Choices for Independence Program Champions. The 2007 Program Champions highlight programs and initiatives in States, tribes and communities that demonstrate the principles of the Administration on Aging’s (AoA) strategy to rebalance and modernize health and long-term care for older persons and those with disabilities.

The 2007 Program Champions will be featured on the AoA website ( each business day during Older Americans Month. Older Americans Month is celebrated each May to recognize older persons for the important contributions they have made and continue to make to the success and prosperity of the United States. The theme for Older Americans Month 2007 is Older Americans: Making Choices for a Healthier Future. The goal of this theme is to encourage Americans to think differently about health and long-term care, and work together to modernize current systems in order to adequately plan for and address the needs of current and future generations.

The AoA rebalancing strategy represents a new direction in the future of home and community-based long-term care in the United States. Its key principles, which promote choice, control and independence for older persons and those with disabilities, were included in the recent reauthorization of the Older Americans Act signed into law by President Bush in October 2006.

“We know there are many innovative programs and activities underway throughout the national aging services network as well as in the public and private sector that are providing seniors with options on where and how they will live as they age,” said Assistant Secretary Carbonell. She continued, “We want to make sure that these important strategies are shared throughout the country and replicated, if possible. Encouraging new approaches to how we address the health and long-term care challenges before us will do much to reduce national health care costs and conserve precious personal resources.”

The 2007 Program Champions highlighted demonstrate streamlined access to information and services, evidence-based prevention and wellness projects, and consumer-directed service programs that help seniors avoid unnecessary placement in nursing home facilities. The 2007 Champions can be found at


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Aging (AoA), works with a nationwide network of organizations and service providers to develop a comprehensive and cost-effective system of long-term care that helps elderly individuals maintain their independence and dignity in their homes and communities. For more information about the AoA, please contact: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Aging, Washington, D.C. 20201, Phone (202) 401-4541.