Beyond Health Care: HHS Aims to Help Elderly, Disabled People 'Live Productive, Satisfying Lives'

By Susan Jones | April 17, 2012 | 8:54 AM EDT

President Barack Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. (AP Photo)

( - The Obama administration has created a new bureaucracy to help senior citizens and disabled Americans "live productive, satisfying lives" in their own homes.

"All Americans -– including people with disabilities and seniors -– should be able to live at home with the supports they need, participating in communities that value their contributions -– rather than in nursing homes or other institutions," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said.

To give the elderly and disabled the support they need to remain in their homes, Sebelius has created the Administration for Community Living, which brings together HHS's Administration on Aging, the Office on Disability and the Administration on Developmental Disabilities into a single agency.

"The goal of the new Administration for Community Living will be to help people with disabilities and older Americans live productive, satisfying lives," Sebelius said.

The Administration for Community Living will help seniors and the disabled get the support they need to "live with respect and dignity as full members of their communities." The support goes beyond health care to housing, employment, education -- and "meaningful relationships and social participation," the news release said.

HHS said the organizational change can proceed without new legislation because the Sebelius has the authority to organize her Department and to delegate functions across HHS.

The new bureaucracy stems from President Obama's Community Living Initiative "to ensure the fullest inclusion of all people in the life of our nation."