Age Spots

Be a Part of the Solution

Have you ever wanted to be a part of a group where the mission is to improve the lives of people in your area? To help other seniors in your state?

The Missouri Silver Haired Legislature (SHL) is modeled after the Missouri General Assembly, as with the General Assembly there are two legislative bodies, the House of Representatives and the Senate. The SHL is supported by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) and the Missouri Association of Area Agencies on Aging (MA4). Each of the 10 Area Agencies on Aging in Missouri hold formal elections at local Senior Centers to elect their SHL legislators, which consist of 3 Senators and 12 Representatives. After the elections, the delegates meet to determine what the needs for the seniors in their area are. Each delegation can choose up to seven priorities that are prepared and sent to the state where a Bills Committee sorts through them to combine those that are similar and prepares for the mock legislative session in the fall.

In October, all the state SHL members come together for a mock legislative session in Jefferson City. Traditionally the SHL delegates get to meet in the House and Senate chambers in the Capitol. Proposals are introduced, debated and voted on. At the end of the session all delegates come together to select the top five proposals to support throughout the state. During the year, the SHL delegates advocate and encourage their legislators to sponsor and support SHL priorities and issues. Many develop genuine relationships with their legislators and go to Jefferson City to testify before legislative committees.

SHL delegates take an oath to represent all senior citizens in their area. Older Missourians are their own best advocates and the SHL allows seniors across Missouri to join in one voice to be heard by legislators and public officials. All SHL are volunteers but Aging Matters will cover travel expenses, meals and hotel stays when necessary to make sure that the SHL are able to make a difference in the lives of our seniors. All SHL members must conduct their advocacy in a non-partisan manner. This means when discussing issues they do not reveal any affiliation with a political party or group. Non-partisan advocacy encourages support where partisan politics can be divisive.

To qualify to be a SHL delegate you must live in the service area, for Aging Matters that is the counties of Bollinger, Butler, Cape Girardeau, Carter, Dunklin, Iron, Madison, Mississippi, New Madrid, Pemiscot, Perry, Reynolds, Ripley, St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, Scott, Stoddard and Wayne.

You must be 60 or older, have an email address to receive updates and information and be able to attend the meetings and the mock legislative session in Jefferson City. If you are interested in volunteering or learning more about the Silver Haired Legislature please call Aging Matters 800-392-8771 or email, we have some spots available and would love to answer your questions. Because Aging Matters.