In 1973, Congress passed the Older Americans Act (OAA) to promote the well-being of older individuals by providing services and programs designed to help them live independently in their homes and communities. The Administration on Aging (AoA) was established to carry out all provisions of this legislation.
One central part of the OAA was establishing a nationwide network of Area Agencies on Aging. An Area Agency on Aging (AAA) is a public or private nonprofit agency designated by a state to address the needs and concerns of all older persons at the regional and local levels. All Area Agencies on Aging receive federal funding under the Older Americans Act and most receive supplemental funding from state and local revenues. Note that AAA is a general term—the name of your local AAA may vary.
Regional Elder Care Resources
AAAs help seniors locate community resources available to assist in remaining independent and safely aging in place. In addition to seniors, Area Agencies on Aging also help disabled individuals, people with chronic illnesses, veterans, and caregivers, regardless of age. AAAs support family members and caregivers by offering respite resources, counseling, support groups, education and training, referrals to local care providers, and other elder care services.
Area Agencies on Aging are identified by geographic area, also known as a planning and service area (PSA). PSAs usually cover a city, a single county or a multi-county district. For this reason, they are able to provide expert information about specific resources available to a senior in the area where they live. They also help seniors understand and access federal, state and local public benefits, including Medicare and Medicaid.
Services Provided by Area Agencies on Aging:
- Caregiver training and support
- Nutrition counseling services and information regarding home meal delivery
- Elder rights education
- Health and wellness information
- Supportive services, such as information about in-home care services, homemaker and companion services, transportation referrals, case management, home modification referrals, and legal services
- Insurance counseling
- Respite care resources
- Care options counseling
- Assessment for care planning and long-term care service eligibility
- Ombudsman services
- Enrollment assistance
- Information about emergency response systems
Long-Term Care Ombudsmen
Area Agencies on Aging are a key resource for families who are having difficulty with care services in long-term care (LTC) facilities, such as nursing homes, assisted living communities and other senior residential settings. Begun in 1972, the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program operates in all states under the authorization of the Older Americans Act. The Ombudsman programs work to resolve problems and create consumer protections related to the health, safety, welfare and rights of individuals who live in LTC facilities. Contact your Area Agency on Aging for a referral to your local Ombudsman if you or your loved one has complaints about a long-term care facility.