What is an Area Agency on Aging?
Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) are a resource for elderly and disabled individuals. They can be found in every state across the nation, with over 600 AAA’s nationwide. The goal of these agencies is to help elderly and disabled individuals remain in their own home and community for as long as possible, able to make their own decisions and retain their independence.
Advocating for increased funds for existing programs, new programs and services, and public policies that benefit the elderly and disabled is a large feature of agencies. Federal, state, and local resources for these individuals have grown substantially thanks to the support of AAAs.
AAAs also research, plan, and create new services needed by older adults. This includes finding agencies to provide the services, raising money for the service, coordinating the new service with existing programs, and informing the community about the new service.
What services do Area Agencies on Aging offer?
A variety of information and resources are provided to elderly and disabled individuals by AAAs. While AAAs offer some services directly, many also build partnerships with existing service providers in the area. According to the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, 85% of AAAs have a partnership with transportation service providers and 85% have a partnership with adult protective services.
AAAs provide evidence-based health and wellness courses to keep elderly individuals healthy and safe. For example, one of these classes titled “A Matter of Balance” is focused on building balance in seniors to prevent falls in daily life.
These courses are tested and evidence based. Research shows that the program produces the expected positive results without extraneous factors or events. A variety of classes are available, ranging from basic health to condition specific information, such as diabetes education and nutrition planning.
Along with these resources, all AAAs offer five core services. These core services are nutrition services, caregiver resources, health and wellness programs, elder rights information including legal assistance and supportive services.
AAAs also perform needs assessments and determine eligibility for government funded programs. This includes visiting the senior in their home to perform the assessment, developing a care plan, determining if the individual qualifies for any government programs, and educating the elder about the services and programs available.
How can an Area Agency on Aging help you?
The services offered by AAAs are available to serve seniors and persons with disabilities as well as their caregivers. They can provide resources and connections to services in the community that you may not already be aware of.
- By contacting your local AAA, you can take advantage of the programs and services they partner with, such as transportation and meal delivery.
- Taking part in the evidence-based courses offered by AAAs can help you increase your overall health and wellness and learn how to safely age in place.
- For caregivers, they can also find help at the local AAA. Agencies generally hold family caregiver support group meetings, have a caregiver resource network, or provide access to respite services in the area.
- Needs assessments can help you understand what home services you qualify for and how to get started receiving services.
Where does the funding come from?
According to the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, the most common sources of funding include:
- The Older Americans Act
- Medicaid Waiver
- State General Revenue
- Local Funding
- Consumer Contributions
AAAs function primarily off the efforts of volunteers, with only a small number of paid employees.
How to find an Area Agency on Aging near you?
To find your local AAA by zip code or city, visit https://eldercare.acl.gov/public/index.aspx. The results will provide you the address, contact information, and a summary of services offered at your AAA. Visit the agency website or contact them directly to find out about specific services offered in your area.
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