ON THIS PAGE:
The Aging Network
- The Aging Network
- The Older Americans Act
- Administration of Aging
- State Units on Aging
- Area Agencies on Aging
In 1965, Congress enacted the Older Americans Act (OAA) to provide assistance with the development of new or improved programs to help older persons. The Act created an interconnected structure of agencies and services commonly known as the National Aging Network.Administration on Aging
State Units on Aging
- The Administration on Aging (AoA) provides national leadership on aging issues. AoA recommends policy, develops regulations to implement the OAA, allocates and administers the OAA budget, and disseminates grants for research, training and model projects.
Area Agencies on Aging
- State Units on Aging are found in each of the 50 states and 7 U.S. territories.
- State Units on Aging (SUAs) serve as the state governmental agency for aging issues, working with a broad array of state agencies and other public and private sector entities on behalf of older people. SUAs also designate Area Agencies on Aging as planning and service areas within the state.
GOALS OF OLDER AMERICANS ACT OF 1965 (as amended)
- 670 Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) receive OAA funds through State Units on Aging.
- AAAs serve as the planning agency at the local level. Their primary responsibilities include advocacy on behalf of older persons, planning and service development, and administration of a wide variety of funds which support services such as transportation, congregate and home-delivered meals, legal assistance, nursing-home consultation, public-benefits counseling, and volunteer opportunities for older persons.
Administration of Aging
- An adequate income in retirement in accordance with the American standard of living.
- The best possible physical and mental health which science can make available and without regard to economic status.
- Obtaining and maintaining suitable housing, independently selected, designed and located with reference to special needs and functional limits and available at costs which older citizens can afford.
- Full restorative services for those who require institutional care, and a comprehensive array of community-based, long-term care services adequate to appropriately sustain older people in their community and in their homes, including support to family members and other persons providing voluntary care to older individuals needing long-term care services. Opportunity for employment with no discriminatory personnel practices because of age.
- Retirement in health, honor, dignity --- after years of contribution to the economy.
- Participating in and contributing to meaningful activity within the widest range of civic, cultural, education and training, and recreational opportunities.
- Efficient community services, including access to low-cost transportation, which provide a choice in supported living arrangements and social assistance in a coordinated manner and which are readily available when needed, with emphasis on maintaining a continuum of care for the vulnerable elderly.
- Immediate benefit from proven research knowledge which can sustain and improve health and happiness.
- Freedom, independence and the free exercise of individual initiative in planning and managing their own lives, full participation in the planning and operation of community-based services and programs provided for their benefit and protection against abuse, neglect and exploitation.
In response to the growing number of older people and their diverse needs, the Older Americans Act of 1965 as Amended calls for a range of programs that offer services and opportunities for older Americans, especially those at risk of losing their independence. The Act established the Administration on Aging (AoA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which is headed by the Assistant Secretary for Aging in the Department.
AoA is the Federal focal point and advocate agency for older persons and their concerns. In this role, AoA works to heighten awareness among other Federal agencies, organizations, groups, and the public about the valuable contributions that older Americans make to the nation and alerts them to the needs of vulnerable older people. Through information and referral and outreach efforts at the community level, AoA seeks to educate older people and their caregivers about the benefits and services available to help them.
AoA works closely with its nationwide network of Regional offices and State and Area Agencies on Aging to plan, coordinate, and develop community-level systems of services that meet the unique needs of individual older persons and their caregivers. The Administration on Aging collaborates with Federal agencies, national organizations, and representatives of business to ensure that, whenever possible, their programs and resources are targeted to the elderly and coordinated with those of the network on aging.
AoA administers key programs at the Federal level mandated under various titles of the Older Americans Act. These programs help vulnerable older persons to remain in their own homes by providing supportive services. Other programs offer opportunities for older Americans to enhance their health and to be active contributors to their families, communities, and the nation through employment and volunteer programs.
Nationwide, some 670 AREA AGENCIES ON AGING (AAAs) receive funds from their respective State Agencies on Aging to plan, develop, coordinate and arrange for services in each PSA. In rural areas, an AAA may serve the needs of elderly people living in a number of communities, while other AAAs may serve the elderly living in a single city.
AAAs contract with public or private groups to provide services. There are some 27,000 service provider agencies nationwide. In some cases, the AAA may act as the service provider, if no local contractor is available. Supportive services fall under several categories, including:Access Services --- such as information and referral, outreach, case management, escort and transportation;
In-Home Services --- which include chore, homemaker, personal care, home-delivered meals, and home repair and rehabilitation;
Community Services --- including senior center, congregate meal, day care, nursing home ombudsman, elder abuse prevention, legal, employment counseling and referral, health promotion, and fitness programs;
Caregiver Services --- such as respite, counseling, and education programs.
Older persons, their caregivers, or anyone concerned about the welfare of an older person can contact their Area Agency on Aging for information and referral to services and benefits in their community. AAAs are usually listed in the Yellow Pages under the city or county government headings.
In addition to service programs, the Administration on Aging, under Title IV of the Act, awards funds to support research, demonstration, and training programs. Research projects collect information about the status and needs of various subgroups of elderly which is used to plan services and opportunities that will assist them. Demonstration projects test new program initiatives that better serve the elderly, especially those who are vulnerable.
Some successful demonstration projects have laid the groundwork for ongoing nationwide programs under the Older Americans Act. Examples include the national Nutrition Program for the Elderly which provides congregate and home-delivered meals to older people, the nationwide network of Area Agencies on Aging, and the elder abuse prevention program.
A nationwide toll-free hotline also provides information about assistance for older individuals anywhere in the nation. The number is: 1 800 677-1116. When calling, please provide the older persons' addresses as well as their zip code numbers. State Units on Aging
Agency of state or government, designated by the governor and/or state legislature as the state-level focal point for all activities related to the needs of and services for older Americans.DESIGNATION:
Single-purpose agency to administer programs exclusively for older persons, or a unit within a multi-purpose agency that administers a variety of human service programs within the state.RESPONSIBILITIES:
- Developing and administering the state plan
- Conducting state hearings on the state plan
- Serving as an effective and visible advocate for all older persons in the state
- Dividing the state into planning and service areas
- Designing and funding Area Agencies in each planning and service area
- Helping Area Agencies develop comprehensive and coordinated service delivery systems, and coordinating all systems activities in the state affected by the Older Americans Act.
A multi-year plan which determines how the State Unit will implement the Older Americans Act. The State plan is built on Area Agency plans and is submitted to the Administration on Aging for approval and receipt of Older Americans Act funds.FUNCTIONS:
Area Agencies on Aging DEFINITIONS:
- Horizontal state-level activities to enhance the development of service-delivery systems at the local level, including creating linkages at the state level, testing new models of services, training, technical assistance coordination and pooling resources, and program evaluation.
- State-level advocacy for older persons, involving direct efforts at facilitating elderly self-advocacy and supporting other advocates for older persons within the state including:
- A statewide nursing home ombudsman program which acts on behalf of residents in long-term care institutions.
- State Unit Advisory Council which functions in an advisory capacity concerning the development and implementation of the State plan, public hearings, and review of other plans and policy, and represents the interests of older persons in the state.
- Older persons who need help organizing into formal advocacy groups such as silver-haired legislatures.
An agency designated by the State Unit on aging in a planning and service area to develop and administer an Area Plan for providing for the development of a comprehensive coordinated service delivery system for older persons. Nationwide, there are approximately 670 Area Agencies on Aging.DESIGNATION:
A single agency with the sole purpose of administering programs for the elderly, or an organizational unit within a multi-purpose agency with the capacity and authority to administer human service programs. AAAs are located in such umbrella organizations as county or city governments, regional planning councils, and non-profit agencies.RESPONSIBILITIES:
- Assessing older persons' needs in the community.
- Identifying deficiencies and gaps in the service delivery system.
- Identifying solutions to meet needs and bridge gaps.
- Serving as an effective and visible advocate for all older persons in the service area.
- Develop a comprehensive and coordinated service delivery system.
- Developing and administering the area plan.
- Funding services based on identified need.
- Monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness and efficiency of service providers.
An Area Agency on Aging can include:
- Direct intervention on behalf of older persons. Facilitating self-advocacy by the elderly.
- Supporting and coordinating efforts of other groups and individuals within the planning and service delivery area on behalf of the elderly.
Developed by the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging for the Administration on Aging