What are Area Agencies on Aging

Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) is a network of approximately 622 non-profit organizations nationwide. They serve the elderly population (60+) of their local areas.  Most agencies serve a specific geographic area of several neighboring counties. Although a few offer services statewide.  This is especially true in smaller or less densely populated states. All the AAAs receive federal funding under the Older American Act. And most supplement that funding with additional state and local revenues.  

Agencies may use the phrase “Area Agency on Aging” in their name, such as the Area Agency on Aging of Southwest Arkansas. Or they may simply call themselves the County Office on Aging.

What AAAs Do

Each Area Agency on Aging provides a different suite of services although there are basic services that are provided by nearly all AAAs.  These include:

  • Nutrition – counseling, home delivered meals, and congregate (group) meals
  • Caregiver Support – respite care and caregiver training / education
  • Care Management – in-home care assessments and care plan development
  • Information & Referral – information about home and community based assistance programs, such as Medicaid, and referrals to administrators
  • Long Term Care Ombudsmen – information about long term care facilities and investigation of complaints
  • Insurance Counseling – assists seniors in understanding and maximizing the benefits of their insurance, especially Medicare
  • Transportation – assistance understanding and coordinating shared, non-medical transportation services

A lesser, but still significant, percentage of AAAs also provide families with help completing applications for assistance programs, such as Medicaid, respite care, and certain veterans’ programs.  Finally, case management is a much valued option, though offered more selectively than other types of help. 

What AAAs Don’t Do

When planning for long term care, it is equally important to know the services with which the AAAs cannot or do not help families.  

  • Hands-On Care – Except in very rare instances, AAAs do not provide hands-on care themselves.  However, some may sub-contract hands on services to local providers.  
  • Medicaid Planning – Medicaid has very restrictive financial eligibility requirements. AAAs can help explain the requirements. But they will not and cannot offer any assistance in helping families comply with or meet those requirements.
  • Veterans Benefits Planning – Similar to Medicaid, many VA programs have restrictive financial eligibility rules. AAAs cannot advise families on how to structure income and assets to meet those requirements.

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Alternative Assistance Options

Public Alternatives

Aging and Disability Resource Centers – ADRCs serve as a single point of entry for families to learn about the long term care support services available to them through federal, state, and other programs. The ADRCs provide free and objective counseling services. While very helpful, the ADRC system is still being developed and is not available nationwide.  In addition, in many cases, the ADRC Agency is same agency as the Area Agency on Aging.  However in some states these are separate entities.  

Private Assistance

Medicaid Planners – Medicaid planners offer families assistance with the complicated Medicaid application process.  More importantly, they help families structure their finances to meet Medicaid’s financial requirements.  Read more.

Veterans Benefits Planners – VA benefit planners help families to understand the different, and sometimes conflicting, benefits which they may be due. They also help to calculate and re-structure income and assets to meet program requirements. Read more.

Select Your State & County to Find Your Local Area Agency on Aging

Central Alabama Aging Consortium
818 South Perry Street Montgomery AL 36104
Phone: (334) 240-4666
South Alabama Regional Planning Commission
110 Beauregard St.P. O. Box 1665Mobile AL 36633
Phone: (251) 433-6541
Southern Alabama Regional Council on Aging (SARCOA)
1075 South Brannon Stand Road Dothan AL 36305
Phone: (334) 793-6843
West Alabama Regional Commission
4200 Highway 69 North Suite 1, P.O. Box 509 Northport AL 35476
Phone: (205) 333-2990
Middle Alabama Area Agency on Aging
15863 Highway 25 Calera AL 35040
Phone: (205) 670-5770
South Central Alabama Area Agency on Aging
5900 Carmichael Place Montgomery AL 36117
Phone: (334) 244-6903
East Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission
PO Box 21861130 Quintard Avenue Suite 300Anniston AL 36201
Phone: (256) 237-6741
Alabama-Tombigbee Regional Commission, Area Agency on Aging
107 Broad Street Camden AL 36726
Phone: (334) 682-4234
Northwest Alabama Council of Local Governments/ Dept. of Aging Services
103 Student Drive PO Box 2603 Muscle Shoals AL 35661
Phone: (256) 389-0530
North Central Alabama Regional Councils of Governments
216 Jackson Street SE
Phone: (256) 355-4515
TARCOG Area Agency on Aging
5075 Research Drive NW Huntsville AL 35805
Phone: (256) 830-0818
Jefferson County Office of Senior Citizens Services
Cooper Green Mercy Health Services Building 1515 6th Avenue South, Suite 607 Birmingham AL 35233
Phone: (205) 325-1416
Lee-Russell Council of Governments
2207 Gateway Drive Opelika AL 36801
Phone: (334) 749-5264

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