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

Arrowhead Area Agency on Aging
221 West 1st Street Duluth MN 55802
Phone: (218) 722-5545
Metropolitan Area Agency on Aging, Inc.
2365 North McKnight Road Suite 3 North St. Paul MN 55109
Phone: (651) 641-8612
Land of the Dancing Sky Area Agency on Aging
Westbrige Center109 S. MinnesotaWarren MN 56762
Phone: (218) 745-6733
Land of the Dancing Sky AAA - Fergus Falls
313 South Mill StreetSuite 1Fergus Falls MN 56537
Phone: (218) 739-4617
Minnesota Chippewa Resource Development
PO Box 217 Cass Lake MN 56633
Phone: (218) 335-8581
White Earth Reservation Tribal Council - Senior Nutrition
PO Box 418 White Earth MN 56591
Phone: (218) 983-3285
Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians - Red Lake Eldery Nutrition Program
PO Box 370 Red Lake MN 56671
Phone: (218) 679-2174
Central Minnesota Council on Aging
1301 West Saint Germain Street Suite 101 St. Cloud MN 56301
Phone: (320) 253-9349
Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging, Inc.
10 Civic Center Plaza Suite #3 P.O. Box 3323 Mankato MN 56002
Phone: (507) 389-8866
Fond du Lac Reservation
1720 Big Lake Road Cloquet MN 55720
Phone: 218-878-2618
Leech Lake Band of Chippewa - Elderly Nutrition Program
115 6th St. NW, Suite E Cass Lake MN 56633
Phone: (218) 335-8314
Southeastern Minnesota Area Agency on Aging/Senior LinkAge Line
2720 Superior Drive NW Suite 102 Rochester MN 55901
Phone: (507) 288-6944
Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe
43408 Oodena Drive Onamia MN 56359
Phone: 320-532-4181

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