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

Upper Savannah Council of Governments/AAA/ADRC
222 Phoenix Street Suite 200 Greenwood SC 29646
Phone: (864) 941-8050
Lower Savannah Council of Governments
2748 Wagener Road PO Box 850 Aiken SC 29801
Phone: (803) 649-7981
Appalachian Area Agency on Aging ADRC
30 Century Circle P.O. Box 6668 Greenville SC 29607
Phone: (864) 242-9733
Lowcountry Council of Governments/Area Agency on Aging
634 Camp Ground Road
Phone: (843) 726-5536
Trident Area Agency on Aging
4450 Leeds Place West Suite B North Charleston SC 29405
Phone: (843) 554-2275
Catawba Area Agency on Aging
2051 Ebenezer Road Suite B Rock Hill SC 29732
Phone: (803) 329-9670
Vantage Point, Division of CareSouth Carolina, Inc.
147 West Carolina Avenue PO Box 999 Hartsville SC 29551
Phone: (843) 383-8632
Santee-Lynches Council of Governments
36 West Liberty Street P.O. Box 1837 Sumter SC 29151
Phone: (803) 775-7381
Central Midlands Council of Governments/Area Agency on Aging/ADRC
236 Stoneridge Drive Columbia SC 29210
Phone: (803) 376-5390
Waccamaw Area Agency on Aging
1230 Highmarket Street Georgetown SC 29440
Phone: (843) 546-8502
Catawba Indian Nation
985 Avenue of the Nations Rock Hill SC 29730
Phone: (803) 366-4792

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