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

East Tennessee Area Agency on Aging and Disability
9111 Cross Park Drive Suite D-100 Knoxville TN 37923
Phone: (865) 691-2551
South Central Tennessee Area Agency on Aging and Disability
101 Sam Watkins Road Mount Pleasant TN 38474
Phone: (931) 379- 2929
Northwest Tennessee Area Agency on Aging & Disability
124 Weldon Drive P. O. Box 963 Martin TN 38237
Phone: (731) 587-4213
Southeast Tennessee Area Agency on Aging and Disability
1000 Riverfront Parkway P.O. Box 4757 Chattanooga TN 37405
Phone: (423) 266-5781
Upper Cumberland Area Agency on Aging and Disability
1225 South Willow Avenue Cookeville TN 38506
Phone: (931) 432-4111
First Tennessee Area Agency on Aging & Disability
3211 North Roan Street Johnson City TN 37601
Phone: (423) 928-0224
Greater Nashville Area Agency on Aging & Disability
501 Union Street6th FloorNashville TN 37219
Phone: (615) 862-8828
Southwest Tennessee Area Agency on Aging and Disability
102 E. College Street Jackson TN 38301
Phone: (731) 668-6403
Aging Commission of the Mid-South/Area Agency on Aging and Disability
2670 Union Avenue Extended Suite 1000 Memphis TN 38112
Phone: (901) 222-4100
Saint Louis Area Agency on Aging
1520 Market Room 4086 Saint Louis MO 63103

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