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