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Area Agencies on Aging - What They Are and How They Can Help Seniors, Familes, and Caregivers

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Home » What Are Area Agencies on Aging?
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Area Agencies on Aging - A Resource for Seniors and Families
Assisted Living Directory iconSummary: Area Agencies on Aging offer many programs to local seniors to help them to continue to safely live at home, or to serve as a voice for seniors living in a long-term care environment or assisted living through a Long Term Care Ombudsman Program. Many Agencies on Aging offer classes, programs, and services such as delivered meals, transportation, and legal assistance.
Article By: David Besnette - Founder/Editor for Assisted Living Directory

For most of us, aging isn't something that we actively think about every day, especially if you are younger, and in good health. Many of us still have our parents around, and if we're lucky, they are thriving in their golden years, and enjoying the perks and activities of retirement.(image: Many Area Agencies on Aging offer or coordinate classes for seniors, among other programs and services)

However, there may come a time for all of us where we abruptly need to assume the role of caregiver for a parent or loved one who has suddenly fallen ill; or perhaps is newly diagnosed with Alzheimer's or a memory disorder. Many times, the children of aging parents don't live in the same city - and may have children of their own (i.e. the "sandwich generation"), which further complicates things and adds to the stress and logistics of caring multiple arms of the family tree.

There's usually no advance training for this new role of caregiver, and no handbook or class that we've taken in advance to prepare us for the physical, mental, and emotional demands of managing the well-being...often remotely...of a loved one who can no longer live alone, or without some type of assistance.

One of the first decisions that might need to be made is whether mom or dad can stay at home, or if he or she (or sometimes both) may be better off living in an assisted living-type environment. Much of this decision may hinge on how much external support there may be offered in terms of local senior programs, volunteers, and if there is a local Area Agency on Aging, which often times will coordinate many facets of care and support for seniors who need the help.

An Excellent Video Talking About The Many Services Offered By A Typical Area Agency on Aging:

Area Agencies on Aging - a sometimes overlooked resource for seniors - is a wonderful place to start if you would like to try to keep your loved one at home, while ensuring that they will receive the proper support needed to remain independent and healthy.

Area Agencies on Aging were "established under the Older Americans Act (OAA) in 1973 to respond to the needs of Americans 60 and over in every local community."

Most Area Agencies on Aging, or "AAA's" allocate both federal dollars as well as state funds to offer and manage programs for seniors that include:

Home delivered meals (meals on wheels)
Senior Nutrition Services
Physical Fitness and Exercise programs
Legal assistance and advice
Transportation services (to and from shopping/medical appointments)
In-home care
Congregate meal services
Personal visits to assess health and well-being
Volunteers to visit seniors to keep them from feeling isolated
Health advice and assessments
Adult day care/respite
Outreach/social support
Connecting Seniors with Employers
Senior Volunteer Opportunities
Respite services (which provides a break, or relief for caregivers, which allows the caregiver to recuperate and rest, so he or she may continue effectively with caregiving)

Many agencies on aging also have phone numbers (often toll-free) allocated for different purposes such as:

Caregiver help and support
Elder Abuse
Connecting seniors with important community resources and local providers.

Although there are often no financial/income requirements to be qualified for assistance with an agency on aging - they are intended for seniors of a lower-income status, or who may be frail or with significant health or mobility issues.

Many Agencies on Aging also offer what is called a "Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program." A Long-Term Care Ombudsman is essentially a person, or persons who advocate for seniors living in assisted living facilities or other long-term care environments. These Ombudsmen can serve as a neutral, 3rd party voice to investigate complaints; look into possible elder abuse; working with and educating the staff at assisted living facilities; helping seniors to find assisted living/long-term care that meets their needs; and much more.

In addition, many Area Agency on Aging websites offer publications and newsletters that offer information and guidance on many issues related to aging, such as:
Alzheimer's and Dementia
Medicaid and Medicare
Elder abuse
Costs and Expenses

Agencies on Aging may vary slightly from area to area in terms of services offered, however, they exist to support and act as a voice for seniors so they can continue living as independently, safely, and as healthy as possible. Agencies on Aging can serve as a valuable starting point for families or individuals assuming the role of caregiver for an aging parent or loved one - or for seniors who live alone and need assistance and support.

To find your local Area Agency on Aging, Please visit the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a).

More Information:
DRCOG - Area Agency on Aging

- Article by the staff at Assisted Living Directory

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Responses to this article:
Cindy Wrote
If nothing else, Agencies on Aging offer a place to get a 2nd opinion, especially if you are feeling misled by a "commercial" company or facility.
15 Janurary 2014 at 8:14 am

Rob Wrote
It makes me think about how thankful I am to be living in a country where such resources like Agencies on Aging are available. We have it pretty good!
3 Janurary 2013 at 11:54 am

Abagail Wrote
It is unfortunate that many families don't know about these services and benefits which are often times largely free. Our AAA has been extraordinarily helpful to me in finding respite care. My dad has advanced dementia.
18 September 2012 at 2:55 pm

Andy Wrote
Agencies on Aging are wonderful and lifesaving if you or a family member live in a rural area that doesn't have many city services for seniors.
28 February 2012 at 2:34 pm

Alan Wrote
Do most agencies on aging do some sort of advertising or promotion to 'get the word out' about what they have to offer? I don't really see much about them in most senior publications. I assume that they go in person to many of the facilities and make their 'presense' known to the staff and residents, and hopefully educate them on what they have to offer, or how they can help.
31 January 2012 at 11:44 am

Margaret Wrote
Our agency on aging helped us to find very needed adult day care services in our area that were a perfect fit for our family's needs, and for our mother. I was surprised at how readily helpful this service is, and how (apparently) few people use it, or aware of Agencies on Aging.
9 January 2012 at 12:50 pm

Liza Wrote
I've never heard about this agency before. But its always touching to know that agencies like this are formed to help the seniors. Liza
6 December 2011 at 11:52 pm

David Wrote
Agencies on Aging were always sort of a mystery to me, but I guess they are here to serve local seniors. It's nice to know that many of their services are free.
16 October 2011 at 8:49 pm

Karen Wrote
I would like to be added to the list for caregiver positions in the Madison, Indiana area. I recently was employed with Lifetime Resources and resigned from the position. I have worked with seniors many different times and would like to be added to the list. The codes that you had listed that I am qualified to do are these:
Thank You
Karen Lewis

25 July 2011 at 8:47 am

Sam Wrote
I don't know what I would be doing if I hadn't gotten the support from our local AAA in Missouri. They've helped me with everything - and I am still able to live at home. I am 72 years old.
7 April 2011 at 11:51 am

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