AAAs have a lot to offer seniors and their family caregivers. No, we’re not talking about the insurance company. We’re talking about Area Agencies on Aging.

You might have heard about them if you’re in a support group and someone recommended you need to contact your Area Agency on Aging.

If your loved one has been in the hospital or receives any type of community services, a social worker or case manager may have suggested the Area Agency on Aging as a resource.

In this post, we will tell you who they’re for, what they do, when they began, where you can find them, and how they’re funded & overseen.

Who they’re for

AAAs provide a variety of services and supports, directly and indirectly, to seniors (60+), people with disabilities, and family caregivers.

AAAs may also provide some informational and referral support to professionals who work with aging individuals and their family members.

What They Do

AAAs offer five core services under the Older Americans Act (OAA)2:

  1. NUTRITION- congregate and home delivered meals
  2. HEALTH & WELLNESS- including prevention services, minor health care interventions, Medicare and benefits counseling
  3. CAREGIVERS
  4. SUPPORTIVE SERVICES- including information and referral, in-home services, homemaker & chore services, transportation, case management, home modification
  5. ELDER RIGHTS- including long term care ombudsman, legal services

AAAs may also provide some informational and referral support to professionals who work with aging individuals and their family members.

For the most part, AAAs are not allowed to provide certain direct aging services, such as meals, transportation and in-home services. So they contract with local service providers to deliver those services using the OAA funds they receive.

Most AAAs are direct providers of information and referral, case management, benefits/health insurance counseling and family caregiver support programs.

They also work in elder rights, both at the individual and community level. They are commissioned to advocate on the behalf of older adults.

The average AAA offers more than a dozen additional services.

The most common non-core services offered by AAAs are2:
• Insurance Counseling (85%)
• Case Management (82%)
• Senior Medicare Patrol (44%)

All AAAs are different in their structure and funding. They have minimal federal requirements so they can tailor their supports to their local communities. Thus, they often offer a different combination of services. For our local AAA offerings, see the Where you can find them section below.

When they Started

Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) were established by Title III of the Older Americans Act in 1965. The purpose of Title III of the OAA is to encourage and assist state and local agencies in the development of comprehensive and coordinated in-home and community based long-term services for older adults (age 60 and older).1

Since that time, policies and practices around community supports and long term care services have evolved, and as a result, AAAs themselves, and the supports they offer, have transformed.

Where you can find them

Missouri

In Missouri, the Department of Health & Senior Services oversees the AAAs. Missouri has ten (10) AAAs, each responsible for providing services within specifically defined geographic boundaries.3

Kansas

In Kansas, the state of Kansas contracts with Southwest Kansas Area Agency on Aging, to provide ADRC services throughout the state. SWKAAA subcontracts with ten other ADRCsthat collectively cover all 105 counties in Kansas to provide AAA services across the state.5

Kansas City Metro AreaWyandotte County, KansasJohnson County, Kansas

The AAA for the KC metro area on the Missouri side is the Mid America Regional Council. MARC is a nonprofit association of city and county governments and the metropolitan planning organization for the bi state Kansas City region. MARC provides a forum for the region to work together to advance social, economic and environmental progress. MARC is funded by federal, state and private grants, local contributions and earned income. A major portion of their budget is passed through to local governments and other agencies for programs and services4.

  • Information & Referral
  • In-Home Services
  • Transportation
  • Legal Aid
  • Meals Together
  • Home-Delivered Meals
  • Long-term Care Ombudsman
Link: http://www.marc.org/Community/Aging/Programs-and-Services/Services-and-Programs

If you live outside of the KCMO area, you can find your AAA by visiting https://health.mo.gov/seniors/aaa/ and clicking on AAA region map or going to http://moaging.com

The AAA is a department within the Wyandotte County Municipal Government. The Leavenworth and Wyandotte County agency administers programs and services that advocate for and assist older adults in maintaining their independence and dignity through community-based services. The AAA targets services to older adults with the greatest social and economic need and proves a variety of support services for caregivers.5

  • Assessments
  • Client Assessment & Referral Evaluation (CARE)
  • Caregiver Program
  • Case Management
  • Dental Services
  • Exercise-Enhanced Fitness
  • Information & Assistance
  • In-Home Services
  • Home and Community Base Services (HCBS)
  • Hearing Aid Program
  • Kansas Medicaid-KanCare
  • Legal Services
  • Meals on Wheels
  • Medical Alert Devices
  • Newsletter
  • Nutrition Sites
  • Options Counseling
  • Senior Centers
  • Senior Health Insurance Counseling for Kansas (SHICK)
  • Transportation

Link: https://www.wycokck.org/Aging/Services.aspx

If you live outside of Johnson or Wyandotte counties in Kansas, you can find your AAA by visiting https://www.kdads.ks.gov/commissions/commission-on-aging/aging-and-disability-resource-centers and click on “ADRC Regional Map of Locations 2018” to find your local AAA.

The AAA in Johnson County, Kansas, is housed under the Dept of Human Services within the Johnson County Municipal Government.6

  • Information & Referral through the Aging & Disability Resource Center (ADRC)
  • In-home Services
  • Nutrition Services
  • Caregiver Support
  • CARE Nursing Home Pre-admission Screening
  • Johnson County Commission on Aging (COA)
  • Kansas Silver-Haired Legislature (KSHL)
  • Legal Services
  • Private Care Management
  • Senior Flexercise
  • SHICK (Senior Health Insurance Counseling for Kansans)
  • Volunteer Opportunities

Link: https://www.jocogov.org/dept/human-services/area-agency-aging

If you live outside of Johnson or Wyandotte counties in Kansas, you can find your AAA by visiting https://www.kdads.ks.gov/commissions/commission-on-aging/aging-and-disability-resource-centers and click on “ADRC Regional Map of Locations 2018” to find your local AAA.

How They’re Funded

AAAs receive funding from a pot of money called the Older Americans Act Funds (almost 1.4 billion) support Title III Programs nationwide.

AAAs often also receive funds from other sources like the state general funds, grants, Medicaid, and service fees.

Some AAAs are nonprofit entities or just one of multiple funding streams for a nonprofit, which means they can receive donations. They may fundraise to offer additional supports or enhance the basic offerings.

Others are government (city or county) entities that cannot receive donations and are often funded additionally by local taxes, like personal property taxes.

Either way, this variation in the funding of many AAAs explains why sometimes organizations labeled as AAAs provide minimal services, and others provide a wide array of different services and supports.

Sources:

  1. Older Americans Act. Agency on Aging of South Central Connecticut. 2014. https://www.aoascc.org/Customer-Content/www/CMS/files/oaa_updated_2014.pdf. Accessed on January 17, 2019. https://www.aoascc.org/Customer-Content/www/CMS/files/oaa_updated_2014.pdf
  2. Area Agencies on Aging: Local Leaders in Aging and Community Living. National Association of Area Agencies on Aging. 2017.
    https://www.n4a.org/Files/LocalLeadersAAA2017.pdf
    Accessed on January 17, 2019.
  3. Area Agencies on Aging & Services – Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services. https://health.mo.gov/seniors/aaa/.
    Accessed on January 17, 2019.
  4. Services and Programs – Area Agency on Aging. Mid-American Regional Council. http://www.marc.org/Community/Aging/Programs-and-Services/Services-and-Programs. Accessed on January 19, 2019.
  5. Services. Wyandotte County Kansas Unified Government. https://www.wycokck.org/Aging/Services.aspx. Accessed on January 19, 2019.
  6. Area Agency on Aging | Johnson County Kansas. https://www.jocogov.org/dept/human-services/area-agency-aging. Accessed on January 19, 2019.

Sobre el autor

Rachel Hiles is a 30-something aspiring local celebrity do-gooder in Kansas City, MO. She has been the primary caregiver for her grandmother since 2015, using the knowledge and experiences gained over the past twelve years building a career helping disabilities at the individual, organizational, and systems levels to help her grandma have a good life and age in place. She is a Certified Caregiving Consultant™, Facilitator™, and Educator™.

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