As America ages, with the number of people aged 60 and older expected to double from 2000 to 2030, the nation has an opportunity to help people age with independence and dignity. Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) help older adults do just that. Each AAA shares a clear mission: Preserve the independence and dignity of older adults by providing services and supports that enable them to remain living in their homes and communities for as long as possible.
Established under the Older Americans Act (OAA) in 1973, AAAs operate a complex delivery system that provides access to home and community-based services for older adults. Despite the word “aging” in their name, today’s AAAs are serving a broader population base, including people under age 60 who qualify because of disability, impairment or chronic illness.
Tight federal and state budgets make it extremely difficult for the Aging Network to maintain existing services under these traditional funding sources or even contemplate expanding those services to meet the current and future needs of a rapidly growing aging population. Nearly all AAAs (98 percent) draw on multiple sources of funding in addition to OAA dollars—most commonly, state general revenue funding, local funding, and Medicaid waiver programs. Yet the state funds on which AAAs rely heavily may also be in jeopardy.
While each AAA provides a set of core services under the OAA, including planning and program development, home and community-based services and caregiver support, they also may offer distinct services tailored to the needs of older adults in the community. AAAs coordinate and support a wide range of home and community-based services. including information and referrals, meals, in-home care, transportation, employment services, senior centers, adult day care and more.
With a grant from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) partnered with Scripps Gerontology Center of Excellence to learn how AAAs are enhancing and evolving services to meet community needs in the coming years.
The 2013 Survey of Area Agencies on Aging identifies four areas in which today’s AAAs are focusing their attention. These include,
- Changing services to meet the needs of an expanding consumer base.
- Continuing their focus on keeping people healthy and living in their homes.
- Keeping older adults safe.
- Managing changes in the funding landscape.
Today, AAAs are serving a broader base of the population than ever. Consistent with their mission to help all people stay in their homes longer, AAAs are expanding their reach beyond older adults and caregivers, especially to younger people who have disabilities and veterans.
Good health can support successful aging and independent living. Today’s Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) are working harder than ever to keep older adults and their caregivers healthy. Almost every AAA delivers healthy aging programs. And, AAAs also offer critical long-term services and supports (LTSS) which increase patient safety, improve quality of care and reduce health care costs.
Traxx Mobility Systems has worked with Michigan’s AAAs to get our Titan 500 Freestanding Overhead Patient Lift to those in need through the MI Choice Waiver program. This has allowed those with meager means to receive an assistive device which has allowed them to stay in their home longer.
The Titan 500 allows a single caregiver to transfer a patient from bed to wheelchair safely and efficiently and without fear of injury. For more information, visit our website, find us on Facebook or watch our YouTube channel.