Your Area Agency on Aging is top resource for local seniors
Aging Matters

When my family needed help and direction in caring for our parents, the Area Agency on Aging was our top go-to resource. But unfortunately, it's not recognized by most people. It's difficult to understand how a well-equipped source for seniors and family caregivers like this one remains hidden to the public. That's why I bring the agency to your attention.

Elder care is complicated, and the long-term care system is hard to navigate. Most caregivers don't know the first thing about giving care to an older adult. That's the situation my family was in several years ago. It's hard to know what a relative needs, where to go to receive the help, how to pay for it, and how to deliver better care at home.

Long-term care services create confusion such as what services does my loved one need, and where to go to access help? For the past nine years, I've heard these questions from hundreds of family members. They're starting to plan for a grandparent's, aunt's, uncle's, mom's or dad's long-term care and they don't know where to begin.

My answer each person every time, "The local Area Agency on Aging." Giving that answer never fails the person asking for help or me. It's a no-brainer.

Here's what the agency does for seniors and family caregivers:

  • They are experts on all aspects of aging, and their vision captures the spirit: To help older adults and people with disabilities live with dignity and choices in their homes and communities for as long as possible.
  • The local, regional offices, named the Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs), and they serve as single points of entry into the long-term services and supports (LTSS) system for older adults, people with disabilities, caregivers, veterans, and families. They exist in numerous locations throughout each State.

The resource centers:

  • Takes on a crucial information and referral role, connects families with local providers who can help create a caregiving plan, solve challenges, and identify support services.
  • Provides direct support to caregivers such as respite care, individual counseling and support groups, education classes/training; and emergency assistance.
  • Develop transition strategies with the family to improve planning, transportation, in-home care services, and case management.
  • Play a significant role in detecting and preventing elder abuse.
  • Offer programs to help older adults and their caregivers better manage their health.
  • Coordinates home-based-community services.

The mission in every community is to be the trusted source of information where people of all incomes and ages can access for long-term support options and benefits. The agencies rely on the work of volunteers. If you can donate your time to help people in need, please reach out to your local, regional Area Agency on Aging office, call 1-800-677-1116 or visit Eldercare.gov.



Part of the Aging Matters Weekly Syndicated Column

Aging Matters is a weekly column tackling everyday challenges that our growing elderly population and their loved ones face. It is also published in a variety of syndication partners including newspapers all over the country.

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