In the fall of 2011, I found myself facing some very difficult decisions regarding the care of my mother. She was clearly in need of a higher level of care than her assisted living facility could provide. Because her assisted living did not have a social worker on staff and she was not admitted into a hospital, I didn’t have the support of trained professionals to assess her needs and have her placed in an appropriate facility.
The Detroit Area Agency on Aging 1-B came to my rescue. I cannot gush enough about what a tremendous help they were in offering support and pointing me in the right direction.
Upon further exploration, I learned that as a result of the 1973 amendments to the federal Older Americans Act (OAA), there are similar services in all 50 states. States are required to divide their states into planning and service areas, and to designate Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) within those regions. Local services are focused on assisting the elderly and their caregivers at the local level. Each agency is required to offer:
- Legal Services
- Nutrition–both congregate and home-delivered
- In-Home Services–which might include homemaker, chore, personal care or respite
- Disease Prevention/Health Promotion
- Access–which includes transportation, information and assistance, advocacy, outreach, and case management at some AAAs
- Ombudsman/Elder Rights
- Tax Counseling
Although not required, AAAs may also provide any combination of the following services in accordance with the identified needs within their service area: friendly visiting, housing assistance, gatekeeper, health education, minor home repair, letter writing, recreation, etc.
For a complete list of local AAAs around the country click here.