Area Agencies on Aging
Creating An Aaa
The OAA gives the SUAs the authority to divide a state into planning and service areas. Since 1973, these areas have been synonymous with AAAs. In creating a planning service area and designating an AAA, the OAA mandates that the states must consider, ". . .the geographical distributions of older individuals in the state, the incidence of need for supportive services, nutrition services, multipurpose senior centers, and legal assistance, the distribution of older individuals who have the greatest economic need (with particular attention to low-income minority individuals) residing in such areas, the distribution of older individuals who are Indians residing in such areas, the distribution of resources available to provide such services or centers, the boundaries of existing areas within the state which were drawn for the planning or administration of supportive service programs, the location of units of general purpose local government within the state, and other relevant factors" (Older Americans Act, Section 3025).
At the national and regional level, the aging network includes:
- • The Administration on Aging and its ten regional offices, which are part of the Department of Health and Human Services
- • Fifty-seven state offices on aging at the state and territorial level
- • 655 Area Agencies on Aging
- • 230 Native American Title VI aging programs.
An integral part of every AAA is its advisory board. The purpose of the advisory board is to provide input into the development and implementation of the planning document for the AAA. This advisory board also functions as the eyes and ears of the community, ensuring constant feedback to the AAA on its initiatives.
An AAA can be either a public or a nonprofit agency designated by the SUA to address the needs and concerns of all older adults at a designated local level. If the AAA is a public agency, it is usually located within an umbrella organization, such as a county or city government or a regional planning council. The name Area Agency on Aging is a generic name; specific names may vary by location. Regardless of what name is utilized, every AAA must be listed in the yellow pages of phone books under the title Area Agency on Aging, thus ensuring that anyone in the country can easily access their local AAA.