The Administration on Aging (AOA) is the principal agency of the U.S Department of Health and Human Services designated to carry out the provisions of the Older Americans Act of 1965 (OAA), as amended (42 U.S.C.A. § 3001 et seq.). The OAA promotes the well-being of older individuals by providing services and programs designed to help them live independently in their homes and communities. The Act also empowers the federal government to distribute funds to the states for supportive services for individuals over the age of 60.
Office of Supportive and Caregiver Services
For over 35 years, the AoA has provided home and community-based services to millions of older persons through the programs funded under the OAA. Services provided using AoA funds include, but are not limited to transportation, adult day care, caregiver supports and health promotion programs.
Office of Nutrition and Health Promotion Programs
In 1972, AoA’s nutrition services program, allowing for support of meals and nutrition services in congregate settings, was established. In 1978 the program was expanded to include in home-delivered meal and services. In addition to its nutrition programs, Title IIID of the OAA allows AoA to support states in their health promotion, disease prevention, wellness and behavioral health improvement efforts.
Office of Elder Rights Protection
In 1992, the OAA was amended to include Title VII "Vulnerable Elder Rights Activities" which creates programs that address elder rights; elder abuse, neglect and exploitation; and legal assistance development. AoA protects the rights of older adults by providing federal leadership in strengthening elder justice strategic planning and direction for programs, activities, and research related to elder abuse awareness, prevention, and response. These programs train law enforcement officers, health care providers, and other professionals on how to recognize and respond to elder abuse; supports outreach and education campaigns to increase public awareness of elder abuse and how to prevent it; and supports the efforts of state and local elder abuse prevention coalitions and multidisciplinary teams. In addition, legal assistance development provided under Title VII, and other elder rights programs under Title IV and II serve to maximize the independence, autonomy and well-being of older persons.
Office for American Indian, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiian Programs
In 1978, the OAA was amended to include Title VI which established programs for the provision of nutrition and supportive services for Native Americans (American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians) the program has since expanded to include caregiver support services. Eligible Tribal organizations receive grants in support of the delivery of home and community- based supportive services for their elders, including nutrition services and support for family and informal caregivers.
Office of Long-term Care Ombudsman Programs
The AoA Long Term Care Ombudsman Program began, as a demonstration program, in 1972. With funding from Titles II and VII of the OAA and other resources, Ombudsman programs operate in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam. Each state has an Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman, headed by a full-time state ombudsman. As part of statewide ombudsman programs, thousands of local ombudsman staff and volunteers, assist residents and their families by providing a voice for those unable to speak for themselves.
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Older Americans Act and Aging Network
To meet the diverse needs of the growing numbers of older persons in the United States President Lyndon Johnson on July 14, 1965, signed into law the Older Americans Act (OAA). The OAA set out specific objectives for maintaining the dignity and welfare of older individuals and created the primary vehicle for organizing, coordinating and providing community-based services and opportunities for older Americans and their families. An unofficial compilation of the OAA, as amended in 2006, is available below along with historical and current information about the OAA, and a link to National Aging Network information (State Units on Aging and Area Agencies on Aging).
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