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$1.3 billion to improve the health and independence of America’s older adults

Grants of more than $1.3 billion to every state, the District of Columbia, and five territories to continue implementing programs that help older adults live healthy, safely and independently in their communities were awarded today by Kathy Greenlee, assistant secretary for aging in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The grants will help older adults avoid institutional care through home and community-based supportive programs with an emphasis on prevention and wellness, nutrition, family caregiver and respite services.

“These services complement ongoing prevention-based efforts in the medical and health care systems, particularly since Medicare does not pay for them. They help prevent hospital readmissions. They provide transportation to doctor's appointments and support some of life's most basic functions,” said Assistant Secretary Greenlee. “This assistance is especially critical for nearly 3 million seniors who receive intensive in-home services, half a million of whom would otherwise qualify for nursing home admission.”

These programs make a difference every day for millions of older adults and their caregivers:

  • Caregiver Services: The National Family Caregiver Support Program provides caregivers with access to services such as respite care and counseling. Families are the nation’s primary provider of long-term care, but caregiving responsibilities demand time and money from families who too often are already strapped for both. The physical, financial and emotional demands of caregiving can lead to a breakdown of the caregiver’s health. Research indicates caregivers suffer from higher rates of depression than non-caregivers and caregivers suffer a mortality rate that is 63 percent higher than non-caregivers. Nearly 800,000 caregivers are projected to receive services, helping them care for people with Alzheimer’s disease or those with frailties that would qualify for nursing home admissions.
  • Nutrition: Studies have found that 50 percent of all persons age 85 and over are in need of assistance with certain activities of daily living (ADL), including obtaining and preparing food. AoA projects its network of partners and organizations will deliver approximately 219 million meals in FY 2012. These meals help older adults improve their nutritional intake, provide an essential service for many of their caregivers, and also provide seniors an opportunity for social interaction.
  • Supportive Services for Helping Frail Seniors Remain at Home: Home and community-based long-term services and supports assist seniors living at home who are unable to perform critical activities of daily living, such as bathing, eating, or dressing unaided. Among the services these funds are projected to support include nearly 7.5 million hours of adult day care and 21 million rides to critical places like the doctor, pharmacy, or grocery stores.

Preventive Health Services: AoA is committing more than $20 million in FY 2012 to evidence-based programs focused on fitness, wellness, falls prevention, chronic-disease self management, and medication management.

These grant awards are annually awarded by formula for the states and territories based on their share of the population age 60 and older. Each state develops a comprehensive service plan before receiving federal funds. States and territories recognize the value of these programs, typically leveraging as much as $3 additional dollars for every federal dollar, contributing to the outcomes expected from these awards.

Of the 57.8 million seniors 60 and older living in the United States, 5.5 million are living in poverty and more than 27 percent have difficulty in performing at least one activity of daily living. These services contribute significantly to helping those seniors with frailties, many of who are economically vulnerable, to remain in their own homes and avoid or delay entry into nursing homes.


For more information about the Administration on Aging’s programs, please see: