What is an Area Agency on Aging
There are 33 Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) in California, each receiving State and Federal funds through the California Department of Aging.
The Older American Act, which mandates and funds Area Agencies, was passed in 1965 to develop new or improve existing programs and oversee, coordinate, develop, and administer federal policies, programs and services. The ultimate goal is to help older persons maintain the best possible physical and mental health and live in the most independent setting possible.
AAA’s use funds to coordinate senior services either by directly providing the services or contracting with other agencies to do so. A1AA serves Del Norte and Humboldt Counties.
Although AAAs share a common role, the structures differ. Of the 33 AAAs in California, only 3 are private non-profits (like the A1AA), 22 are units of local government, 7 are Joint Powers, and 1 is part of an educational institution.
Each Area Agency on Aging must prepare a four year Area Plan and update it annually. The Plan outlines the needs identified in the PSA and the goals and objectives proposed to meet those needs.
Funding received through the Older Americans Act is specifically earmarked and there is little flexibility, especially in rural areas where the funding received doesn’t fully fund the services it mandates. Funds are distributed via a funding formula and the majority goes to counties with larger populations. A1AA’s funding is essentially the same now as it was 20+ years ago and much less in today’s dollars.
The federal funding and state match were never envisioned to pay 100% of the costs of local services. It was expected and anticipated that local government, businesses and members of the community would fill the gap. Over time, the percentage of funding needed locally has increased and made it difficult for the services to expand to meet the growing need. We are fortunate that Humboldt and Del Norte County residences are generous with their time and money to help seniors and caregivers and keep services in place.
A1AA from time to time develops new programs when a community need exists. These programs either remain with the agency or spin off to operate independently. Thanks to generosity of local and statewide grantors and committed volunteers, A1AA has been instrumental in the development of the Redwood Coast Village, the Senior Action Coalition, and the Volunteer Driver program, to name a few. We are currently developing a Homeshare program, matching people with extra space in their home with people who need to rent a room.
Older Americans Act Funding must be used specifically as designated by the Act’s Titles:
IIIB Supportive Services / Provider of Service
Senior Information and Assistance
Del Norte Senior Center, A1AA
Volunteer Driver Program
In home Services
Stay Put Chore Services
Senior Legal Services
Legal Services of Northern California
IIIB Long Term Care Ombudsman
Congregate and Home delivered Meals
Del Norte Senior Center, Humboldt Senior Resource Center
IIID Health Promotion
Staying Active and Independent for Life (SAIL) exercise program
IIIE Family Caregiver Support
Redwood Caregiver Resource Center
VIIA Elder Abuse Prevention
A1AA, LTC Ombudsman
A1AA provides assistance with Medicare through a contract with the Department of Aging for the state funded Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP) and federally funded Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA).
A1AA contracts with the Corporation for National Community Services to provide RSVP, which recruits and supports volunteers 55+ years of age to volunteer in Humboldt and Del Norte. A1AA also provides the Volunteer Center of the Redwoods (VCOR) thanks to community donations.
A1AA programs depend heavily on volunteers to provide services. You could make a huge difference in someone’s life by volunteering a few hours a week. Call 707.442.3763 or visit our web page for details about services. www.a1aa.org.
Written by Maggie Kraft, Executive Director