Attention Baby Boomers!: An Introduction to the Administration on Aging
America is well known for its long list of resources available for aging people and their families, especially if personal income and support is not quite enough. The Administration on Aging collects federal funds and distributes money to these resources at every level, from outreach programs in your town to national events and state organizations. Because the Administration on Aging has experience at so many levels of government, it is the perfect place to start looking for help or answers.
A Little History
The Administration on Aging (AoA) started back in 1965, the culmination of years of social progress on behalf of the federal government. President Truman held the first National Conference on Aging, and before long federal funds were devoted to research and programs. After several councils and conferences, variously focused on the social issues of aging Americans, Congress finally passed legislation to create a permanent administration to help meet the needs of the elderly. The AoA was part of several key pieces of legislation passed in the late 1960s, including Medicaid and the Age Discrimination Act.
The AoA is part of a larger coalition called the National Network on Aging, created between all levels of government to help out 7 million senior citizens and the caregivers they depend on. The AoA and the Network strive to help elderly citizens who may not otherwise receive proper care, or who are in danger of being subject to abuse, discrimination, or health problems due to poverty. While the Administration specializes in nutrition, day-to-day support, physical health, and advocacy for the aging, all its services ultimately seek to improve the lifestyles of the elderly who struggle to take care of themselves.
The primary function of the AoA website is to connect seniors and family members with the many programs the organization supports. The list the AoA provides is a great place for caregivers or concerned family members to get started. Each heading covers a different subject. For example, Home & Community Based Long-Term Care provides sections on Nutrition and Community Living Grants. You can click on these sections to discover the latest legislation on this subject and how the program works. At the bottom of each Program webpage is a list of links to help you find representatives in your state for further information.
Other categories include Health, Prevention and Wellness Programs, Elder Right Protection, and Tools/Resources for Professionals. The AoA has a service network covering millions of elderly citizens, so there are a lot of programs to dig through. Carefully read through the list to find which section represents your needs most clearly.
For those with a more technical or detail-oriented interest, the site includes a Program Results section so you can study the success of various AoA programs. Because it is a federal organization, the AoA strives to track the progress of all its programs to prove their usefulness, which then allows them to receive additional funding.
Helpful Links and Tools
Located primarily in the Elders and Families section, the AoA provides a series of tools to help the elderly and their caregivers directly benefit from the programs available. There is the Eldercare Locator, which helps older adults find services in their local community. If you look to the right of the Locator, you can find an Online Chat function to get immediate advice, along with the invaluable Caregiver’s Corner, filled with tips and additional resources.
The AoA also provides a link to a Benefits Check Tool, so you can search for benefits programs and apply for extra support and aid through AoA programs. This service will be most useful for elderly citizens who have a very low income and cannot afford the services or products they need.
Statistics and Information
This side of the site focuses more on research and facts to help support its mission and answer questions. There is a Profile of Older Americans, for example, showing all demographic information concerning elderly citizens including education, income, marital status, and future growth numbers. The AoA also includes a link to an external database that lets you search for more specific census information. You may be interested in the section on Aging Minorities, or on the publication devoted to Key Indicators of Well-Being for Older Americans.
The Latest News
The Press Room section of the website collects a list of news stories and articles about the administration. Some articles announced webinars or nationwide events for senior citizen advocacy, while others keep readers updated on important legislation and new programs. The AoA also has a E-cards that you can send to aging family members or friends and widgets you can download to provide weekly health tips, updates on the statistic profile of elderly Americans, or the latest news stories. Photos, videos, speeches, and calendars for upcoming events are also included.
The AoA receives funds from the federal government, then transfers them to programs through the Aging Network at the city, state, and tribal levels. Funds are transferred based on grants. Organizations and outreach efforts that seek these grants can visit this portion of the website. The AoA provides links for funding opportunities, application forms, terms and conditions, and other necessary information.