Minnesota’s Area Agencies
Throughout their history, Minnesota’s seven Area Agencies on Aging have been focal points for community support for positive aging. Area Agencies on Aging across the country are part of the aging network created by Congress in the Older Americans Act (OAA) of 1965. The legislation established federal grants to states for community planning and social services, research and development projects, and personnel training in the field of aging. The Minnesota Board on Aging is the recipient of these grants for Minnesota. The monies are distributed to communities through seven Area Agencies on Aging.
Older Americans Act
Although older individuals receive services under other Federal programs, the OAA is the major vehicle for organizing and delivering social and nutrition services to older adults and their caregivers. The OAA authorizes a wide array of programs administered through Area Agencies on Aging, including:
- Nutrition programs in the community and for individuals who are homebound
- Programs that serve native American elders
- Services targeted at low-income minority elders
- Health promotion and disease prevention activities
- In-home services for frail elders
- Services that protect the rights of older persons such as the long-term care ombudsman program
Senior LinkAge Line
In 1996, the Minnesota Board on Aging launched the Senior LinkAge Line® and established call centers in six of the seven Minnesota Area Agencies on Aging. The Senior LinkAge Line provides a one-stop telephone call for older adults, giving them access to information and assistance. Similar information is available online at MinnesotaHelp.info: Senior Link.
The 2000 reauthorized of the Older Americans Act added the National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP). NFCSP supports individuals caring for older adults and grandparents raising grandchildren. As a result, AAAs throughout Minnesota have strengthened and expanded services for caregivers.
In 2006, Congress reauthorized the act and provided resources to implement consumer-centered and cost-effective long-term care strategies. The act empowered the aging services network to implement these strategies through a three-pronged program encompassing person-centered access to information, evidence-based disease prevention and health promotion activities, and enhanced nursing home diversion services.
The Older Americans Act is again up for reauthorization. Although the reauthorization date was set for 2011, Congress has not yet acted to reauthorize the OAA.
For more on the evolution of federal programs for older adults, view the Historical Evolution of Programs for Older Americans on the federal Administration on Aging website.