We like to follow local, state and national and area agencies on aging. We find that the more we know about them, the more help we can find for our clients.
Today’s agency in the spotlight is the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging.
The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging’s primary mission is to build the capacity of our members so they can help older adults and people with disabilities live with dignity and choices in their homes and communities for as long as possible.
Area agencies on aging … their vision
Build a society that values and supports people as they age.
The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) is a 501(c)(3) membership association representing America’s national network of 622 Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) and providing a voice in the nation’s capital for the 256 Title VI Native American aging programs.
Whether it is helping Washington set priorities, building the capacity of our members, raising the visibility of AAAs and Title VI programs nationwide, offering training and educational events, or working to drive excellence in the fields of I&R/A, transportation, livable communities and volunteerism, n4a is dedicated to supporting the success of its members.
Today, an estimated 65.7 million Americans, or nearly 30 percent of the general population, provide care for an older adult, or someone living with illness or disability. Families are the major provider of long-term care for their older loved ones and these unpaid caregivers represent the largest source of long-term services and supports in the nation. Recent estimates indicate the value of unpaid caregiving has now reached $522 billion annually.
Research shows that nearly 90 percent of people age 65 and older want to age in place (i.e., stay in their homes and communities) for as long as possible. But to do so, many older adults rely on family or friend caregivers for support. The wide range of services provided by unpaid caregivers, such as transportation, food preparation, housekeeping and personal care enable older adults to live with dignity and independence. Most people who serve as caregivers do not self-identify as caregivers, however. Instead they consider the care they provide as “what you do for someone you care about or love.”
But serving as a caregiver may exact a heavy toll—emotionally, physically and financially—for the person assuming this role. The average age of a caregiver is 48, a time in many people’s lives when they are still raising a family and actively employed. Add the role of caregiver to the mix and many people feel unprepared and overwhelmed.
Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) around the nation provide direct support to caregivers, primarily through the National Family Caregiver Support Program (Title III E of the Older Americans Act), which was created in 2000. Services include respite care (temporary supervision of the care recipient to provide rest for the caregiver, which is the most requested service); individual counseling and support groups; caregiver education classes/training; and emergency assistance.
AAAs also play a crucial information and referral role, connecting families with local providers who can help them create a caregiving plan, address specific challenges, or identify support services.
Caregivers should contact their local AAA to learn more.