Agencies on aging are federal, state or local agencies that focus on the legal, health care, and planning needs of older adults, families, and caretakers. Most agencies on aging are funded according to the Older Americans Act and provide a wide range of services in the areas of home care assistance, retirement planning, legal and financial help, social services, counseling, education training, advocacy, and abuse prevention. If you or a loved one needs help with an age-related matter -- such as health care, social security, or Medicare -- there are both national and state agencies that may provide helpful assistance.
Check with the individual agencies listed below for more information:
- Alzheimer's Association - A network of more than 280 chapters nationwide, the Alzheimer's Association provides support groups for caregivers of loved ones with Alzheimer's, connects caregivers to resources to increase patient care, and funds research efforts toward a cure for Alzheimer's.
- American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) - Probably the best known senior advocacy group, AARP provides members with publications on all topics related to senior issues and advocates for legislation to improve seniors' lives.
- National Council on Aging - The National Council on Aging is a nonprofit advocacy group working to help older individuals be financially independent and improve their health.
- Children of Aging Parents - A branch of the Family Service Association, Children of Aging Parents offers support groups for adult children who act as caregivers to their parents.
- National Institute on Aging - The National Institute on Aging is the federal government's agency providing research and policy proposals to serve elderly Americans.
- America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) - A trade association for insurance providers, AHIP provides information on the types of health insurance plans available to Americans young and old, as well as discusses laws affecting health insurance coverage and eligibility requirements.
- National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys - This organization founded by attorneys focusing in legal issues specifically affecting elderly individuals provides an attorney directory, information about recent legislation, and updates on recent court cases affecting older Americans.
- American Society on Aging (ASA) - The ASA works to educate seniors about the legal, healthcare, and social issues they may face as they age. The ASA also has an expanded network of branches focusing on specific groups within the senior citizen community, such as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) seniors and seniors of specific cultural or ethnic backgrounds.
- Medicare - Medicare is a government-funded health insurance program for seniors and other eligible individuals. In addition to providing resources online, Medicare also offers a hotline for individuals to obtain information at 1-800-MEDICARE.
- Social Security Office - The Social Security Administration provides benefits to seniors upon reaching a certain age and can connect individuals to other services, such as healthcare and disability benefits.
- National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) - This nonprofit organization provides education and support for home care and hospice providers.
- National Association of Area Agencies on Aging - Established by the Older Americans Act, the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging is a national organization aiding local and community-based agencies in delivering eldercare services to seniors. The organization also provides an eldercare locator to help seniors find the services and support they need.
- Caregiver Action Network - This national organization provides support and advocacy for family caregivers, whether adult children caring for their aging parents or seniors caring for their spouses after suffering a debilitating injury or illness.
If you have an elder law concern or other legal concerns about your loved one, start by talking with an attorney. Many offer a free consultation to understand your situation.