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Area Agencies on Aging

Area Agencies on Aging connect older adults and those with disabilities with local resources.

Barbara Field Barbara Field Senior Writer and Contributor is supported by commissions from providers listed on our site. Read our Editorial Guidelines

The Area Agencies on Aging, affiliated with the Administration for Community Living (ACL) and considered an “Eldercare Locator,” is a good resource for older adults. It offers seniors valuable information about resources on regional, state, and local levels to help seniors age in place and remain in their homes. In this guide, we’ll cover what Area Agencies on Aging are, the services they provide, and where to find one in your area.


FYI: You can find many resources for seniors online and in your local area. Some of those might include well-respected national nonprofits, such as AARP. Others are regional organizations that focus on resources at the state level.

What Is an Area Agency on Aging?

The Area Agencies on Aging is a conglomerate of organizations that are connected across the United States. USAging is the national association representing and supporting the network of Area Agencies on Aging. Network members help older adults and people with disabilities throughout the U.S. live with optimal health, well-being, independence, and dignity in their homes and communities. The Area Agencies on Aging also advocate through legislation about best policies to support seniors.

If you’re wondering how an Area Agency on Aging can benefit you directly, here’s how. They help provide access to resources for the senior population in localities. In short, they are a gateway organization that helps seniors at the local level. There are 600 Area Agencies on Aging across the country serving seniors and adults with disabilities. Florida alone has 11 regional Area Agencies on Aging.1

To help define the “local level,” an Area Agency on Aging works within an assigned geographic location. Those locations can be a region which consists of several states, a single state, or a geographic area within a state. Most are assigned an area that covers several counties within a state. This allows an Area Agency on Aging to get to know the local senior population very well. It also helps administration and staff focus on finding resources that address the unique needs of that population.

Pro Tip:

Pro Tip: If you’re dealing with dementia or Alzheimer’s or you’re a caregiver for someone diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s, you’re not alone. Almost 7 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s, and over 11 million caregivers provide unpaid care for them and or people withdementia.2USAging also helps lead the way for seniors with cognitive challenges. Working in collaboration with 35 national organizations, they co-chair and administer the Dementia Friendly America initiative.

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What Services Do Area Agencies on Aging Provide?

The Area Agencies on Aging provide information about services that address the needs of a senior or a senior’s family member. Each agency provides a list of companies offering senior-focused services within their geographic area. This includes companies providing transportation, diet and nutritional services, legal and insurance resources, and more.

It’s important to note that the Area Agencies on Aging don’t provide care or resources directly; they direct seniors to organizations that do provide them. Here is a closer look at the referral services that the Area Agencies on Aging offer:

  • Information and Referral (I&R) programs: These programs help older adults, people with disabilities, and caregivers connect to services in their local communities. People you reach will be trained to empower you and advocate for you if necessary. They also provide individualized help about accessing services and offer follow up.
  • Transportation: If you need transportation, the Area Agencies on Aging can refer you to previously vetted companies within your local area. This service also will include information about transportation services for seniors in wheelchairs, scooters, and other adaptive devices.
  • Care and personal care: If you are a senior who needs personal care or at-home care, the Area Agencies on Aging can suggest local companies that offer care services and help you find one that matches your needs. Care services range from house cleaning and yard work to bathing, cooking, and nursing care.
  • Care training: The Area Agencies on Aging can also refer family members to companies that provide personal care training.
  • Respite care: One of the most commonly needed services is respite care for caregivers. Respite care provides temporary care for a senior. This allows the everyday caregiver, usually a family member, to catch their breath and manage their own personal needs.
  • Nutritional services: Seniors can find nutritional help through their Area Agencies on Aging. Services include meal preparation, food delivery, and nutritional advice. Older adults and their families can learn where to find registered dietitians for nutritional information and companies like Meals on Wheels that provide ready-to-eat and healthy meals to seniors.
  • Legal services: The Area Agencies on Aging also offers resources on free and reduced-rate legal services for seniors and family members. They offer easy access to an Ombudsman service for seniors who are in long-term care facilities, working with a home care agency or are under the care of a hospice.
  • Insurance: Through your local Area Agencies on Aging, seniors can discover who their trusty local insurance professionals are. With this service, seniors and their families can choose the best type of insurance to fit their needs and budget.

Along with these services, USAging runs an awards program called the AIA (Aging Innovations & Achievement), which recognizes successful and innovative programs for older adults within their network. A recent winner of the AIA awards program was the Central Massachusetts Older Adults Hydroponic Program. Hydroponic gardening can be done in small spaces and indoors. This effective, no-cost program between farms and senior centers had numerous benefits for seniors who had access to it. The program donated to local food banks, improved older adults’ access to fresh foods, taught them about gardening and nutrition, and expanded their social connections, which can alleviate loneliness. (When an elderly person feels lonely, they’re more vulnerable to negative health consequences.)

Pro Tip:

Pro Tip: For nonmedical care, which includes assistance mainly with everyday activities like showering and meal preparations, see our comprehensive 2024 guide to custodial care. Learn more here about custodial care, its current costs, and ways to pay for it.

Speak With a Senior Living Consultant is supported by commissions from providers listed on our site. Read our Editorial Guidelines

Where Can I Find an Area Agency on Aging Near Me?

A good place to start is the Area Agencies on Aging Eldercare Locator. There, you will find a simple search tool that allows you to find your local Area Agency on Aging by your city, state, or ZIP code.

The Area Agency on Aging website’s benefits goes beyond just finding the contact information for local guidance on local agencies. Many of the companies on their list have been screened to ensure they’re properly licensed, reliable, and operating legally.

For more information, go to the parent USAging site. Click the Resources tab and find publications, consumer brochures, diversity resources, and more. In addition, under the Learning tab, you’ll find webinars and a podcast.

You can also check with your local senior center. The closest senior center may have valuable resources and recommendations in your immediate neighborhood.

Pro Tip:

Pro Tip: Check out our list of the best websites for seniors and find valuable websites and resources for older adults on a range of topics.

  1. Area Agency on Aging. (2024). Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida.

  2. Alzheimer's Association. (2024). Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures.

Written By:
Barbara Field
Senior Writer and Contributor
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Barbara has worked on staff for stellar organizations like CBS, Harcourt Brace and UC San Diego. She freelanced for Microsoft, health, health tech and other clients. She worked in her early 20s at a senior center and later became a… Learn More About Barbara Field