The Older Americans Act (OAA) charges Area Agencies on Aging with advocating on behalf of people 60 and older.
Metropolitan Area Agency on Aging’s board of directors and provider network bring local perspectives about issues that affect older adults’ ability to maintain independence at home. We gather information about unmet needs through our care transition and information and assistance services and through periodic formal processes. Our leadership team stays abreast of state and federal policy issues through participation in the Minnesota Leadership Council on Aging, Minnesota Association of Area Agencies on Aging and National Associations of Area Agencies on Aging.
Champion for aging well
We work to promote the health, security and well-being of seniors and family caregivers. MAAA engages in advocacy activities to inform elected officials about the needs of older adults and family caregivers. We respond to requests for technical consultation and information. Through e-mail alerts and events, we communicate key information about policy issues to the local aging network and advocacy community.
Helping older adults live at home
The OAA provides essential services that prevent illness and injury and that support older adults at home. These non-medical, health-related services are critical to meet basic needs for nutrition, in-home assistance, community mobility and caregiver support. Services must be targeted to low-income minority persons and others with greatest economic and social need. Older adults make significant financial contributions to help cover the cost of services that they receive.
We believe Congress must reauthorize and modernize the OAA—the foundational infrastructure for our nation’s system of long-term services and supports. The OAA came up for reauthorization in 2011 and has languished ever since, limiting response to a growing older population.
Supporting family caregivers
Family members provide the greatest share of care for older adults who need help to live at home, thereby preventing more costly institutional care. Caregiving can be difficult and stressful. Providing care and support to someone with dementia or mental illness can be overwhelming. The National Family Caregiver Support Program of the OAA offers a range of supports to family caregivers, including information about services for their loved ones, coaching/counseling, respite, training and support groups. These services are in high demand and have limited federal resources.
We believe additional efforts are needed to support families during times of acute health transitions and to better meet the needs of working caregivers who struggle to accomplish all of their responsibilities.
Promoting community living and mobility
Communities across the Twin Cities metro are aging at unprecedented rates, which will affect the social, physical and economic fabric of our cities and counties. Older adults want to age in their current homes and communities. Although individuals can and should maximize their independence as they age, public policy makers and community leaders make critical decisions about issues such as transportation systems, housing development, public safety, education and recreation.
We believe leadership at the federal, state and local level is needed to ensure that public and private systems and infrastructure support all community members regardless of age or ability.