The State’s Best Kept Secret: Your Area Agency on Aging

We all know about the senior discounts that some restaurants and stores offer to customers aged 60 and better. But did you know that your local government also has special perks for older adults? There are a wealth of untapped resources just waiting for you to avail yourself of them.

Each state government has a Department on Aging (DoA) that operates services and programs with the goal of helping older adults live independently in their own homes and communities. Each DoA also partners with a network of local Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) that offer even more specialized, local services. For people living near one of our Providence Life Services communities, these AAAs are:

(Don’t live in one of these counties? Check these websites to find your local Area Agency on Aging in Illinois, Indiana or Michigan.)

Each AAA offers a different selection of programs and services, so be sure to explore your agency’s website. Some programs are based on financial need, but others are open to everyone. Here are a few programs that many AAA’s provide – keep reading to find out what you’ve been missing out on:

Wellness Programs

Why pay for an expensive gym membership when there are free and reduced rate fitness programs available? Many AAAs sponsor Aerobics, Tai Chi, and Yoga classes, as well as nutrition education and diabetes management courses. Several offer a program called “A Matter of Balance,” an award winning, evidence-based program that teaches practical strategies to reduce the fear of falling and increase activity levels. Check out choices to get your heart pumping in DuPage, IL, Will, IL, Lake, IN, Ottawa, MI, and Kent, MI.

Farmers’ Markets

We all know that fruits and vegetables are an important part of a healthy daily diet. But for seniors living on fixed income, fresh produce may not be as easy to come by. That’s why the USDA, in partnership with state Departments on Aging, runs the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program. Income-eligible seniors can receive checks that can be redeemed for fresh fruits and vegetables at local farmers’ markets and roadside stands, making it easier to keep a balanced diet. Locate a Farmers’ Market program in IllinoisIndiana or Michigan.

Family Caregiver Support

If your family member provides the majority of your caregiving support – or if you’re a caregiver caring for an older loved one – you’re well aware of the rewards and challenges that come with the arrangement. Your local AAA is here to help ease some of the burden and help promote a healthy balance for both of you. There are workshops and support groups to offer training and advice. And some families can qualify for Respite services – temporary, short term caregivers to give family caregivers a brief period of rest and relief. See what services are available in DuPage, IL, Will, IL, Lake, IN, Ottawa, MI, and Kent, MI.

Information and Referral

Besides all of the programs listed above, there are numerous programs to help you live independently at home – from in-home help with chores and personal hygiene, to medication management and personal emergency response systems. But with so many resources available, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and not know where to start.

That’s when it’s time to get in touch with an options specialist or care coordinator with your AAA. They can help you understand what government-funded programs are available to you. Visit these links to get in touch with your referral counselor in DuPage, IL, Will, IL, Lake, IN, Ottawa, MI, and Kent, MI counties.

This short video, produced by the Ottawa County AAA, gives you an idea of what you can expect when you pick up the phone: