Older Americans Act

The Older Americans Act (OAA) was passed in 1965 as part of President Johnson’s “Great Society” initiative with the goal of supporting older Americans to live at home and in the community with dignity and independence for as long as possible.

For five decades, the OAA has been the foundation upon which the federal, state and local organizational infrastructure has developed, planned and delivered home and community-based services and supports to older adults and their caregivers. This infrastructure is defined in the Act as a national Aging Network that currently includes 56 state and territorial units on aging, more than 600 Area Agencies on Aging, upwards of 250 Title VI Native American aging programs, and the nearly 20,000 community service providers.

The Older Americans Act currently supports a wide array of programs and services, including information and referral, congregate and home-delivered meals, health and wellness programs, in-home care, transportation, elder abuse prevention, caregiver support and adult day care.

Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) were added to the Act in 1973 to be the “on-the-ground’ organizations charged with helping vulnerable older adults live with independence and dignity in their homes and communities. The OAA mandates that AAAs use the flexibility provided in the law to ensure that local needs and preferences are taken into consideration and that the resulting local service delivery system is tailored to the community.

Today, AAAs coordinate a complex local service delivery system that serves millions of older adults and caregivers in every community in the country, providing access to critical home and community-based services. To connect to your local AAA, call 800.677.1116 or look it up online.

Learn more about AAAs’ OAA and other roles in communities nationwide.