Sometimes an older person needs help from others. Often, this help can be provided by a network of family, friends, and neighbors. However, a senior who is unable to meet particular needs through a seemingly typical network must increasingly draw upon support from the larger community. The outside support might include a hot meal enjoyed with friends in a senior center dining room, a ride to the doctor, or in difference cases, meals delivered to the home, as well as the regular visits of a homemaker aide.
Across the United States there are 655 Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs). When seniors need help within the communities, the AAA are the first call. They encourage, coordinate, and deliver community-based services that link local, public, private, voluntary, and corporate resources. In Missouri, there are 10 AAAs, each serving a different region of the state. The Ozarks is served by Region 1 which includes 17 counties in Southwest Missouri.
The goal set for AAAs by the Older Americans Act is clear: develop comprehensive, coordinated services designed to encourage the optimal health and independence of older adults. Because the range of capabilities among older persons is wide, this is a complex challenge. At one extreme, a senior may be in excellent health without any challenges to independence. At the other extreme, a senior may be very frail and require constant care. In between these two extremes are diverse economic, social, and medical conditions. Learn more at the Southwest Missouri Office on Aging website.