Older Americans Act (OAA)

In 1965 the federal government enacted the Older Americans Act (OAA) with the goal of supporting older Americans to live at home and in the community with dignity and independence for as long as possible. A nationwide network of Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) was formally established through an OAA amendment in 1973.

AAAs coordinate and offer services that help older adults remain in their homes, if that is their preference, aided by services such as home-delivered meals, homemaker assistance, and whatever else it may take to make independent living a viable option. With a broad range of programs and services, AAAs make it possible for older individuals to “age in place” in their homes and communities.

Approximately 650 AAAs currently exist throughout the country.

Missouri Area Agencies on Aging (ma4)

Missouri established ten AAAs in 1973, each responsible for providing services within specific geographic boundaries. Eight of Missouri’s AAAs are mission-driven 501(c)3 non-for-profits, managed by an independent governing board of directors. Two Missouri AAAs, also mission-driven, have other forms of governance: Mid-America Regional Council (MARC), based in Kansas City, is part of a Council of Governments; and the St. Louis AAA is operated by the City of St. Louis.

ma4 is the statewide association of these ten AAAs. ma4 and the AAAs work closely with the Missouri Division of Senior & Disability Services (DSDS) as well as the federal Administration on Community Living (ACL).

Each of the AAAs in Missouri is unique to the community it serves. Each of the AAAs adapts and responds to the needs and demands of their communities to provide innovative services to support the health and independence of of aging adults.

Area Agency on Aging (AAA) Services

Area Agencies on Aging offer a wide range of programs and services to help older adults and adults with disabilities remain safe and healthy in the environments of our choice. Services include:

  • Home-Delivered Meals
  • Congregate Meals
  • Care Transition Services
  • Care Management
  • Disease Prevention & Health Promotion
  • Elder Rights Protection
  • Family Caregiver Support
  • Homemaker Services
  • Information & Referral Assistance
  • Insurance Counseling
  • Long-Term Care Ombudsman
  • Respite Care
  • Senior Community Centers
  • Senior Medical Patrol
  • Tax Counseling
  • Telephone Reassurance
  • Transportation

AAA Funding

Funds authorized through the Older Americans Act are distributed three times:

  • The federal Administration on Aging (AoA) allocates funds to each State Unit on Aging using an interstate funding formula. The Division of Senior & Disability Services (DSDS) is Missouri’s State Unit on Aging.
  • State Units on Aging then distribute the funds to the Area Agency on Aging divisions within their state, using an intrastate funding formula. These formulas are based on senior census, economic need, and other factors.
  • Area Agencies on Aging then distribute funding across their local programs and services, wherever gaps are identified.

In addition to federal OAA funds, Missouri’s AAAs receive additional funds from:

  • Missouri General Revenue
  • Social Service Block Grants
  • Missouri Medicaid
  • County/City Senior Citizens’ Services Funds
  • Customer Contributions
  • Private Contributions From Individuals, Businesses, and Foundations
  • Individual, Local, and Federal Grants

What’s Next?

Every day in the U.S., 10,000 people turn 65, and the number of older adults will more than double over the next several decades. With this rapidly growing population, we are experiencing an historic demographic shift.

For almost 50 years, ma4 and the Area Agencies on Aging have provided the support Missourians need to age in the they homes of their choice, fending off premature institutionalization. The overwhelming majority of aging adults want to remain in our own homes as we age, where our health outcomes are often better. With a nationwide shortage of caregivers, historically high inflation, and geographically distanced families, many of us will need an extra hand as we age to remain independent.

With your help, we plan on being here to make this possible and to help Missourians as we age to live our best possible lives!