The Missouri Association of Area Agencies on Aging (Ma4) earned the top innovation award July 9, 2024 at a national conference hosted by US Aging, the national association representing and supporting the network of over 640 Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs).

Ma4 is statewide association for Missouri’s 10 area agencies on aging.

The winning initiative is the Missouri Direct Adult Protective Services (MODAPS) Initiative – an innovative collaboration between Missouri’s 10 AAAs and Missouri’s Adult Protective Services (APS) that adds community-based supportive services to emergency interventions to improve the health, wellness and safety of eligible adults referred to the APS hotline for abuse or neglect.

Through this collaborative project, AAAs have expanded their reach to older adults and Missourians in crisis. The initiative transformed the referral process between emergency hotline calls and services provided and was life-saving to the clients who were assisted.

“As Missouri’s official senior advocate, I am proud of the work the Missouri Association of Area Agencies on Aging (Ma4) does for our state’s seniors,” said Lieutenant Governor Mike Kehoe. “The Missouri Direct Adult Protective Services (MODAPS) Initiative benefits seniors across the state, working to educate and support our state’s seniors on elder abuse prevention. I am pleased that both MODAPS and Ma4 have been recognized on a national stage, receiving first place at the USAging Aging Innovations and Achievement Awards Showcase.”

 Sandy Markwood, USAging CEO, is thrilled to recognize this year’s Aging Innovations & Achievement Awards recipients. “Their innovative programs and unwavering commitment to improving the lives of older adults set a high standard for excellence in our field,” she said.

The MODAPS initiative is being replicated across the country as the “Missouri model” in recognition of the pilot initiative’s positive outcomes.

“Our initial efforts resulted in a greater awareness of AAAs and shone a light on the incredible work they do, with limited resources,” said Julie Peetz, Ma4 executive director. “When they are asked to respond to an emergency, they do whatever it takes to get it done.”

Proven success and measurable impact:

• Increased safety: 94% of clients report increased safety in their living conditions.

• Enhanced independence: 92% report greater ability to remain independent at home.

• Improved connection: 89% report increased awareness and access to resources for independent living.

The pilot initiative was funded by state ARPA funds is coming to an end. The association is currently looking for a funding source to continue the program.

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For more information, contact Julie Peetz, Executive Director of Missouri Association of Area Agencies on Aging (Ma4) at 314-620-4585 or

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