Under Title III, State and Community Programs, the Administration on Aging (AoA) works closely with its nationwide network on aging composed of regional offices, state units on aging and area agencies on aging to plan, coordinate and develop community-level systems of services meeting the unique needs of older persons and their caregivers.
Title III supports services designed to assist older persons at risk of losing their independence and active older persons. Through Title III, AoA advocates for the needs of the elderly in program planning and policy development, provides technical assistance, issues best practices guidelines and initiates policy relative to funding the 57 state units on aging and territories to provide services to older Americans.
AoA awards funds for Title III to the 57 state agencies on aging which are located in every state and territory. Program funding is allocated to each state based on the number of older persons in the state, to plan, develop and coordinate systems of supportive in-home and community-based services.
In general, funds provided to state units on aging are used to administer and provide for supportive and nutrition services authorized under Parts B, C, D, and F of Title III. As advocates, state and area agencies on aging also use OAA funds to leverage state and local resources to expand and improve services. These services make a vital difference in the lives of older persons who are trying to remain self-sufficient and to live in their homes and communities.
All individuals age 60 and over are eligible for services, although the Act directs priority to serving those with the greatest economic and social need, with particular attention to low-income minority older persons. There are no mandatory fees for services. Older persons, however, are encouraged to make contributions to help defray the costs of services. Under current law, these contributions are used to expand services. In addition, volunteer support is an integral component of the service system.
This funding is used to provide home and community based care. Most supportive services fall under three broad categories:
Supportive services are designed to maximize the informal support provided by caregivers and to enhance the capacity of older persons to remain self-sufficient.
Nutrition services are provided under Title III-C of the Older Americans Act. The title contains two parts, congregate nutrition services (C-1) and home-delivered nutrition services (C-2). The services provided under these two parts are similar, but are targeted to different populations of older people.
Although meals are the primary service provided in the group meals program, ancillary services include nutrition screening, education, counseling and outreach. Congregate meals must comply with the dietary guidelines for Americans and provide at least 33 percent of the recommended dietary allowances (RDA) in each meal served. Service providers are encouraged to expand meal service to more than one meal per day and more than five days a week to those persons with increased needs. Whenever possible and appropriate, meals must meet the special health, religious and ethnic requirements of participants.
There is substantial private sector, state and local financial as well as volunteer support for the meals program. While older participants are not charged a fee, they are encouraged to contribute through volunteering and financial donations to help defray the cost of services.
The main objective of in-home services to the frail elderly is to direct resources to those older Americans most at risk of losing their self-sufficiency. Services include:
The 1992 amendments to the Older Americans Act added Part F to Title III entitled "Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Services." Title III-F funds are used to leverage other resources to increase public understanding of how healthy lifestyle choices throughout life reduce the risk of chronic health conditions in later years.