Area Agency on Aging

The Area Agency on Aging ( AAA) works on behalf of older adults and their caregivers in the seven southwestern counties of North Carolina. The Southwestern Commission Area Agency on Aging was established in 1980 as mandated by the 1977 Amendments of the Older Americans Act in order for a Planning and Service Area (PSA) to receive funds from the Act. The AAA prepares a four year work plan, the latest covering the period July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2020. The AAA assists counties as they study the needs of older adults and plan to meet those needs. The goal of all these plans is to enable older adults to live independently in their own homes for as long as possible.

DIRECT SERVICES

THE FAMILY CAREGIVER SUPPORT PROGRAM

The goal of the Family Caregiver Support Program (FCSP) is to provide caregivers with the needed support to reduce depression, anxiety, and stress and enable them to provide care longer, thereby avoiding or delaying the need for costly institutional care.  Among the services that FCSP offers are information, referrals and help accessing available services, as well as confidential caregiver counseling, support groups and training.  We also provide reimbursement-based vouchers for respite care and supplemental services (subject to available funds).  If you are a family caregiver (or know of a family caregiver), who could benefit from a confidential consultation regarding these services, please contact the Family Caregiver Resource Coordinator, Cindy Miles at 828.586.1962, ext.218 or by email at cindy@regiona.org.

THE LONG TERM CARE OMBUDSMAN PROGRAM

The Regional Long Term Care Ombudsman works closely with the Boards of Commissioners from each of the counties in the region in the development of Community Advisory Committees for Long Term Care.  These committees consist of volunteers, appointed by the Boards of Commissioners, to serve as a link between the local communities and the long term health care facilities in each county.  The members of the committees receive specialized training that enables them to understand the issues that surround placement in long term health care facilities, the living conditions of the facilities as they regularly visit them, and to serve as resources for those in the communities seeking information about long term health care.  In addition, these committees work closely with the Regional Long Term Care Ombudsman as advocates for the residents of the facilities, seeking to ensure that the rights of the residents are honored, and that they protected from abuse, neglect, and exploitation.  Through the efforts of the Regional Long Term Care Ombudsman and the Community Advisory Committees for Long Term Care, many grievances and complaints concerning the lives of the residents of the facilities can be resolved on a local level, with the overall goal of improving the quality of life for the residents as the primary objective.

SENIOR MEDICARE PATROL PROGRAM

The Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) is a preventive educational program whose goal is to reduce Medicare error, fraud and abuse.  Part of a nationwide, grassroots education and assistance program, SMP works to empower seniors and caregivers to protect personal information and Medicare benefits.  By providing education to Medicare beneficiaries and caregivers, SMP equips them to understand their Benefits Summary Notices and ensure they are accurately billed for the services and equipment they receive.  In this way, beneficiaries and caregivers are better prepared to identify and resolve claim errors and report potential fraud and abuse.  

THE LEGAL PROGRAM

The Legal Program provides vouchers to eligible seniors age 60 and over, which are valid for the preparation of either a durable Power of Attorney or a simple Last Will & Testament. The AAA contracts with an attorney in each county of our region, who will accept the vouchers.  To download the simple, one-page application, click the link below (Application for the Legal Program Voucher).  In addition, the Legal Program makes available Advance Directives (Living Will) and Health Care Power of Attorney (Health Care Surrogate) forms at no charge.  Use the links below to download the Advance Directives and/or Health Care Power of Attorney forms.  For more information regarding the Legal Program, please contact the Aging Programs Assistant, Mandy Thomas, at 828-586-1962, ext. 221 or mandy@regiona.org.

Download Legal Program forms:
Application for the Legal Program Voucher
Health Care Power of Attorney Form
Advance Directives (Living Will) Form

THE HEALTH PROMOTION PROGRAM

Chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, or cancer are, unfortunately, often a part of the aging process and can create challenges that affect every aspect of a person’s life.  Ninety-two percent of people over age 65 live with at least one chronic health condition; seventy-seven percent live with two or more such conditions. However, learning to manage those conditions enables people to stay healthy, active, and engaged in their communities. The Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Programs provide adults with evidence-based techniques and strategies to delay and/or manage chronic health conditions and include activities that promote:  improved nutrition, emotional and social well-being, physical fitness and fall prevention to help older adults and their caregivers better manage their health. 

*For more information about any of the services listed contact the Region A Area Agency on Aging at 828.586.1962

CONTRACTED SERVICES

By law the AAA contracts out most of the actual operation of the services to Human Service Agencies in the area. The major portion of the services provided to meet the goal of keeping seniors independent and in their own homes are funded through the Home and Community Care Block Grant (HCCBG). This Block Grant consists of approximately 60% Federal Older Americans Act Funds and 40% State appropriated funds. Below is a list of services provided through contracts with the Area Agency on Aging with the contact information: