There is good news and bad news about organizations for seniors and aging. The good news is that there seems to be an endless supply of established and newer organizations. The bad news is that the limitless choices can be overwhelming and confusing.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- National Organizations for Seniors or Aging Adults
- Types of State-Wide or Local Organizations for Aging Adults
This is not to say that smaller, less recognizable organizations don’t have value. Many of them do, and you can explore all of the sites you want and decide for yourself what has value. For our purposes, we will focus on well-known and respected organizations for seniors and aging adults. Some of these organizations are advocacy groups, and others do both advocacy, information, and referral.
The issues that affect and are of interest to aging adults are as varied as the individuals themselves. You may be interested in Alzheimer’s care, Medicare, or how to be a better caregiver. One advantage of the organizations we will cover is that you can rely on the quality of information that they provide.
National Organizations for Seniors or Aging Adults
National organizations for seniors or aging adults often have local offices as well. However, the local affiliates may not have the breadth of information that you require. For example, AARP has a regional office in every state where they focus on individual state issues. The same holds true for the Alzheimer’s Association.
Let’s look at some of the more prominent national organizations, specifically what they do and how they can help.
AARP is the largest and most influential advocacy group for its 38 million members over 50. The wealth of information they offer is likely not surpassed by any other organization. Many people think of AARP as an organization that offers numerous discounts and other benefits to its members. But they are so much more.
AARP’s website is comprehensive in its up-to-date information on everything from caregiving to Medicare, social security, exercise, health and wellness, and much more. The AARP caregiving page alone has over 100 topics for family caregivers. AARP also offers local tax aid and driver safety classes.
One aspect of AARP that you may not be aware of is its research and reporting on aging issues. AARP partners with the National Alliance for Caregiving every year to produce the most comprehensive report on caregiving available in the U.S. Also, the AARP Foundation is dedicated to assisting low-income seniors across the country. An AARP membership is $16 a year.
2. National Alliance for Caregiving
The National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) “conducts research, does policy analysis, develops national best-practice programs, and works to increase public awareness of family caregiving issues.”
Since NAC is an advocacy organization they refer to reliable caregiving sites and offer caregiving guides for download.
Is there anyone who isn’t confused from time to time by Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans? The best place to go to get the most reliable information on Medicare is the government site, Medicare.gov.
However, keep in mind that private insurance companies run Medicare Advantage plans, so you must contact your insurance company to get coverage information. The Medicare site will give you the basics of Medicare coverage and provide up-to-date changes in coverage.
4. Alzheimer’s Association
Considering that about 6.2 million people have Alzheimer’s disease, the Alzheimer’s Association is the trusted resource for this disease and other types of dementia. The national organization is the gateway to local support groups and fundraising to support research.
The website has information related to the stages of Alzheimer’s disease and expected caregiving tasks. Fundraising walks throughout the country are an opportunity for families to connect and support one another about this devastating disease.
5. Administration on Aging
The Administration on Aging is a service of the US Department of Health and Human Services. This organization is the best place to access all of the federal programs available to seniors. T
The organizations included in the resource list are nutrition and health, adult protective services, elder justice, long-term care ombudsman, older Americans act, and office for American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiian programs.
6. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is included in our list because it is the government site for all information related to these two critical government resources. Medicaid, in particular, is enormously complicated because each state has different qualification criteria.
Medicaid is the primary payor source for nursing home care, and many states have caregiver support programs covered by Medicaid.
Download your free end-of-life plan.
Enter your email below to get your free checklist in your inbox.
7. Road Scholar
Road Scholar is a non-profit organization that focuses on in-person and virtual experiential learning activities.
The breadth and range of opportunities are vast, with international trips or those closer to home. The program philosophy embraces older adults’ desire and need to learn new things and meet new people. Due to COVID restrictions, they now have a robust offering of virtual travel and learning opportunities.
8. National Council on Aging
The National Council on Aging (NCO) has a mission to improve the lives of older adults, with an emphasis on those that are struggling or disenfranchised.
NCO is an advocacy organization, but they also provide resources and tools for benefits planning focusing on financial security and healthy aging.
You most likely have never heard of ProPublica. With social media being the primary source of most people’s news, ProPublica stands out in this day and age.
They are a non-profit independent newsroom that does investigative journalism. And why does this matter to aging adults? They cover Medicare and other issues of interest to seniors. Check out their comprehensive nursing home inspection report.
Types of State-Wide or Local Organizations for Aging Adults
Statewide and local organizations for aging adults are usually offices that administer national programs for statewide seniors. The local offices are the gateway to regional services and resources for aging adults. If you are in a larger metropolitan area, you will likely have greater access to many of the organizations for aging adults.
10. Area Agencies on Aging
Your local Area Agency on Aging (AAA) administers programs such as meals on wheels, senior centers, volunteer programs, senior transportation, foster grandparent, and caregiver support programs.
Each state may have several offices to serve most counties. The best way to find an area agency on aging in your location is through Eldercare Locator. AAA also makes excellent referrals to other profit and non-profit services for aging adults.
11. Adult Protective Services
Adult Protective Services (APS) has offices in every state in the U.S. The purpose of APS is to investigate allegations of abuse, neglect, or exploitation of an older adult. Every state varies in its reporting requirements and budget for investigations.
You can find the APS office in your state here. Reporting to APS is confidential, and some states require anyone who suspects abuse, neglect, or exploitation to make a report.
12. Ombudsman Program
The Ombudsman investigates resident complaints in these communities. If you are looking for a nursing home or assisted living facility, the ombudsman program can tell you about complaints they receive for any specific location.
13. Legal Aid
Not everyone can afford an attorney to assist with legal problems, set up a will, or plan advance directives.
Legal Services Corporation is a non-profit legal services organization established by Congress in 1974 to provide legal services to low-income Americans. Legal aid is not just for seniors, but many aging adults who need assistance and have low income can access their services.
Loneliness in seniors has received a lot of attention over the years and never more so than during the time when there were strict limitations due to COVID. With Meetup, you can join or start a group in person or virtually.
The possibilities are endless with just about every interest you can imagine. Some groups are gender or age-specific. The types of activities range from discussion groups to hiking trips. Some Meet-Up groups have thousands of members, and others just a few.
15. Adult day care
Not every community will have adult day care available, but they provide a valuable service to aging adults and their families. In-home care for loved ones that have dementia or require close supervision can be very costly and time-consuming. Adult daycare centers will vary in programming, size, and availability.
Many adult day care centers have activities, health screenings, and meals. The idea behind adult day care centers is that families deserve an alternative to costly assisted living and home care. Pricing varies according to location and services but is usually far less than paid caregivers.
16. Senior placement organizations
Senior placement companies can be a valuable asset when looking for senior living for a loved one. National organizations like A Place for Mom don’t have someone locally to assist you and instead have communities reach out to you. You may prefer someone who is available for personal tours and has expertise in the senior living sector of your location.
These senior placement professionals don’t have an organizing body, so word of mouth or an internet search is the best way to find someone to assist you. Senior placement through either a local person or national organization is generally free to the consumer.
Senior Care Organizations to Improve the Lives of Aging Adults
Senior care organizations are not only informative. They can save you money and time. Resources for aging adults can help you navigate the healthcare system, become a better caregiver, and connect with others. Take the time you need to find those organizations that support you and your loved ones.