Area Agency on Aging
The Area Agency on Aging is one of twenty-eight (28) Area Agencies on Aging in the State of Texas under the Older Americans Act of 1965, as amended. It is the representative agency of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission for the Lower Rio Grande Valley and functions as the coordinating and planning agency for services to persons who are 60 years of age and older and their family.
The objective of the Counsel of Government's Area Agency on Aging is to provide an opportunity for a high quality of life of older persons through the development and expansion of a comprehensive and coordinated social service delivery system at the regional level.
The Area Agency on Aging has continually provided direct services through its access and assistance services which consist of the following services:
The program assesses the needs of an older individual and plan, arrange, coordinate and follow-up on services which most appropriately meet the identified needs.
Caregiver Support Coordination
The program assesses the needs of a caregiver and care recipient (person receiving the care at home), effectively plan, arrange, and coordinate and follow-up on services which most appropriately meet the identified needs.
Caregiver Information Services
The program is meant to provide information for informal caregivers, older relative caregivers caring for children 18 years of age and under; and the public through publications, large group presentations, seminars, health fairs and other media alternatives.
The Area Agency on Aging has implemented two evidence-based interventions. One is the Care Transitions Intervention partnership with Harlingen Medical Center providing a health coach for individuals aged 60 and over that may need Health Coaching after discharge to minimize hospital re-admission. The second intervention is the Home-Meds medication management program coordinated by the Area Agency Case Managers
Information and Assistance
Provides information about services in the community such as transportation, income assistance, housing, employment, caregiver support, respite care, adult day care, support groups, social service programs and benefits.
Representation by a Certified Benefits Counselor for older individuals, or their caregiver with economic and social needs. Legal assistance activities include the following:
• Advice/Counseling - a recommendation made to an older individual regarding a course of conduct, or how to proceed in a matter, given either on a brief or one-time basis, or on an ongoing basis. May be given by telephone or in person.
• Document Preparation - personal assistance given to an older individual which helps the preparation of necessary documents relating to public entitlements, health care/long term care, individual rights, planning/protection options, and housing and consumer needs.
• Representation - advocacy on behalf of an older individual in protesting or complaining about a procedure, or seeking special considerations by appealing an administrative decision, or representation by an attorney of an older individual or class of older individuals in either the State or Federal Court Systems.
Benefit Counselors provide relevant information, eligibility criteria, requirements, and procedures to older individuals about public entitlements, health/long-term care services, individual rights, planning/protection options, housing and consumer needs.
Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program
The program serves as "An advocate for Nursing Facility and Assisted Living Facility Residents" in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Staff and volunteers are specially trained and certified to advocate for quality of care and quality of life for residents in nursing homes.
Other services are obtained through sub recipients or contractors. Sub recipients provide such services as Senior Center Operations, transportation to and from nutrition and senior centers, congregate meals, home delivered meals, and caregiver education and training.
The Area Agency on Aging has agreements with contractors for obtaining goods and services under the Direct Purchased Services Program. Case Management and Caregiver Support Coordination staff utilizes these contractors to acquire such services for their clients as: medical transportation, residential modifications, medications, medical supplies, durable equipment, homemaker services, and, caregiver in-home respite care.