May is Older Americans Month, and this year’s theme, “Age My Way!” highlights aging-in-place and how older adults can live independently in communities for as long as possible. Passed in 1965, the Older Americans Act (OAA) was created to support older adults wanting to live independently and age-in-place.
More than 345 Texas residents reach age 65 daily. Texas added 1 million people over the age of 65 to the population between 2000–2014. By 2030, the older adult population in Texas will reach nearly 6 million (Texas Demographic Center, 2016).
HHSC administers an array of programs and supports to help older Texans live healthy lives, stay connected to their communities and age-in-place. These include:
- Aging Texas Well, a strategic planning effort that reviews policies impacting older Texans, assesses local and state readiness to meet the needs of older adults and helps communities build their service capacity. The Aging Texas Well strategic plan uses the OAA impact areas as a foundation to plan for aging needs and identifies aging-specific priorities for the state.
- Age Well Live Well, a statewide healthy aging campaign, promotes easy pathways to available resources and emphasizes how to make healthy changes using three core message areas: Be Healthy, Be Connected, and Be Informed.
- Texercise, a health promotions initiative, provides free physical activity and nutrition resources to educate, motivate and engage adults 45 and older in healthy behaviors.
- Local Area Agencies on Aging serve adults 60 and older, their families and caregivers with multiple programs designed to support independence. Typical programs include benefits counseling, home and congregate meals, support for caregivers, transportation resources and assistance navigating Medicare and Medicaid.
- Aging and Disability Resource Centers serve as information and referral hubs for older adults and people with disabilities. Trained system navigators are the “front doors” for accessing social supports.
- Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly assists adults 55 and older, who qualify for nursing home care, with receiving in-home services, helping them to age-in-place. Services can include medical care, personal care, social connection, medication, rehabilitation, transportation and more.
Additional resources for older Texans include:
- Eldercare Locator, a free national service provided by the U.S. Administration on Aging, helps older adults find local resources, including legal, financial, home repair, caregiving and transportation resources.
- Military families can use the Guide to Long-term Care for Veterans to obtain beneficial resources and multiple caregiving tools that provide veterans with a range of available services to assist with aging-in-place.
This May, celebrate the older Texans in your life and learn more about the programs and resources that promote aging independently.