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Area Agencies on Aging provide Iowa an amazing return on investment

To the editor:

Iowa’s Area Agencies on Aging are an excellent resource for helping individuals live well as they age in their communities. Through working collaboratively with older adults, caregivers, the communities in which they live and public organizations, Northeast Iowa Area Agency on Aging, along with the other Iowa Area Agencies on Aging, help to foster positive aging. Each year Area Agencies on Aging save the state $473.9 million in Medicaid spending by supporting almost 9,000 nursing home care-eligible people in their homes and hometowns.

Iowa’s Area Agencies on Aging have undergone many changes over the past couple years. The legislature mandated a reorganization that reduced the number of Area Agencies on Aging from thirteen to six. This reorganization cost Area Agencies on Aging over $1 million.

While the legislature did not fund $2.9 million in unmet needs for Iowa’s most vulnerable seniors, the Area Agencies on Aging provided more than 44,000 people with congregate and/or home-delivered meals. Approximately 10,000 people accessed needed services through Area Agencies on Aging, such as transportation to appointments and meal sites. Over 17,000 people were provided support through home and community-based services.

Iowa’s Area Agencies on Aging continue to stay true to the mission to help older adults remain independent. But this doesn’t come without challenges. Even though the Area Agencies on Aging prove their ability to save the state money, the legislature cannot find the $1.3 million needed for Area Agencies on Aging to streamline and connect the state’s long-term care support system. The legislature is also refusing to find $600,000 to fund a statewide Elder Abuse Resource and Referral system that protects Iowa’s seniors through the Area Agencies on Aging.

By supporting the Area Agencies on Aging, you support great services that provide an amazing return on your investment.

Mike Isaacson

Chief Executive Officer

Northeast Iowa Area Agency on Aging

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