Area Agencies on Aging were established through the Older Americans Act to facilitate and support programs that address the needs of older adults. Community planning is one of several mandated functions that these agencies are required to perform. Centralina Area Agency on Aging (AAA) utilizes a variety of planning tools to meet these needs. Some of our community initiatives, support programs and planning tools include:
Four-Year Area Plan – The area plan directs the work of Centralina AAA toward meeting its mandated program requirements through planning, outreach, advocacy and more. The area plan requires Centralina AAA to coordinate with local partners in its delivery of services for the region’s older adults. The current 2020-2024 plan was developed with input through focus groups from over 120 providers, volunteers and staff. The completed regional plan is submitted to the NC Department of Health and Human Services, who then uses these regional plans to inform and update its State Plan on Aging.
Home and Community Care Block Grant Process – The Home and Community Care Block Grant (HCCBG) process allows counties to make decisions about what services are the most needed in their county, which agency will provide the services and how much money needs to be allocated to each service. This unique process increases county flexibility with respect to specific needs and in addressing priority services as well as provides individualized budgeting. Despite uniform standards, eligibility, reporting and other policies established by the State Unit on Aging, each county can look different as to which services are offered and to how much each service is funded. Centralina AAA serves as the regional entity responsible for assisting each of our nine counties with the implementation of the HCCBG process.
Dementia Friendly Charlotte Mecklenburg Initiative – Centralina AAA serves as the backbone organization and lead for Dementia Friendly Charlotte Mecklenburg. This initiative encompasses over 15 businesses, organizations and individuals that together, form a steering committee focused on improving the quality of life for individuals living with dementia in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community. To support this initiative, Centralina AAA leads informative Dementia Friends sessions throughout the community, certifies Dementia Friendly businesses and looks for new and innovative ways to encourage our community to be inclusive.
Certificate of Need Process – North Carolina law prohibits health care facilities, such as nursing homes and assisted living homes, from building or adding to their facilities without the prior approval of the NC Department of Human Services. When the state identifies the need for a new nursing home or assisted living facility in a county, the Certificate of Need (CON) law directs this process, including assessing the county’s needs and accepting applications from competing providers. Centralina AAA Ombudsman contribute to the CON process by informing the state of local unmet needs and advocating for quality care issues.
Age-Friendly Planning – An age-friendly community enables people of all ages to reside in an environment that maximizes their capabilities, respects differences in all ages and allows each person to age in their own home for as long as possible. Communities all over the county have begun looking at how they can be age friendly, which includes specific changes to both physical and social environments. Centralina staff lead age-friendly planning efforts and serve as key players to help develop and support a region that enables older people live healthy, active lives and remain a productive part of their community. Examples include increasing accessibility in public spaces, providing more transportation options and increasing affordable and safe housing.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Planning – Centralina AAA has an ADA-certified staff person who assists local governments with ADA planning, training and compliance issues. In addition to providing physical accessibility, ADA accommodations must also include policies and procedures to ensure adequate communication methods are made available for those with disabilities.
Written by: Laurie Abounader