Updated July 29, 2015
How do we acknowledge the contributions older people have made and continue to make to our society? In 1963, President John F. Kennedy designated May as “Senior Citizens Month” the precursor to the current name “Older Americans Month.” During the month of May, the current president formally addresses the country asking the citizens to pay tribute to the elderly in their communities. In honor of this request, Diversity Best Practices has compiled a list of key organizations that serve older Americans. There is also a theme to every Older American Month celebration – in 2015 the theme was “Get into the Act.”
AARP is the largest organization for older Americans. More than half of AARP’s 34 million members over age 50 are still working. The organization focuses on issues such as health and wellness, economic security and employment. It offers many long-term resources and programs, including Ageline, a searchable online database containing detailed summaries of publications for older adults. AARP also offers hundreds of books, journals, magazines, research reports and videos serving members of the older population.
The Administration on Aging (AOA)
The Administration on Aging is the federal agency dedicated to policy development and planning and delivery of services for the elderly and their caregivers. This agency is dedicated to policy development, planning and the delivery of supportive home-and community-based services to older persons and their caregivers. The AOA works through the National Aging Network of State and Area Agencies on Aging, Tribal and Native organizations and thousands of service providers, adult care centers, caregivers and volunteers.
Alliance for Retired Americans
Alliance for Retired Americans is founded by a coalition of AFL-CIO-affiliated unions and community groups and aims to protect the rights of retired Americans.
The Alzheimer’s Association is the oldest and largest national voluntary health organization dedicated to researching causes, cures and prevention strategies of Alzheimer’s disease and providing education and support services to Alzheimer’s patients, their families and caregivers.
American Society on Aging (ASA)
The American Society on Aging is a national professional membership organization founded in 1954. Its members include practitioners, educators, researchers and lay people working with and on behalf of the aging. It offers a wide variety of programs for continuing education and specialized training in aging. It also works at the national level to influence public policy. Publications include a quarterly journal, Generations, a bimonthly newspaper, Aging Today, an electronic member newsletter, ASA Connection and eight quarterly newsletters by ASA’s specialized constituent groups.
Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA)
Assisted Living Federation of America is one of the largest associations exclusively dedicated to the assisted living industry. ALFA represents more than 5,000 for-profit and not-for-profit providers of assisted living.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
The Centers for Medicare and Medical Services website provides information on health insurance for more than 74 million Americans receiving Medicare and/or Medicaid. This site includes news updates on both programs and other health care information important to seniors and their families.
The Center for Social Gerontology (TCSG)
The Center for Social Gerontology helps states to improve their legal services delivery systems. Last year, TCSG visited five states to provide in-depth technical assistance in areas such as targeting legal services to seniors with the most social and economic need, implementing statewide legal services standards and reporting/outcome measures and creating state elder rights coalitions. TCSG also hosted a guardianship/caregiver mediation training conference.
Corporation for National and Community Service Senior Corps
The Corporation for National & Community Service is a network of more than half a million seniors who are making a difference as foster grandparents, senior companions and retired and senior volunteer program (RSVP) volunteers. These programs tap the experience, skills, talents, interests and creativity of seniors age 55 and over.
Justice in Aging
Justice in Aging offers assistance to legal offices and private lawyers working on behalf of low-income older and disabled people. This national legal advocacy organization does not accept individual clients but acts as a clearinghouse of information on legal problems such as age discrimination, Social Security, pension plans, Medicaid, Medicare, nursing homes and protective services.
Medicare Rights Center (MRC)
Medicare Rights Center is the largest independent source of health care information and assistance in the United States for people with Medicare. Founded in 1989, MRC helps older adults and people with disabilities get good, affordable health care. MRC provides telephone hotline services for questions on Medicare, works to teach people with Medicare and those who counsel them about Medicare benefits and rights, brings the consumer voice to the national debate on Medicare reform and works closely with local and national media outlets to ensure public awareness and understanding of Medicare issues.
National Aging in Place Council (NAIPC)
The National Aging in Place Council is a membership organization founded on the belief that an overwhelming majority of older Americans want to remain in their homes for as long as possible, but lack awareness of home and community-based services that make independent living possible. NAIPC has created a national forum for individuals from the aging, healthcare, financial services, legal, design and building sectors to work together to help meet the needs of our growing aging population so they may remain living in their housing of choice.
National Alliance for Caregiving
The National Alliance for Caregiving is a nonprofit coalition of national organizations focusing on issues of family caregiving. Alliance members include grassroots organizations, professional associations, service organizations, disease-specific organizations, government agencies and corporations.
National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA)
The National Center on Elder Abuse is a consortium of various elder advocacy groups, including the National Association of State Units on Aging (NASUA) and the Commission on Legal Problems of the Elderly of the American Bar Association. The organization’s website offers links, list serves, interactive content and a variety of other resources addressing this topic.
National Council on the Aging (NCOA)
The National Council on the Aging is a private, nonprofit association of organizations and individuals dedicated to promoting the dignity, self-deter- mination, well-being and continuing contributions of older persons through leadership and service, education and advocacy. NCOA members include senior centers, adult day service centers, senior housing, congregate-meal sites, faith congregations and area agencies on aging.
National Resource Center on Nutrition, Physical Activity and Aging
The National Resource Center on Nutrition, Physical Activity and Aging serves as a national focal point for issues related to older women. The center conducts research, provides policy analysis to those working in the fields of older women and provides training and technical assistance to the aging network, women’s organizations and policy makers.
For more than 42 years, the Peace Corps has served 136 countries by responding to countries’ requests for help in empowering people to take charge of their own future. Volunteers age 50 and over are valuable assets to the Peace Corps’ mission because of their extensive experience. Peace Corps volunteers commit to 27 months of training and service oversees. Volunteers work in the areas of business development, education, youth and community development, agriculture and the environment and health.
Points of Light
In addition to the many volunteer opportunities open to older persons through Federal programs, community level agencies and organizations welcome the talents of the elderly. Many communities have Volunteer Centers that offer information about the types of volunteer opportunities available and the agencies and organizations that are seeking volunteer assistance. Volunteer Centers refer an estimated 800,000 new volunteers each year. Volunteers assist a wide variety of community organizations that provide services to such populations as the elderly, youth, people with AIDS and the homeless. Opportunities are also available in areas such as the arts and the environment.
Service Corps of Retired Executives
The Service Corps of Retired Executives, or SCORE, is a 13,000-member volunteer association sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). SCORE is made up of retired executives and small business owners. SCORE volunteers provide counseling to small business owners free of charge.
The SPRY (Setting Priorities for Retirement Years) Foundation
The SPRY (Setting Priorities for Retirement Years) Foundation is a nonprofit foundation established in Washington, DC in 1991. SPRY’s mission is to help older adults plan for a healthy and financially secure future. To that end, SPRY conducts research and develops education programs that respond to consumer needs.