The National Area Agencies on Aging, also known as AAAs were established under the Older Americans Act (OAA) which was passed in 1973 to provide older adults with the services and support needed to remain in their own home with dignity for as long as possible. https://www.usaging.org/Files/LocalLeadersAAA2017.pdf
There are over 600 AAAs throughout the US. They oversee the agencies that provide services to older adults and their caregivers in the community.
As part of my networking and marketing efforts, I reached out to my local AAA to share information about DMM services and also applied to become a community service provider.
However, many of the clients they wanted to refer did not have the funds to hire me as a DMM. The Dept. of Human Services was also on board to have a DMM assist their clients, but again the question arose about how I would get paid.
I explained that in addition to bill paying and financial organization, DMMs can be a deterrent against fraud and financial abuse of older vulnerable adults, which is a significant concern for WI residents.
I was told that federal funds could be applied for and used by the caregiver to obtain respite, self-care (such as massages or gym memberships) that would make their lives easier. Several caregivers were overwhelmed by the paperwork and bill-paying responsibility and wanted to use the funds for DMM services.
The local agency agreed that I could be paid from the Caregiver fund which varied from $500 – $1200 annually. This allowed me to set up a basic system for the caregiver (5-10 sessions usually) which they could then manage going forward.
Although I only saw a few clients through this program, it did allow me to be added to the list of community providers through the local ADRC (Aging and Disability Resource Center) which in my area is the first point of contact for any services for older adults.
I received a number of referrals from the ADRC over the past few years that were able to pay me for DMM services.
I am now retired as a DMM, but in 2019 I was appointed to a 3-year term on the AAA Board’s Access Committee. In 2022, I was asked to serve for another 3-year term. In this role, I’m able to educate new Board members about the services offered by DMMs and keep current on the services for older adults in my community.
Barbara Boustead is a retired daily money manager and a past board member of AADMM.