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|Area Agency on Aging South Carolina
|South Carolina Area Agency on Aging
Area agencies on aging are the designated managers for state service and planning areas. A service and planning area is a geographic area of the state with more than 100,000 people and containing a significant number of elderly over the age of 60 that can be effectively served by the area agency under the Older Americans Act. The following can be designated as an area agency on aging to manage a service and planning area:
- An already established entity that is meeting the requirements of the state.
- A city, a county, a council of government or a regional planning commission in the service and planning area where the elected official in charge has designated an agency or office in its government organization to act as an area agency on aging.
- A public or nonprofit private agency in a planning and service area which can meet the requirements from the state as an area agency on aging.
Any of these organizations must be able to meet the statutory requirements and state requirements and operate as an area agency on aging.
In many states, area agencies on aging operate as an office of a county and county employees are used to run the organization. In large urban areas cities may manage an area. In areas that are sparsely populated, area agencies may operate under a regional planning commission or a council of government with multi-county employees or with a nonprofit company providing the management. A number of states have chosen to divide their states into multi-county regions or service areas. Where none of these natural subdivisions fit, a large rural area may be defined as a service and planning area and receive a suitable name to identify it. Where county or city governments are unwilling or unable to provide management, a number of states have chosen to contract with nonprofit organizations to run those particular area agencies in their states. Of the 655 AAAs across the country, approximately 67 percent are public agencies such as cities, counties, councils of government or regional planning commissions and 33 percent are private, non-profit organizations.
Area agencies do not always call themselves an "area agency on aging" and may use other names to identify themselves. Many nonprofits that receive their operating funds from state aging units typically use their nonprofit name instead of identifying themselves as an area agency on aging. Large county and large city AAA's often disguise themselves under government designated aging departments. States divided into multi-county regions may identify themselves as region one or planning area 2 and so forth. These many name conventions can be confusing to the public since using another name may not alert seniors or their families to the services they would expect under the Older Americans Act, national aging network. On the other hand, many nonprofit agencies that except money under the older Americans act and operate service areas are required to offer the same services as government-sponsored agencies.