Senior Centers and Supportive Services for Older Adults

Authorizing Legislation: Section 321 of the Older Americans Act of 1965, as amended.

The Purpose of the Program and How It Works

The Home and Community-Based Supportive Services (HCBS) program, established in 1973, provides grants to states and territories using a formula based primarily on their share of the national population aged 60 and over. The grants fund a broad array of services that enable older adults to remain in their homes for as long as possible. These services include, but are not limited to:

  • Access to services such as transportation, case management, and information and assistance;

  • In-home services such as personal care, chores, and homemaker assistance; and

  • Community services such as legal services, mental health services, and adult day care.

This program also funds multi-purpose senior centers that coordinate and integrate services for older adults such as congregate meals, community education, health screening, exercise/health promotion programs, and transportation.

Each state uses an intrastate funding formula to allocate funds to its area agencies on aging. Area agencies on aging have the flexibility to use their funds to provide the supportive services that best meet the needs of older adults in their planning and service areas.

Data Show Extensive Services Provided to Seniors

Services provided by the HCBS program in FY 2012 include: [1]

  • Transportation Services provided 22.2 million rides to doctor’s offices, grocery stores, pharmacies, senior centers, meal sites, and other critical destinations.

  • Personal Care, Homemaker, and Chore Services provided nearly 36.5 million hours of assistance to seniors unable to perform activities of daily living (such as eating, dressing, or bathing) or instrumental activities of daily living (such as shopping or light housework).

  • Adult Day Care/Day Health provided 8.5 million hours of care for dependent adults in a supervised, protective group setting during some portion of a 24-hour day.

  • Case Management Services provided more than 3.3 million hours of assistance in assessing needs, developing care plans, and arranging services for older adults or their caregivers.

For more information on Older Americans Act service data, see the Aging Network’s State Program Reports.

Funding History

Funding for Home and Community-Based Supportive Services
during the past four years is as follows:

Fiscal Year Dollar Amount
FY 2016 $347,724,000
FY 2015 $347,724,000
FY 2014 $347,724,000
FY 2013 $347,724,000
Resources and Useful Links
  • Eldercare Locator
    The Locator connects older adults and their caregivers to service agencies in their area.
  • The National Aging and Disability Transportation Center
    The Center's goal is to promote the availability and accessibility of transportation options for older adults, people with disabilities, and caregivers.
  • The National Aging Information and Referral Support Center
    The Center offers training, technical assistance, product development, and consultation to the aging network.
  • National Institute of Senior Centers
    The Institute serves as a vehicle for coordination, communication, action, and guidance to the senior center field on a national level.
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Technical Assistance Center
    The Resource Center to Promote Acceptance, Dignity and Social Inclusion Associated with Mental Health includes professional resources, training programs, and resources related to older adult mental health.
  • American Bar Association (ABA)/Commission on Law and Aging
    The ABA Commission on Law and Aging seeks to strengthen and secure the legal rights for seniors through research, policy development, technical assistance, advocacy, education, and training.
  • National Adult Day Services Association
    NADSA advances the national development, recognition and use of adult day services. Adult day service centers provide a coordinated program of professional and compassionate services for adults in a community-based group setting. Services are designed to provide social and some health services to adults who need supervised care in a safe place outside the home during the day. They also afford caregivers respite from the demanding responsibilities of caregiving.

[1] AoA's FY 2014 State Program Report.

Last modified on 04/19/2017