In 1965, the Older Americans Act (OAA) was passed by Congress in response to concern about a lack of community social services for older persons. The OAA established the Administration on Aging as the federal point of contact for all issues concerning older persons. Reauthorized in 2016, the OAA considered to be a major vehicle for the organization and delivery of social and nutrition services older adults and their caregivers. It authorizes a wide array of service programs through a national network of state agencies on aging, local area agencies on aging, service providers, and Tribal and Native Hawaiian organizations.
The OAA stipulates that a multi-year, comprehensive Area Plan be developed for each planning and service area. This plan is updated each year and submitted to the California Department of Aging for review and approval. Data is collected from the US Census, community needs assessment surveys, service delivery waiting lists, and current service levels to determine areas of need and potential growth. The Area Plan requires staff to coordinate with community service organizations, engage in program development, provide training and technical assistance to service providers, and serve as the quality assurance component for contracted services. As part of the Area Plan development process, the Riverside County Office on Aging hosts a public hearing to gain feedback and input from the community.