Aging Network 101: Directing Patients to Community Services


Throughout Older Americans Month, Texas Medicine Today will share information from the state Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) to help you help older Texans live and age well and live independently.

Many community-based social service agencies provide free or low-cost direction, referrals and resources for older adults. Research shows resources such as senior centers or Area Agencies on Aging can improve patient health outcomes.

Although physicians are prepared to refer patients to organizations that provide evidence-based programming such as fall prevention, stress, diabetes or pain management classes, many older adults are often not asked about these conditions by their physicians. Fewer than 37% of older adults are asked about falls in routine medical visits despite falls being the leading cause of fatalities for older adults, studies show.

Organizations providing services to help older adults maintain independence include:

Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs) specialize in free information and referral assistance for older adults and people with disabilities. ADRCs are the “front door” navigators for multiple services and supports, such as:

  • Referrals and one-on-one counseling to help clients find a long-term care facility or explore home health care services.
  • Those that support the needs of family caregivers, including respite.
Area Agency on Aging provides free services to help people 60 and older, their family members, and caregivers receive information and assistance. Services include:
  • Benefits counseling and legal assistance on topics like Medicaid and Medicare.
  • Care coordination such as short-term assistance for people who have recently been hospitalized or suffered a health crisis.
  • Caregiver support services such as respite and adaptive equipment.
  • In-home support services like vouchers to help low-income older adults with home care.
  • Evidence-based health programming and classes on topics like fall prevention and diabetes management.
Long-Term Care Ombudsmen are advocates for resident rights in long-term care facilities. Ombudsmen help protect the quality of life and care for residents in a nursing home or an assisted living facility.

Adult Protective Services investigates abuse, neglect, and exploitation of older adults or people with disabilities. Any adult who has a disability or is 65 or older in a state of abuse, neglect, or exploitation may be eligible to receive adult protective services, such as short-term help with:
  • Shelter;
  • Home repairs;
  • Food;
  • Transportation;
  • Managing money;
  • Medical care;
  • Home health care services; and
  • Mental health services.
Senior Centers offer a variety of classes and programs for free or a small cost to help older adults exercise and interact with one another. Many of the programs senior centers offer are evidence-based physical health programs and other exercise programs.


Last Updated On

May 17, 2019

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