Improving the Quality of Life for Residents of All Ages and Abilities
Metro Atlanta’s older adult population is growing rapidly as better health enables us to live longer. By 2030, one in five residents will be over the age of 60.
This demographic shift presents an opportunity for the region to provide services and design communities in a way that meets the needs of residents of all ages and abilities.
The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) plays a critical role in these efforts. ARC provides essential services to residents, such as transportation and personal care. The agency also works with local governments to plan and design more inclusive communities.
ARC’s goal is to enable people to remain and thrive in their homes and communities as their needs change rather than move into costly institutional settings. People who stay in their communities generally experience a better quality of life, with improved physical and mental health.
The Big Idea in Four Minutes: Coming of Age
Providing Services and Supports
ARC works with county-based and region-wide specialty agencies to form a coordinated network that provides daily support services for older adults, persons with disabilities, and their caregivers. Services offered include home-delivered meals, in-home support, transportation, and senior center activities.
In recent years, ARC’s focus has expanded to better address the needs of persons with disabilities and their caregivers through a combination of direct services and partnerships with community service providers.
To better promote overall health, ARC has placed an expanded emphasis on broader health initiatives such as elementary school nutrition, bike share programs and wellness programs.
Planning to Meet the Region’s Changing Needs
ARC has developed a Regional Strategic Plan designed to address the changing needs of the Atlanta region and better align services and supports.
More than 1,200 stakeholders provided input into the plan, identifying priorities that, while not dramatically different from previous decades, require us to find ways of delivering more support and provide greater impact.
Plan Priorities Include:
- Transportation – Increasing the number of older adults and persons with disabilities with access to transportation services.
- Housing– Providing a diversity of housing options that are desirable to older adults.
- Caregiver Support – Supporting family and other caregivers who provide the majority of care for frail older adults and persons with disabilities.
- Long-Term Services and Supports – Providing high quality, affordable services to enable people to stay in their homes and communities.
ARC also works with local governments and community partners to design more inclusive communities that offer multiple housing types and transportation options, such as better sidewalks, low-maintenance housing options and convenient access to shopping and transit.
ARC’s Aging and Independence Group Guiding Principles
- Collective impact
- Empower individuals and families with choice
- Person-centered and holistic
Organization and Funding
ARC’s Aging and Independence Group has an annual budget of nearly $30 million and receives funding from a variety of sources.
As the federally designated Area Agency on Aging, ARC receives approximately 50 percent of its funding from the Older Americans Act (OAA). OAA was first enacted in 1965 and has long served as the nation’s major vehicle for the organization and delivery of social and nutrition services to older adults.
Additional funding is provided by federal Social Services Block Grants, federal elderly and disabled Medicaid waiver programs, a range of state programs, along with a variety of public and private grants.