Aging Texas Well is a Texas Health and Human Services initiative that helps Texans prepare for all aspects of aging at both the individual and the community level. Established in 2005 by Executive Order R.P. 42, ATW identifies and discusses policy issues, guides state government readiness, and promotes increased community preparedness for an aging Texas population. ATW creates awareness of the importance of aging well by providing resources, expertise and opportunities to help all Texans age well. ATW also provides guidance to state and local infrastructures by supporting the development of local laws, policies and services.
Why Aging Texas Well?
As the number of older adults in Texas grows, communities will face greater challenges in responding to their physical and social needs. ATW is focused on ensuring that Texas’ older adult population has a sense of well-being, and that Texans feel prepared to proactively and effectively deal with life’s changes.
To communicate the needs of Texas’ growing aging population, ATW focuses on 16 areas that are critical to aging well. Knowledge and preparedness about these issue areas help older Texans to stay in control of their lives, promote positive aging, provide resources on obstacles to aging well, help providers to develop comprehensive strategies, and foster innovative solutions for generations of Texans to come.
The issue areas are:
- Community support
- Health and long-term care
- Mental health
- Physical health
- Social engagement
Aging Texas Well Plan
The Aging Texas Well Plan — mandated by Executive Order RP 42 — is a comprehensive and effective strategy to identify and discuss aging policy issues, guide state government readiness and promote increased community preparedness for an aging Texas. With guidance from the Aging Texas Well Advisory Committee, HHSC updates the plan every two years.
These Aging Texas Well issue briefs — written by members of the Texas HHS Aging Texas Well Advisory Committee — can be used to develop a personal understanding of what aging well means, as well as promote local infrastructure development to support aging well. Older adults and their loved ones are encouraged to use these issue briefs to gain insight into how they can age well, find out what services and resources are available, and where to go when they need support. Community leaders and stakeholders in aging are urged to use the briefs to champion their older residents, lead important policy discussions on aging-related topics and enlist other leaders to join with them and act to create communities that encourage aging well.
Older Adults with Low Vision Study
The ATW Advisory Committee is conducting a study — as directed by Texas Senate Bill 1693, 85th Regular Session — on existing independent living services for older adults with low vision, the needs of this population, and the projected growth and geographic distribution of older adults with low vision in the next five to 10 years. The committee will compile the results in a report to the legislature, due November 2018. The report will also include recommendations on how to develop public and private partnerships with those who provide services to older adults with vision impairment, suggestions on increasing awareness of services and supports, and a recommended training curriculum for state agency personnel who provide direct intervention and independent living services to seniors with visual impairment. The committee is working in small workgroups to gather resources, find information and develop recommendations. If you have ideas or suggestions, email Holly Riley.
Older Americans Act
Congress passed the Older Americans Act in 1965 in response to concern by policymakers about a lack of community social services for older people. The original legislation established authority for grants to states for community planning and social services, research and development projects, and personnel training in the field of aging. The law also established the Administration on Aging to oversee newly created grant programs and matters concerning older adults.
Although older people may receive services under many other federal programs, today the OAA is considered to be the major vehicle for the organization and delivery of social and nutrition services to this group and their caregivers. It authorizes an array of service programs through a national network of
- 56 state agencies on aging
- 629 area agencies on aging
- Around 20,000 service providers
- 244 tribal organizations
- Two native Hawaiian organizations representing 400 tribes
The OAA also includes community service employment for low-income older Americans; training, research, and demonstration activities in the field of aging; and vulnerable elder rights protection activities. To learn more about the OAA, click on one of the links below.