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Advisory Council to Area Agency on Aging

Program Description

senior hands together

Area Agency on Aging Programs are funded by the federal Older Americans Act, State General Fund through the Department of Aging, grant and local funds. The broad array of possible programs is tailored to each local Area Agency Service Are through a comprehensive needs assessment and planning process conducted each year. The following definitions describe programs identified through the local needs assessment process as vital support to maintain independence and quality of life for older adults in Sonoma County.

Adult Day Care

The Adult Day Care program (also known as Senior Social Clubs) provides day care services for seniors (Age 60+) who are functionally or cognitively impaired by providing the emotional, mental and social stimulation that is necessary to help them remain independent in their efforts to age in place and stay healthy. The program provides professional, stimulating, and accessible programming in a safe and comfortable home-like setting appropriate to varying levels of individualized needs. A nutritious lunch and a light snack are also offered.

Alzheimer's Day Care

The Alzheimer's Day Care program provides day care services for seniors (Age 60+) with Alzheimer's disease or other types of dementia. Group and individual activities such as music, exercise, cognitive games, small and large motor activities, socialization, and a lunch meal are offered.

Family Caregiver Support

The National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP), established in 2000, funds a range of supports that assist family and informal caregivers to care for their loved ones at home for as long as possible. Sonoma County’s Family Caregiver Support Program provides funding for assistance to caregivers in gaining access to services through caregiver assessments, organization of support groups, and respite care. Senior Nutrition

Congregate Meals

The Congregate Meals program is designed to help increase the nutrient intake and prevent health deterioration and social isolation for seniors aged 60 and older, their spouses regardless of age, and disabled individuals who reside at home with and accompany an older individual who participates in the program. The nutritionally balanced meal and social contact together provide a positive motivation for self-care for seniors who may often eat poorly on their own and may become lonely and depressed in isolation.

Senior Nutrition

Home Delivered Meals

The Home Delivered Meals program is designed to help increase the nutrient intake of homebound or isolated frail seniors (age 60+) who may have become homebound due to increasing age or short-term/long-term health problems. The program provides nutritional support through the delivery of one meal per day to assist in maintaining health, independence and ability to remain at home.

Case Management (Linkages and Community Based)

The Case Management program provides assistance to frail seniors (Age 60+) who may no longer be able to manage daily living tasks by helping them maintain their optimum level of functioning in the least restrictive setting possible. Seniors may have emotional, mental, social, physical, and nutritional needs that would not be met without assistance. Care plans are developed to address the senior’s specific needs, including financial assistance, homecare, nutrition, transportation, socialization, and mental health.

Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP)

Sonoma County’s Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP) provides personalized counseling, community education and outreach events for Medicare beneficiaries. Sonoma County administers HICAP for three other designated Area Agencies including Napa/Solano, Marin and Lake/Mendocino. As a result, California Department of Aging, makes all HICAP fund for the coordinated region in one allocation. HICAP is the primary local source for accurate and objective information and assistance with Medicare benefits, prescription drug plans and health plans.

Sonoma HICAP is part of a national network of State Health Insurance and Assistance Programs (SHIP). SHIP is a Federal grant program that helps States enhance and support a network of local programs, staff, and volunteers. Local programs are charged with directly helping beneficiaries to understand how to use their Medicare benefits including Prescription Drug Plan coverage, Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare supplemental policies, Medicare Savings Programs, and long term care insurance. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) administers the SHIP grant programs nationally.

HICAP provides free community education and unbiased confidential individual counseling statewide. HICAP Counselors are trained to assist you with choosing and/or enrolling in Prescription Drug Plans and Medicare Health Plans, filing original Medicare and private insurance claims and/or preparing Medicare appeals. If you are considering purchasing long-term care insurance or Medicare supplement insurance, HICAP Counselors can help you compare policies and explain what services each policy provides.

Health Promotion

Health promotion activities promote the prevention of disease and healthy aging. Evidence based programs involving activities such as health screening, physical fitness, and therapy, to assist older individuals to improve or maintain physical health and secure necessary medical, preventive health, or health maintenance services are included in this program. Health screening, therapy, and hospice must be provided by a licensed health professional or by a paraprofessional supervised by a licensed health professional. Services cannot be eligible for funding by any other source. Medication Management is also included in the health promotion category. This program provides medication management screening and education to individuals over the age of 60 who are identified as having impairments in their ability to effectively manage their medication and/or their medication plan.

Legal Assistance

The Legal Assistance Program provides seniors (age 60+) with legal assistance and advice as requested by participants. Types of issues addressed by the program include restraining orders, eviction, Social Security, Medi-Cal and Medicare, housing, wills, durable power of attorney, consumer fraud, elder abuse, and real estate matters.

The Ombudsman Program

The Ombudsman Program will investigate and resolve complaints made by or on behalf of long-term care residents in Sonoma County. Under the direction of the Contractor’s Director or Volunteer Coordinator, staff and volunteer ombudsmen visit long-term care facilities. The Ombudsman investigates all complaints, including elder abuse allegations in long-term care facilities. Contractor staff and volunteers will provide consumer information regarding long-term care facilities and community education on long-term care issues and laws affecting seniors residing in long-term care facilities.


The Transportation Services program is a community based volunteer driver program that uses appropriately screened and trained drivers. The program provides transportation to medical and social appointments to people age 60 and older in Sonoma County who have no other viable transportation option. Participants are a cross section of socioeconomic levels and varied physical and mental abilities, with the majority of riders being seniors who have outlived their ability to drive.