AAAs Mark 50 Years Of Service, Seek Seniors’ Input

By The Active Age | May 31, 2024

Annette Graham

Kansas’ area agencies on aging are marking their 50th year in operation.

AAAs such as Central Plains Area Agency on Aging (CPAAA) — which serves Butler, Harvey and Sedgwick counties — were established in the 1970s to plan community services for people 60 and older. They also provide or fund many of those services, coordinate work among other agencies and organizations serving seniors and advocate for the older population.

The overarching goals are to help older residents live healthier, happier lives while staying in their homes as long as desirable.

“I think we’ve really engaged more on the health and wellness side,” Annette Graham, executive director of CPAAA, said of the agency’s recent work.

Kansas originally created 10 AAAs, later adding an eleventh that serves Johnson County alone. CPAAA has the largest number of residents in the state 60 and over — about 130,000 — of the state’s AAAs.

CPAAA was initially administered by the city of Wichita. Sedgwick County took over those duties in 1980. Today, it’s housed in the Ronald Reagan building, 271 W. 3rd St.

CPAAAs work closely with Departments on Aging in Butler and Harvey counties. CPAAA staff are actually employees of Sedgwick County’s Department on Aging and Disabilities.

AAAs distributes federal funding for programs such as senior nutrition, in-home care, transportation and legal aid. CPAAA helped start The Active Age in 1979 and has awarded it a grant through the federal Older Americans Act every year since then.

Not surprisingly, the pandemic was one of the agency’s biggest challenges.

“The challenge was to quickly be able to pivot to provide services virtually, to work remotely and to support providers as they were trying to pivot as well,” Graham said.

Currently, CPAAA is conducting a needs assessment survey to help plan its services for the next four years. The survey can be completed by calling 1-855-200-2372 or by picking up a paper copy at the CPAAA office front desk. The survey can also be found by scanning the QR code in the agency’s ad on this page.

“We really want to get a wide perspective from older adults,” Graham said. “What do you need?”