These 1973 changes were made, in part, as a result of congressional hearings that showed: (1) federal funds were fragmented over too many activities at the community level; (2) duplication of effort on the local level was prevalent; (3) state and local financial participation had not provided sufficient funds to maintain programs at necessary operating levels; (4) federal funds had not been sufficient for states to develop and maintain effective programs for the elderly; (5) state agencies on aging had not always been established as single state units as envisioned by Congress, but rather as subunits of other state agencies; and (6) social services funds had not been used for older persons most in need, such as low-income and minority persons. With these amendments, Congress intended for state and area agencies to work together in planning for the development of a comprehensive social service system throughout the state and also intended to give localities a more active role in meeting older persons’ social service needs.
Pursuant to the 1973 law, area agencies on aging generally were not to provide services directly, but were to promote leadership in identifying gaps and weaknesses in the existing service system and use their limited funds to foster expansion of services in cooperation with other providers.
A multiplicity of social services could be provided under the auspices of state agencies, and with the implementation of the 1973 amendments through area agencies on aging. But the major service component of the Older Americans Act, the national nutrition program for the elderly, was enacted by Congress in 1972 as Title VII of the Act and it first received funding in 1973. It evolved from nutrition demonstration projects first funded under the Older Americans Act in 1968 with the purpose of developing techniques for improving diets, fostering social interaction among older persons, and facilitating the delivery or social services. Aspects of these demonstration projects were incorporated into the law.
The 1973 amendments that established the area agency program under Title III provided that state administrative costs for the nutrition program would be covered by the Title III program. This action was the first step toward integration of the nutrition and social services programs which evolved further with the 1978 amendments to the Act.
The 1978 amendments represented a major change in the structure of the aging network programs at the state and local levels when the separately authorized social services, nutrition services, and multipurpose senior center programs were folded into one title under the Title III administrative structure. Title III social services were funded through area agencies, Title VII nutrition services were funded through area agencies on aging or directly by state agencies on aging, and Title V senior center grants were awarded directly from the Commissioner on Aging. The consolidation of these separate titles into one title was intended to foster greater coordination among the Older Americans Act programs with area agencies on aging responsible for managing