In this interview, Brian met with Deborah Moore, Chief of Staff from the Harris County Area Agency on Aging, which provides free senior services and benefits in Houston and Harris County. This interview describes examples of the services provided.

The Harris County Area Agency on Aging (HCAAA) is part of a nationwide network coordinating supportive services for the elderly as mandated by the Older Americans Act of 1965 and its subsequent amendments. The HCAAA plans and contracts services for senior citizens throughout Harris County.

Brian:         Hello, I’m Brian Spitz, president of Big State Home Buyers. And today we’re here discussing the Area Agency on Aging. And we have with us Deborah Moore, who is the chief of the bureau. And you’re actually part of Harris County. You’re a Health and Human Services Resource?

Deborah:   That’s correct, Brian. And thank you so much for having me this morning. We are the Harris County Area Agency on Aging. And our name is Harris County because we provide services throughout Harris County.

Brian:         Right.

Deborah:   But our parent organization is the City of Houston Health and Human Services Department. A bit confusing, but.

Brian:         That’s a big resource, the Health and Human Services Department.

Deborah:   Absolutely.

Brian:         We’re really flattered you joined us. It’s a big deal.

Deborah:   Thank you for having me.

Brian:         Sure. So tell us a little bit about your agency.

harris county area agency on aging - Free Senior Services in HoustonAbout the Harris County Area Agency on Aging

Deborah:   Sure. Harris County Area Agency on Aging is funded by the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services. And we receive funding to provide services to individuals that are 60 years of age or older that live in Harris County. And we bring services into their homes and in their communities, to assist these individuals in remaining in their homes and remaining in their communities for as long as it is healthy and safe for them to do so.

Brian:         Okay. And so that would include services like, tell some of the basic services you provide.

Services Provided for Seniors

Meals on Wheels

Deborah:   Sure. Most people have heard of Meals on Wheels. We fund those services. They’re actually called Home Delivered Meals and we fund those services throughout Harris County, which means, basically, we identify organizations that have the ability to deliver meals to seniors that are homebound and are in need of a hot meal. We provide funding for those organizations to deliver meals to the homes of those seniors.

Hot Meals in Congregate Settings

We also provide meals in congregate settings. We have settings throughout Harris County in multi-service centers, in senior centers, senior living centers, so that we bring meals into those centers. Seniors come. They come for the meal but more so, they come for the socialization.

Brian:         Right.

Deborah:   These are seniors that are able to leave their homes and either bring themselves to a congregate setting or we will provide transportation and transport them to the setting.

And they go into the setting. They get a hot meal. They do a little line dancing. They play bingo and just basically socialize with other older individuals. The meals program, actually, is our largest program. We provide over 6500 meals a day to seniors throughout Harris County.

Brian:         Wow.

Health Maintenance Services

Deborah:   But we also provide services that we call health maintenance. And that’s the category of services where if there’s an individual who is in need of vision services, vision screening and eyeglasses, hearing services, hearing screening and possibly hearing aids, dental services, or even assistance in purchasing prescription medication, we will provide funding to assist that individual in acquiring those services and goods.

All of our services are provided without regard to income, which means there’s no means testing so it’s not that you have to have a certain income level or be at a certain income level.

If you have the need, the service is available to you.

In Home Services for Seniors

The other services that we provide are in-home services, which means if there’s a senior in their home and they want to remain in their home and they need just a little bit of assistance with activities of daily living, such as maybe grooming, housecleaning, cooking, we provide funds to agencies that have what we call providers, that will go into the home and assist the senior with activities of daily living. And we fund those services throughout Harris County as well. We call those our Personal Assistance and Homemaker Services.

And we have a wide array of caregiver services. So if there are seniors that are in-home, in their homes and their family members are helping them, providing care for those seniors, often family members need a little bit of assistance themselves.

Brian:         Right.

Deborah:   They might need a little respite.

Brian:         Right.

Deborah:   So we will send someone in the home to assist the senior, to give the family member an opportunity maybe to just step away, take a break, take care of themselves. Or perhaps that family member is working, so we will send someone in the home to be with the senior and assist the senior, which allows the family member to work and continue with their employment.

Brian:         Oh, I had no idea that there were public services that did, you really think of those as private pay or private services.

Deborah:   Absolutely. And these, we actually, as a Triple A, have been established since 1977, providing services throughout Harris County. We serve over, believe it or not, 100,000 seniors annually. So we have a broad reach. We do a really good job of trying to get the word out, which is why I’m really appreciative to be here with you discussing this, because we want seniors and their caregivers to know about our services and to know how to contact us to request the services.

Brian:         Which while we’re at that, tell us how people do reach your agency?

How to Reach the Agency on Aging in Houston Harris County

Deborah:   We have an information and referral line and anyone that is in need of services or just information about what is available throughout the Harris County can call us at 832-393-4301.

We’re also located at 8000 Stadium Drive and that’s with the Health and Human Services Department.

Brian:         Excellent. Well, thank you so much for joining us today. I really appreciate finding out something about your agency and knowing that that resource is even available. So we’ll do a little bit more detail in another recording, but I think that this is an awesome service and something that we’ve.

At Big State Home Buyers, we specialize in buying properties quickly from people and our largest demographic is actually people that are either aging out of the house or people that have inherited or caregivers that need the funds from the house to support long-term care and we interview a lot of people and like I said, I had no idea there was a public service that did this.

So thank you very much for joining us.

Deborah:   My pleasure. Thank you for having me.