Mission and History
The Council on Aging-Southern California promotes the independence, health and dignity of older adults through compassion, education and advocacy.
Through the efforts of the Council on Aging-Southern California, our community will realize a better aging experience in finding solutions to life’s aging issues.
The Council on Aging–Southern California was founded in 1973 by a group of skilled professionals, civic leaders, and committed citizens who recognized a need to define and address community concerns regarding aging. Originally named the Orange County Council on Aging, COA-SC was the first agency in Orange County formed to address the needs of older adults. Our first accomplishment was to form the County Area Agency on Aging as mandated by the Federal Older American’s Act.
Long-Term Care Ombudsman Service
The Council on Aging was successful in acquiring the newly legislated state and federally mandated Long-Term Care Ombudsman Service (Federal Older Americans Act and State AB 2997), creating our Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program which advocates for the rights and dignity of residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
Conversion from Single Purpose to Multi-Purpose Agency
The COA Board of Directors unanimously approved a Corporate conversion from a single-purpose to a multi-purpose agency. With this conversion, the Financial Abuse Specialist Team (FAST) joined the Council to address issues of financial abuse and older adults.
HICAP Joins Agency
The Council on Aging services were expanded to include the volunteer-based Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP) serving Southern California since 1986. HICAP provides unbiased information relating to Medicare, HMOs and other health plan benefits.
The development of the Continuing Education Program became the next addition of services. The collective expertise and experience of Council on Aging staff helped establish us as a primary source for professional education topics and issues relating to vulnerable and disabled adults.
In-Home Care Services
In collaboration with Lutheran Social Services, the Council added the Linkages Case Management Program to provide outreach and services for vulnerable adults to remain living independently in their homes. Clinical in-house assessments by our case managers were used to develop individual independent-living care plans. By 2001 the Council on Aging–Southern California became the sole administrator of the Linkages program
Caring Connections Friendly Visitor Program
Funded by the County of Orange Health Care Agency, the Caring Connections Friendly Visitor Program became a service of the Council on Aging. This county-wide, volunteer-based program provides ongoing support and alleviates the physical and mental health risks linked to isolation experienced by frail older adults, and individuals with disabilities, with little or no support system.
Care Management replaces the Linkages Program
In 2010, California cut funding for the Linkages Program. The Council on Aging transitioned its case management services to the new Care Management Program. This program offers comprehensive case management services to older adults, and individuals with disabilities 18-years and older, experiencing health and aging challenges in order to improve their quality of life and independence.
Mental Health Prevention and Intervention Services’ ReConnect Program joins COA
In November of 2004 California voters passed Prop 63, the “Mental Health Services Act” (MHSA). In 2007, a portion of the funds were granted to Orange County to provide Prevention and Early Intervention Services. As a direct result, the ReConnect Socialization Program joined the Council in August 2012.
ReConnect is a county-wide program that benefits isolated adults 26+ and/or displaying symptoms of depression or other mental health issues. The program’s objective is to help individuals sustain emotional well-being through case management intervention and consistent exposure to meaningful activities, education, community engagement, and support groups.
COA Expands Beyond Orange County with HICAP
In April 2012, following recognition at the State and National level for our successful Orange County HICAP programs, COA was awarded a county-wide contract for the San Bernardino County Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP). This contract establishes COA’s first office outside Orange County.