Since the early 1980s, service providers and area agencies on aging, that is, the aging network, have developed a number of strengths as they built a community-based long-term-care system in most states. Many area agencies and providers now have the capacity to assess the needs of older persons, identify appropriate services, and administer cost-effective community programs while operating within fixed, capped budgets. They have also been able to identify and maintain roles for informal caregivers, draw on community resources through donations and the use of volunteers, and create substantial political support. In this article we argue that the aging network should draw on these strengths to develop integrated long-term-care systems designed to shift the balance of state long-term-care systems from institutional to home- and community-based services. We also argue that the nonprofit aging network, because it is made up of area agencies on aging and service providers, provides a potentially more effective framework for the integration of long-term-care resources than do proprietary managed care organizations.
– The Gerontologist