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Program and Policy Areas


ACL advocates across the federal government for older adults, people with disabilities, and families and caregivers; funds services and supports provided primarily by states and networks of community-based programs; and invests in training, education, research, and innovation. We manage a variety of programs (authorized by several statutes), providing assistance on health and wellness, protecting rights and preventing abuse, supporting consumer control, strengthening the networks of community-based organizations, funding research, and much more.

You can browse all programs by name on our ACL A-Z page, or you can explore the links below to learn more about the kinds of work our programs do. 

  • Aging and Disability Networks - The aging and disability networks include national, state, and local organizations that support community living options for older adults and people with disabilities. In some cases, ACL grants fund specific programs or initiatives operated by independent organizations. In others, like those found in this section, ACL funds organizations, or networks of organizations, to provide a range of programs to meet the specific needs in their local communities.
  • Connecting People to Services - Several programs help older adults and people with disabilities find supports and services to help them with community living and integration.
  • Consumer Choice and Control - ACL believes that every person has the right to make choices and control the decisions in their lives. This right to self-determination includes decisions about where to live, decisions about work, and all the other daily decisions most adults make without a second thought. Older adults and people with disabilities are unique individuals, and the help they may need is unique, as well. These programs focus on helping ensure that the preferences and the needs of older adults and people with disabilities are at the center of the system of services and supports that enable them to live the lives they want to live.
  • Data Collection Projects - Several programs collect and analyze data to help everyone working on aging and disability issues understand the populations we serve and measure impact and effectiveness of programs.
  • Employment - ACL supports 'employment first' initiatives for people with disabilities. These programs help eliminate barriers to employment, and help people with disabilities access meaningful and integrated employment.
  • Empowering Advocacy - These programs empower individuals to advocate for their own needs, and help both individuals and families advocate at a systems level.
  • For American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians - ACL funds programs that support American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Americans in the areas of nutrition, supportive services for older adults, and caregiver services.
  • Health, Wellness, and Nutrition - ACL's health and wellness programs address behavioral health, prevention of injuries and illness, chronic disease self-management, and more. Our largest wellness program is our nutrition programs, which provide home-delivered meals and meals in congregate settings for older adults.
  • Inclusive Transportation - Learn about ACL's work to promote inclusive transportation options for disabled people and older adults.
  • Program Evaluations and Reports - ACL program evaluations collect and analyze data to assess the track record of program results, including impact and cost-benefit analysis.
  • Protecting Rights and Preventing Abuse - Several programs address abuse, neglect, exploitation, or rights violations of older adults and people with disabilities, including state protection and advocacy systems, elder justice programs, legal assistance programs, and the Long-Term Care Ombudsman program.
  • Research and Development - ACL funds research and development to generate new knowledge and promote its use to enhance community living and integration.
  • Retirement Planning and Pension Support - ACL supports the National Education and Resource Center on Women and Retirement Planning and projects for providing pension counseling and information to older adults.
  • Strengthening the Aging and Disability Networks- ACL provides grants and technical assistance to improve business practices of community-based organizations. This includes promoting evidence-based programs and practices, enhancing diversity and cultural competency, improving quality of services, and helping organizations develop the business models necessary to establish contracts to provide services paid for by Medicare, Medicaid, and private health care systems.
  • Success Stories - Learn about how some ACL programs have made a difference.
  • Support for People with Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias- ACL supports the National Alzheimer's and Dementia Resource Center, grants for long-term services and supports for people with dementia, and state efforts to expand community-level supportive services for people with Alzheimer's and related dementias.
  • Support for People with Limb Loss, Paralysis, and TBI - Three programs provide support for people affected by traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, and limb loss or difference.
  • Support to Caregivers - Programs like the National Family Caregiver Support Program and Lifespan Respite Care Program help with supporting family members who provide assistance or support to older adults and people with disabilities.
  • Volunteer Opportunities and Civic Engagement - Volunteers across the U.S. help deliver meals; escort older adults to health care services; repair and weatherize homes; provide counseling on health, nutrition, and legal issues; and serve as long-term care ombudsman.

Last modified on 01/05/2023

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