NASUA, which represents the nation’s 56 officially designated state and territorial agencies on aging, has announced a name change. Those in the professional aging community know this organization well, so don’t get confused when you start seeing “NASUAD” in place of NASUA. The name change is consistent with a national movement to bring disability resources into the umbrella of state agencies on aging. The thought process behind this push is that doing so more accurately represents long-term care services in its totality, that such services are not restricted to our elders. Their press release states:
In keeping with its mission to design, improve, and sustain state systems delivering home and community based services and supports for the elderly and individuals with disabilities, the NASUA membership voted overwhelmingly in support of a proposal to change the name of the association to the National Association of States United for Aging and Disabilities, NASUAD.
The change was made, in part, to accurately reflect the evolving role of state aging agencies in the delivery and administration of long term services and supports, and to streamline the coordination and provision of these services across the continuum of care.
When first established through the Older Americans Act (OAA), state units on aging were primarily responsible for the administration of OAA services within the aging network. Recently, federal legislation, increased reliance on additional funding sources, and the economic downturn have dramatically impacted and increased the scope of services states are called upon to provide, and their ability to do so. As the need for long-term services has expanded, so has the role of the state aging agency, with nearly 65 percent of the states serving both seniors and individuals with disabilities as of October, 2009. James Toews, NASUA Vice President and Assistant Director of the Oregon Department of Human Services, Seniors and People with Physical Disabilities, recognizes the significance of the name change, saying, “This is a pivotal time in our nation’s history. As an organization, we are looking forward to working with members of the aging and disability communities to emphasize the importance of a comprehensive long-term care system.” NASUA’s Executive Director, Martha Roherty, echoes these sentiments, “We welcome collaboration with our partners in the aging and disability communities as we work to further strengthen relationships at the national, state and local levels.”
This transition will be phased-in over the coming months. In the interim, please visit www.nasua.org for additional information.