Aging Services Network

This guide, intended for team members of the aging services network, outlines common definitions, best practices, and more.

Table of Contents

Aging Services Access Points (ASAPs) and Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs)

There are 24 ASAPs across the Commonwealth, all contracted with the Executive Office of Elder Affairs, that provide programs and services designed specifically to support adults aged 60 and older, and their caregivers. From exploring care options and assistance with nutrition and food security, to support with housing, health, financial wellness, transportation, and safety, ASAPs are there to help.  

Of the 24 ASAPs, all except Boston, Worcester, and Brockton also serve as AAAs, which are federally designated agencies that also address the needs and concerns of aging adults and their caregivers. AAAs offer a variety of services funded through the Older Americans Act, which includes information, resources, and options counseling, making it possible for people to choose which services help them age in the community of their choice. 

ASAPs provide free information on resources available to people aged 60 and older across the state. Altogether there are 24 ASAPs whose purpose is to connect residents to useful programs and services such as in-home assessments, care plan development, home care services, protective services, home-delivered and community meals, and caregiver support.  

 Additionally, ASAPs provide the following services:  

  • Home care program - Helping older adults to age in their own homes, safely, independently, and comfortably. 
  • Senior nutrition program – Providing healthy home delivered and community group meals for older adults. 
  • Options Counseling – Connecting older adults in need of short-term advice and guidance to available services in their community. 
  • Family caregiver support program – Offering programs to help people navigate the challenges of being a caregiver. 
  • Protective services – Working to help eliminate or alleviate the abuse or neglect of an older adult.   
  • Community Transition Liaison Program – Helping older adults who may be in a nursing facility transition back into their community. 
  • Supportive and community housing – Helping program residents with managing issues and social engagement. 

Councils on Aging (COAs) and Adult Community Centers

Councils on Aging are municipal entities that oversee local adult community centers that provide programming, services, and support for older adults in their community. Each Council on Aging determines its own priorities based on local needs and resources, making adult community centers, sometimes called senior centers, a welcoming place for older adults who wish to remain independent in their community.  

Altogether there are 350 Councils on Aging; all municipal agencies that provide support, local outreach, social and health services, advocacy, and resources to older adults, their families, and caregivers. Working together and often supported by a volunteer network, Councils on Aging and adult community centers serve as a link to older adults by providing important support services in the community.  

Council on Aging and Adult Community Center offerings may include:  

  • Outreach - Providing services that older adults may not otherwise have access to. 
  • Transportation - Providing safe and dependable transportation for errands, appointments, and more. 
  • Meals (home-delivered or community) - Providing healthy home-delivered and community group meals for older adults. 
  • Health screenings - Sharing resources for routine or specific health screenings and preventative care. 
  • Health insurance counseling - Helping older adults understand their existing health insurance or find new coverage. 
  • Socialization - Creating opportunities for social connections that may give older adults a better sense of self, security, and safety. For example, book clubs. 
  • Fitness, wellness, and recreation activities - Helping older adults be independent and social while improving strength and flexibility.  
  • Life-long learning - Providing unique educational experiences and opportunities that extend beyond the traditional. For example, art classes. 

Behavioral Health Services 

About Behavioral Health Services  

The Executive Office of Elder Affairs funds behavioral health services and programs for adults aged 60+ and their caregivers who need mental health and/or substance use support. Programs are available throughout Massachusetts and vary slightly based on the specific needs of each community.

Services include:

Behavioral Health Outreach for Aging Populations

Through this program, behavioral health clinicians provide in-depth assessments and develop care plans that may include individualized counseling, care coordination to community resources, and referrals. This behavioral health program comes right to the consumer and works with the older adults for six to nine months, or as needed. Clinicians can meet the older adult in their home, or at a location that is comfortable for the consumer, such as a local park. 

Healthy IDEAS (Identifying Depression, Empowering Activities for Senior) 

Healthy IDEAS is designed as a practical intervention to detect and reduce signs and symptoms of depression in older adults. The program aims to empower at-risk older adults through involvement in meaningful activities. Healthy IDEAS is available to older adults enrolled in the Massachusetts Home Care Program. 

Certified Older Adult Peer Specialists (COAPS) 

Peer Specialists trained on topics including the aging process, suicide, substance use, dementia, physical illness, mental health, and aging in community, provide support, either in-person or remotely, for older adults with mental health challenges. COAPS is available to older adults enrolled in the Massachusetts Home Care Program. The program can also be offered virtually.  

Advocacy & Navigating Care in the Home with Ongoing Risks (ANCHOR) 

Providing time-intensive, rigorous care management for older adults, with or without a behavioral health diagnosis, who are at risk of institutionalization or homelessness due to the inability to accept or retain services. ANCHOR is available to older adults enrolled in the Massachusetts Home Care Program. 

Additionally, the following supports are available to Massachusetts residents of all ages:

Community Behavioral Health Centers (CBHCs)  

There are 31 CBHCs across Massachusetts that offer a wide range of mental health and substance use treatment programs. 24/7 in-person crisis support is immediate, confidential, and available for all MassHealth members and MA residents, regardless of insurance status.


The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline offers 24/7 call, text and chat access to trained crisis counselors who can help with a suicidal, substance use, and/or mental health crisis, as well as any other kind of emotional distress. The service is also available for anyone worried about a friend or family member who may need crisis support.

Behavioral Health Help Line (BHHL) 

BHHL connects individuals and families across Massachusetts to a full range of treatment services for mental health and substance use including outpatient, urgent, and immediate crisis care.


Funded by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, MassOptions is a free phone and online chat service that helps connect aging adults and their families or caregivers with quality aging and disability services, agencies, and organizations in your community. MassOptions’ trained specialists have the knowledge to point you in the right direction and help you find the services you need.   

Not sure where to start? Our representatives are here to help you find the best options for your individual needs and make sure you get all of the information available to you. MassOptions is available in 100+ languages. 

MassOptions can provide:   

  • Assistance finding a local aging or disability service 
  • Assistance connecting aging adults with the care they need 
  • Assistance identifying local organizations to best meet the caller’s need(s) 

To contact MassOptions, call 800-243-4636 or visit  

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