The North Central Texas Area Agency on Aging has launched a new program developed with Aetna to help older adults and caregivers manage their finances.

The Area Agency on Aging is part of a national network funded by the federal and state government, and works to provide older adults and caregivers with information and services at no charge, Director of Aging Programs Doni Green said. The newly developed program, termed Financial Fitness for Older Adults, got its start in late 2021.

The program consists of six modules covering topics that include developing a spending and savings plan, using health care wisely, avoiding scams and unfair loans, learning about Medicaid, and more, according to the organization’s website. Adults age 60 and older in the organization’s 14-county coverage area in North Texas are eligible to participate in the free program, totaling more than 500,000 eligible people, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

“We really wanted a service that would make a lasting difference for people who were struggling to meet basic needs,” Green said.

The goal of the program is to offer information and resources that can help adults age 60 and older to take control of their finances especially if they are affected by inflation, Green said. The program is coordinated in individual sessions that are primarily conducted remotely but can be held in-person. The program is spaced out over several weeks and is conducted by a financial fitness coach who can offer information and resources while remaining respectful of the participants’ financial goals, Green said.“Talking about money is really awkward and sensitive, and a lot of our identity is kind of tied up into how we spend our money,” Green said.The program took inspiration from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporations’ Money Smart financial education program, Green said. The FDIC’s Money Smart program focuses on helping people of all ages enhance their financial skills, according to its website, but the agency opted to develop its own program to directly address the needs of older adults, Green said.

“Our goal was to come up with not only short-term resources ... but a pathway to a longer-term strategy,” Green said.

The program is primarily funded by the Older Americans Act as well as contributions from Aetna, Green said. Participants who complete at least four of the six modules can receive a $150 Walmart gift card that was donated by Aetna while supplies last.

To learn more about the program, contact Benefits Counselor Monique Snipe at 817-695-9166 or [email protected]