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NWRDC History


The Dancing Sky Area Agency on Aging is 1 of 7 
programs of the Northwest Regional Development
Commission (NWRDC). 


It is the NWRDC's goal to supplement efforts by local
units of government to maintain our economic strength
and improve the quality of life in Northwest Minnesota.
Serving the counties of Kittson, Marshall, Norman,
Pennington, Polk, Red Lake and Roseau.


In accordance with the Minnesota Regional Development Act of 1969, the NWRDC was established to provide technical assistance to the local units of government in their region by performing a variety of unique services based on the needs of the region. They partner with numerous state and federal agencies to obtain and administer grants for programs and projects at the local level.


The NWRDC is governed by a commission composed of elected officials and special interest groups serves as an advocate for local governments in Northwest Minnesota.

Programs include Aging, Arts, Emergency Operations, Enterprise Loan Fund, Transportation, Community Development and Economic Development.


These programs were set up to reflect priority work items of the time and relationships were established with the state and federal agencies that could provide assistance with local projects. Programs and work priorities have changed in response to economic and social trends; but, the central mission of supporting efforts by cities, counties, townships, businesses and individuals to improve living, working and natural resource conditions in Northwest Minnesota has remained the same.

The Commission has worked to establish a manner of operation which reflects and compliments the independent, progressive style of Northwest Minnesota.


Dancing Sky AAA History


Throughout their history, Minnesota’s Area Agencies on Aging have been focal points for community support for people as they age. Area Agencies on Aging across the country are part of the Aging Network created by Congress in the Older Americans Act (OAA) of 1965. The legislation established federal grants to states for community planning and social services, research and development projects and personnel training in the field of aging. The monies are award to local organizations by Area Agencies on Aging.

Older Americans Act


The OAA is the major vehicle for organizing and delivering social and nutrition services to older adults and their caregivers. The OAA also funds services that protect the rights of older persons such as the long-term care ombudsman program (administered by the Minnesota Board on Aging).

The OAA authorizes a wide array of programs administered through Area Agencies on Aging, including:

  • Nutrition programs in the community and for individuals who are homebound

  • Programs that serve native American elders

  • Services targeted at low-income minority elders

  • Health promotion and disease prevention activities

  • In-home services for frail elders


The 2000, the Older Americans Act added the National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP). NFCSP supports individuals caring for older adults and grandparents raising grandchildren.


In 2006, Congress provided resources to implement consumer-centered and cost-effective long-term care strategies. The act empowered the aging services network to implement these strategies through a three-pronged program encompassing person-centered access to information, evidence-based disease prevention and health promotion activities, and enhanced nursing home diversion services.



2016 Reauthorization of the Older Americans Act

The act was most recently reauthorized in 2016 and key provisions included improving coordination of Aging and Disability Resource Centers with AAAs. This is the model in currently used in Minnesota. It includes efforts to detect elder abuse through multiple entry points including through the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, and inclusion of behavioral health in the definition of mental health to better incorporate the Aging Network’s recognition of substance abuse.

For more on the evolution of federal programs for older adults, view the Historical Evolution of Programs for Older Americans on the federal Administration on Aging website.



Senior LinkAge Line®

In 1996, the Minnesota Board on Aging launched the Senior LinkAge Line and established call centers in six of the seven Minnesota Area Agencies on Aging.


The Senior LinkAge Line provides a telephone connection for older adults, giving them access to information and assistance.

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