The older Americans Act of 1965 identified a series of broad objectives aimed at improving the lives of older Americans. In 1972, the act was amended to create a national nutrition program, and to authorize grants to public and nonprofit agencies for the development of congregate meal services for the elderly. In 1973, the Act was further amended to create a network of Area Agencies on Aging (AAA's), which were given the major responsibility for planning, coordinating, and advocating local programs that would benefit older people. Out of this Act, the Vermont Office on Aging was created and it, in turn, designated seven Area Agencies throughout Vermont. In 1977 a consolidation took place resulting in five Area Agencies. The Southwestern Vermont Council on Aging was one of the five and, as such, was given the responsibility that continues today- that of carrying out the Older Americans Act mandates for persons sixty and older in its defined Planning and Service Area (PSA). This area encompasses the southwestern corner of Vermont and covers most of Bennington and Rutland counties. Exceptions to this are the towns of Pittsfield, Readsboro, Searsburg and Winhall. Elders in these towns are served by neighboring Area Agencies.
The Southwestern Vermont Council on Aging is sponsored by a private, non-profit, tax exempt organization called the Southwestern Vermont Council on Aging, Inc. The organization is governed by a Board of Directors. Elections are held at the Council's annual meeting early December. The majority of board members must be over 60 years of age.