The DEA was established in 1977 (under RIGL 42-66-1) in response to the growing needs of Rhode Island’s older population. DEA is the state’s primary agency devoted to the development, implementation and monitoring of a comprehensive system of community-based programs and services for seniors. The Department is also designated as the state’s single planning and service area agency on aging under the provisions of the Older Americans Act.
To serve the needs of our constituency, we must have a mission. The DEA's mission is to ensure excellence in service, advocacy, and public policy dedicated to the needs of older Rhode Islanders, families and caregivers. As seen in the 2000 Census, there is an expanding population of older citizens in Rhode Island. The 2000 Census counted just over one million Rhode Islanders. More than 190,000 were age 60 and older. This represents 18.3 percent of our population and we rank eighth in the nation in this category. More than 152,000 Rhode Islanders are age 65 and older. This is 14.5% of our population and we rank 6th in the nation for this category.
Rhode Island residents can dial any DEA telephone number from their residential phone without incurring a toll charge on their telephone bill.