FY 2014 State Budget
Funding increases are needed for programs to help older adults stay independent in their own home. The MI Choice Medicaid Waiver program and the Office of Services to the Aging save the state money and meet the needs of a growing senior population. Action needs to be taken today to protect Michigan seniors!
What you can do:
PLEASE contact your legislators and ask them to support the Governor’s $18 million proposed funding increase in the MI Choice Medicaid Waiver program, and a 5% increase in OSA funding. If your legislators already support this funding, be sure to say THANK YOU! A list of state Senators and Representatives for our 9 counties follows:
- The Office of Services to the Aging (OSA) has taken $10 million in funding cuts between 2009 and 2011 (27%). This at a time when more and more seniors are requiring services. The OSA provides programs such as Meals-on-Wheels, home-based and community services, and volunteer programs. These programs, funded by non-Medicaid funds, are also major contributors to keeping older adults in their own homes and out of expensive Medicaid funded nursing homes beds. The dollar savings to the state are very clear.
- Meals-on-Wheels, an OSA funded program, was cut by $3.3 million from 2009-2011. An additional $500,000 was cut from this vital program this year by the federal sequester! The value of a home delivered meal is obvious. Less apparent is the intangible benefit: a Meals-on-Wheels delivery person may be the only person an older adult sees all week. The value of that human interaction to the senior is immeasurable.
- The program saves the state money. MI Choice Medicaid Wavier program, which includes the Nursing Facility Transition program costs an average of $52/day compared to average nursing home costs of $172/day.
- The Nursing Facility Transition Program (NFT) has immediate savings. Because the program transitions individuals out of a more costly nursing facility, there is immediate savings to the state and taxpayers. Last year over 1,600 people transitioned state-wide saving Medicaid roughly $38 million.
Who to Contact:
Rick Snyder--Governor (517) 373-3400 Rick.Snyder@michigan.gov
- Winnie Brinks (517) 373-0822 email@example.com
- Jon Bumstead (517) 373-7317 JonBumstead@house.mi.gov
- Mike Callton (517) 373-0842 MikeCallton@house.mi.gov
- Brandon Dillon (517) 373-2668 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ray Franz (517) 373-0825 RayFranz@house.mi.gov
- Bob Genetski (517) 373-0836 BobGenetski@house.mi.gov
- Thomas Hooker (517) 373-2277 ThomasHooker@house.mi.gov
- Joel Johnson(517) 373-8962 email@example.com
- Peter MacGregor (517) 373-0218 PeterMacGregor@house.mi.gov
- Rick Outman(517) 373-0834 RickOutman@house.mi.gov
- Lisa Posthumus Lyons (517) 373-0846 LisaLyons@house.mi.gov
- Phil Potvin (517) 373-1747 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rob VerHeulen (517) 373-8900 RobVerHeulen@house.mi.gov
- Ken Yonker (517) 373-0840 KenYonker@house.mi.gov
- Darwin Booher--Senator (517) 373-1725 SenDBooher@senate.michigan.gov
- Judy Emmons--Senator (517) 373-3760 SenJEmmons@senate.michigan.gov
- Goeff Hansen--Senator (517) 373-1635 email@example.com
- Dave Hildenbrand--Senator (517) 373-1801 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mark Jansen--Senator (517) 373-0797 email@example.com
- Rick Jones--Senator (517) 373-3447 SenRJones@senate.michigan.gov
- Arlan Meekhof--Senator (517) 373-6920 firstname.lastname@example.org
MI Choice Accepting Clients
The MI-Choice Waiver (MI Choice) program is now accepting new clients as the waiting list will now allow individuals who qualify to receive an assessment within a few months.
MI-Choice helps individuals remain in the community who meet medical eligibility guidelines for nursing facility care. The program also offers help for those who have entered a nursing facility and need services in order to return to the community. Below are some of the eligibility requirements:
- Adults age 65 or older and certified disabled adults ages 18 to 64
- Gross income less than $2,130 per month (2013) from all sources. A spouse’s income is not counted.
- Medicaid eligible even with a spenddown or willing to become eligible.
- Participants must need one or more MI-Choice Waiver services such as personal care, homemaking, medication management, in home respite for caregivers, a personal emergency response system, etc.
Please contact AAAWM Intake department at 1-800-456-5664. We accept referrals Monday through Friday from 8 to 5.
From the Executive Director
Frail low-income older adults will receive fewer home delivered meals and other vital home care services due to implementation of the federal sequester. As of March 1, funding for Older Americans Act programs across the country was reduced approximately 5%. That means fewer services for struggling older adults who need services the most.
In this region, about $140,000 in service funding will be lost. Unfortunately, the funding reduction is impacting programs that have already taken hits. State funding for meals and home care programs was cut 28% over a recent three year period. State funding for home delivered meals is at virtually the same level as 1997. Obviously, costs have risen significantly during that time frame. And the older adult population has increased by more than 25%. Adding to the challenge of serving older adults is the reduction in senior millage funding due to declining property values.
Consequently, meals and other services have been cut. Waiting lists grow across the state and country. Older adults who have given so much to our communities go without help.
AAAWM staff hopes to offset the cuts for this year by using unallocated funding and reserves. However it will be impossible to continue that in future years if there are additional cuts. According to the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, Republicans and Democrats are so far apart on budget issues that the threat of more reductions is very real.
So if people tell you that not much has changed due to sequestration, share with them how older adults across the country are trying to get by with less. Also, contact your U.S. Senators and Congressman about the impact of sequestration. Older adults need your advocacy support.
Area Agencies on Aging Conference
The Area Agencies on Aging Association of Michigan is hosting its 26th annual conference Embracing Innovation on May 9-May 10 at the Kellog Center in East Lansing. Click here for more information.
Proposal Process Opens
Every three years an open proposal process takes place for Older Americans Act funding. During this time any incorporated entity has the opportunity to submit a proposal to provide one or more of the defined fundable services. If an agency is selected, their contract will remain in effect for three years, though funding amount may vary from year to year.
The proposal process will begin on April 8, 2013 with proposals due to the agency on May 13, 2013. Check back here for more information in April, such as proposal format.
For more information on the process, visit www.aaawm.org/providers/older_americans_act_providers
Volunteers Needed in Allegan
The Michigan Medicare/Medicaid Assistance Program (MMAP) is looking for volunteers in Allegan to help older adults navigate the Medicare and Medicaid system.
Volunteers must be patient and enjoy learning. They also need internet, phone and problem solving skills and a desire to work with older adults and individuals with disabilities.
“Our MMAP Counselors play an important role in helping people understand their coverage and walking them through complex situations,” says Karen Rozelle, Regional MMAP Coordinator. “Medicare and Medicaid can be confusing and individuals come to us to help sort out these problems so we need volunteers who like to problem solve and find the answers, but who can also communicate well with our clients.”
Volunteers are required to attend an orientation and 36 hours of training in April in Grand Rapids, but will be stationed at the Allegan County Resource Development Committee (ACRDC) at 323 Water Street.
“MMAP is a statewide organization with offices throughout Michigan,” says Rozelle. “Our Allegan volunteers have done a wonderful job of serving their community and we are looking for more dedicated individuals to take on this important role.”
For more information on this volunteer opportunity, contact Karen Rozelle at (616) 456-5664.
The Michigan Medicare/Medicaid Assistance Program (MMAP) is a non-profit organization that helps those 65 and older and those who are disabled with their Medicare and Medicaid concerns. MMAP relies on volunteers to provide education to help people make informed decisions about their health care coverage. MMAP is a state-wide program that is operated in West Michigan by the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan (AAAWM), 1279 Cedar, NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503. Offices are located throughout the nine county region served by AAAWM. Click here for more information on MMAP.
A special thank you to Magna Mirrors for their generous donation to our agency. These funds will go to address emergency one time needs for older adults throughout our nine county region.
If you would like to donate to help with emergency one time needs, visit www.aaawm.org/donate
Access to Senior Dental Care a Growing Concern
Low income older adults have limited options when looking for dental care. Only about 20% of dentists accept Medicaid and those that do are rarely accepting new patients. This forces many older adults to avoid dental care, which can cause and compound other diseases.
AAAWM has teamed up with volunteer dentists, hygienists and now students through Grand Rapids Community College Dental Clinic to provide Senior Dental Days.
Working with non-profit agencies, clients re identified based on need. Those identified receive a free dental cleaning, any necessary x-rays, screening examination and a referral if needed (efforts will be made to find a dentist to adopt them for future dental care at a free or reduced cost).
Local organizations estimated that over 1,000 seniors are in need to affordable dental care. One agency in West Michigan has a year- long waiting list and sees people line up at 4 a.m. to try and get an appointment.
AAAWM would like to expand Senior Dental Days but we need volunteer dentists, hygienists and community members to help make this a reality. If you would like to volunteer, contact the agency at (616) 456-5664 and ask for Senior Dental Days.
How Adult Day Services (ADS) Can Help Someone with Dementia
A dementia diagnosis doesn’t automatically mean packing your loved one’s bags and moving them into a nursing facility. Many older adults are being cared for at home and having dementia doesn’t have to change that decision. In fact, an Adult Day Services (ADS) program can help make this a reality while benefiting both the care recipient and the family caregiver.
What are Adult Day Services (ADS)?
ADS are offered at a location that is typically open during daytime hours and provides activities for older adults and those with developmental disabilities who are unable to be left alone without some type of supervision. Programs provide a structured environment that includes activities and social interaction. Some programs have music therapy, craft projects and social groups as well as offering a noon meal and transportation. They also provide a break for the caregiver with the confidence that their loved one is in good hands.
Benefits to the Caregiver
ADS programs offer numerous benefits for both the caregiver and care recipient. Providing care for someone can be very stressful. Often a family caregiver is also working and/or raising children while caring for an older adult. An ADS program is a safe environment for the senior and it allows both the caregiver and recipient to get a break from one another. The caregiver can use this time to simply relax, run errands or do something for themselves.
Many caregivers use an Adult Day Program while they are at work. Different programs even offer bathing services and/or other personal care options, which can be a benefit to both the caregiver and the care recipient.
“We had an elderly wife who was caring for her husband. She enjoyed the respite the adult day provided, but seriously began to think about placement in a nursing home because she could not get him to take a shower,” said Kendra Schumaker, Executive Director at SarahCare Adult Day Services. “Our staff offered to shower him while he was here during the day, but his wife was reluctant, thinking that he would not be agreeable. She agreed to let us give it a try, and when she came to pick him up she had tears of joy because he was clean and they would not have to fight about it at home.”
“Part of what adult day does is let people return to their previous life roles. In other words the wife can now be the wife and not the nursemaid, caregiver, etc. They can go home, have dinner, and she can be assured that her husband is not only clean, but he did not fall in the shower at home.”
Benefits to the Care Recipient
While at an Adult Day Program, the care recipient is able to enjoy a wide variety of structured activities that they may not be able to do while at home. Participants benefit from additional socialization and often form strong relationships with other participants and staff.
“We have an amazing staff that really bonds with our seniors,” says Teresa Schlump, Director at Side by Side Adult Day Services. “This helps the older adult feel more confident because coming to the center is like spending time with friends. It also makes it easier for the caregiver because it’s an enjoyable experience for their loved one.”
Sign Me Up! What do I do?
The best way to get started is to take time to visit an ADS program. Schedule a tour and talk with the Director or other staff. Some ADS programs even allow interested families to try the service out for a day (at little or no cost) to make sure it’s a good fit.
Because each location offers different activities and services, individuals need to contact the organization directly to find out about costs and qualifications. The Kent County Senior Millage may help offset the cost for families with lower incomes. For more information, including costs and how to qualify under the Kent County Senior Millage, contact one of the Adult Day Centers listed below.
Who to Contact:
- CareTree Adult Day Services (operated by Gerontology Network) (616) 464-3665
- Side by Side Adult Day Services (operated by Hope Network) (616) 235-2910
SarahCare Adult Day Services (616) 530-6700
November Family Caregiver Series a Success
The Caregiver Resource Network’s Family Caregiver Series was a “great success,” says Anne Ellermets, Contract Coordinator at Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan and staff liaison to the group. The Caregiver Resource Network (CRN) provided a month long list of complimentary activities geared towards family caregivers. Events included everything from a pie contest to local experts, authors and family portraits. Topics included financial and legal concerns, end of life issues as well as caregiver stress and Alzheimer ’s disease. Most of all the CRN feels they were able to reach a variety of family caregivers through the series.
“Caregivers often have hectic schedules and may not feel they have the time to get additional information or take time for themselves,” says Ellermets. “The fact that we had nearly 500 people attend events over the month speaks not only to the volume of family caregivers, but to the fact that information like this is needed and wanted. The organizations involved did a great job of providing interesting, engaging and entertaining events for the caregivers to attend.”
The CRN is a collaboration of over 110 community organizations helping serve caregivers throughout West Michigan. For more information on their programs and resources, visits www.caregiverresource.net.