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Senior Advocacy in Action Alert

11/17/2011 2:15pm

Your action is needed to help prevent elder abuse!

Five years ago, a Governor-appointed Task Force of aging experts released a set of recommendations on addressing the growing, and mostly hidden, problem of elder abuse, neglect and exploitation.  Since then, many bills have been introduced, but have died due to inaction by one or both houses.  Similar bills have been introduced in 2011.  We want legislators to get the job done this year to prevent abuse and get justice for victims.  

The Senate passed a package of 18 bills in early November.  Here are a few examples:

  • Senate Bill 461 would prevent an abuser from inheriting his/her victim’s assets. 
  • Senate Bill 454 would allow vulnerable adults to provide videotaped testimony similar to laws protecting children from having to face their abusers. 
  • Senate Bill 466 would require law enforcement to publicize a missing elder similar to the Amber Alerts used for missing children 

 

Fourteen (14) of these bills are now in the House Families, Children and Seniors Committee, chaired by Rep. Ken Kurtz, and the other four bills are in the House Banking and Financial Services Committee, chaired by Rep. Marty Knollenberg.  The bills have to be reported out of these committees, and then be approved by the entire House before they can go to Governor Snyder for his signature.  Advocates are pushing for the bills to become law by Christmas as a present for older Michiganians. 

Whate You Can Do:

Contact the Chairmen of these two committees along with the Speaker of the House and ask that the bills be reported out of these committees as soon as possible!  Also contact your own Representative and ask him/her to advocate with Kurtz, Knollenberg and Bolger.

 

Here are some talking points:

  • About 80,000 Michigan elders fall victim to some form of abuse each year.
  • Last year, Adult Protective Services received 19,000 calls reporting abuse, up from 12,000 calls in 2000.
  • 70% of abusers are ‘trusted ones,’ including spouses, children, grandchildren and friends.  Victims come from all walks of life and income classes, as witnessed by Mickey Rooney’s testimony before the Congress.
  • Michigan’s high rate of unemployment is fueling the financial exploitation of the elderly.

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Senior Odyssey

10/18/2011 1:00pm

Senior Odyssey of the Mind teams are now forming and they need you! Click here for more details on how to get involved and join in the fun!

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Author to Speak to Caregivers

9/26/2011 11:30am

“Caregivers: Who’s Caring For You” will be entertaining as Michigan author, Lynn Alexander, teaches caregivers how to take care of yourself, reduce stress and find strategies to get you through, even if you are in the “Sandwich Generation.”

The event will take place on Thursday, November 10, 2011 at the Grand Rapids Public Library’s Ryerson Auditorium, Level 3 (111 Library Street) from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Registration is encouraged at registration@aaawm.orgor (616) 456-5664

Click here for more information.

This event is sponsored by the Caregiver Resource Network, Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan and the Grand Rapids Public Library.

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Seeking Letters of Intent

9/19/2011 10:00am

The Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan (AAAWM) is seeking Letters of Intent to provide Long Term Care Ombudsman and Elder Abuse Prevention Education services funded under the Older Americans Act in Region 8. 

Region 8 includes the nine counties of Allegan, Ionia, Kent, Lake, Mason, Mecosta, Montcalm, Newaygo and Osceola. This Letter of Intent is for one year, Fiscal Year 2012.  The funding awarded will be for October 1, 2011 through September 30, 2012.

Click here for service definitions.

Funding levels available are:

  • Long Term Care Ombudsman                               $80.902
  • Elder Abuse Prevention Education                      $14,027

 

The Letter of Intent is Due Friday September 23, 2011 at 12:00 p.m. noon to the Area Agency on Aging of Western MI, 1279 Cedar NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 or to proposal@aaawm.orgClick here for the Letter of Intent.

Letters of Intent will be reviewed and appropriate agencies will be selected to continue in the proposal process.

Questions can be directed to Jackie O’Connor, AAAWM Assistant Director at 616.222.7002 or Jackie@aaawm.org.

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Learn Safe Medical Transfers

9/12/2011 11:00am

Many caregivers also help their loved ones get out of the bathtub, get into chairs or walk throughout the home. On Thursday September 22, 2011, Easter Seals will teach the proper techniques to make medical transfers a safer and easier process.  The training will take place from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Easter Seals (4065 Saladin Drive SE, Grand Rapids), lunch will be provided.

 

Registration is required and complimentary respite is available upon request. To qualify for this training, either the caregiver or the care recipient must be age 60 or older.

 

Email your name and the class title (Safe Medical Transfers) to registration@aaawm.orgor call the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan at (616 ) 456-5664. Registration is not complete until you receive confirmation.

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Hunger Action Week

9/6/2011 10:40am

Hunger Action Week, September 13-17 is part of a national campaign led by Feeding America to raise awareness and encourage action against hunger. AAAWM and the Senior Meals Program is encouraging individuals to check on senior neighbors, family and friends to make sure they have access to proper nutrition. For more information, including other events taking place during Hunger Action Week, and other ways to get involved, visit HunGRy? Local participants include: Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank, Kids' Food Basket, YMCA Farmers Market, United Church Outreach Ministries (UCOM), Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan, Senior Meals Program, Access of West Michigan and the Food & Nutrition Coalition (formerly the Kent County ENTF Food Subcommittee)

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Senior Advocacy in Action Alert

8/17/2011 3:40pm

Older Americans have a lot at stake as Congress launches its twelve member committee charged with developing a plan to reduce the federal deficit.

Michigan is the only state with two members on the special committee – Congressman Dave Camp (R-Midland), who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, and Congressman Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) who chairs the House Energy & Commerce Committee.  This means that advocates in our state can have a bigger impact on the recommendations coming out of the committee.

 

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

Contact your U.S. Representative, along with Senators Stabenow and Levin, and urge that a balanced approach be used to reduce the federal deficit, meaning an approach that includes new revenues.  Two bipartisan committees that have studied this issue both concluded that cuts alone cannot balance the federal budget without devastating programs that aid seniors, children, veterans or other vulnerable people - revenue increases must be part of the solution. 

Congress’ website at www.congress.orgwill help in identifying your U.S. Representative and allow you to send messages directly to him/her, as well as Senators Stabenow and Levin.  Or use the list below for contact information - messages can be sent through the websites. 

U.S. Representatives from Michigan (Washington D.C. area code is 202): 

U.S. Senators from Michigan: 

Background:  

Older Americans have a lot at stake as Congress launches its twelve member committee charged with developing a plan to reduce the federal deficit.  Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the Older Americans Act and other federal programs are a social safety net for the growing population of older Americans.  They are frequently identified as ‘bankrupting’ the federal budget and being unsustainable in the long-term.  However, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (www.cbpp.org), tax cuts are the primary reason the federal budget is now out-of-balance. 

The committee is charged with developing a plan by November 23, 2011 to reduce the federal deficit by $1.2 - $1.5 trillion.  Everything is on the table for the committee to consider: tax increases; closing tax loopholes; cuts in entitlement programs including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid; and cuts in discretionary programs like the Older Americans Act.  More than half of the committee must approve the plan for it to proceed to the U.S. House and Senate for votes.  The plan must be voted up-or-down with no amendments.  Congress has until December 23, 2011 to approve the plan. 

If the committee can’t agree on a plan, or the plan isn’t approved by Congress, automatic cuts will take place in 2013.  Half of the cuts would come from defense & homeland security programs and the other half from discretionary programs.  The cuts would not affect Social Security, Medicaid or a few other low-income programs.  They would not cut Medicare benefits either, but they would cut payments to Medicare providers by up to 2%.  This could affect access to physicians and other providers for people on Medicare.  If the committee passes a plan that falls below the minimum $1.2 trillion, automatic cuts would be made to bring total savings to the $1.2 trillion level. 

 Talking Points: 

  • The deficit should be addressed through shared sacrifice by those able to contribute.  The budget should not be balanced on the backs of frail and low-income older Americans who are least able to afford cuts.
  • The committee should follow the lead of the bipartisan Bowles-Simpson Debt Commission, which embraced the principle of protecting the truly disadvantaged, providing a robust, affordable, fair and sustainable safety net.1
  • Any changes to Social Security or Medicare should not hurt the disadvantaged.  Even with these programs, over one-third (37%) of older Michiganians do not have enough income to cover the basics like housing, food and health care.2
  • The Committee should reject proposals that undermine or weaken the current structure of Medicaid, which provides health care for low income individuals and families.  Medicaid is the primary funding source for long term care including nursing homes and home and community-based services.  Proposals to block grant Medicaid or freeze Medicaid spending should be rejected.  There are other cost-saving approaches that should be pursued, however, such as reducing institutionalization by expanding home and community-based services.  Baby Boomers are a demographic tidal wave, and will place significant financial demands on Medicaid if changes aren’t made in the way we provide long term care.
  • The Committee should reject proposals to cut the Older Americans Act. Investments in meals-on-wheels, home care, caregiver supports and other services will help our aging population live independently in their own homes, stay out of nursing homes and off the Medicaid program.

  

1 National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. (December, 2010). The Moment of Truth: Report of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. Retrieved August 15, 2011 from National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform web site: www.FiscalCommission.gov.

2Jankowski, T.B. et. al. (July 20, 2011). Invisible Poverty: New Measure Unveils Financial Hardship in Michigan’s Older Adult Population (Working Paper Series, No. 3).  Retrieved August 15, 2011 from Seniors Count web site: http://www.seniorscount.org.

Information provided by the Area Agencies on Aging Association of Michigan

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Technology Help for Caregivers

8/15/2011 2:10pm

The next summer caregiver class will help individuals with their specific technology questions. Teenagers in the WSC Reverse Mentoring program will work one-on-one with caregivers to help with technology concerns. Class will be held Thursday August 25, 2011 from 10:00 until 11:30 at the Wyoming Senior Center (WSC), 2380 DeHoop Ave SW, Wyoming, MI 49509.

Registration is required. Email your name and title of class to registration@aaawm.org or call the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan at (616) 456-5664. 

Either the caregiver or the care recipient must be age 60 or older.  Complimentary Respite is available upon request.

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Senior Advocacy in Action Alert

8/9/2011 4:00pm

Action is needed on elder abuse bills! Individuals are encouraged to contact legislators to get legislation passed this year.

Five years ago, a Governor-appointed Task Force of aging experts released a set of recommendations on addressing the growing, and mostly hidden, problem of elder abuse, neglect and exploitation.  Since then, many bills have been introduced, but have died due to inaction by one or both houses.  Similar bills have been introduced in 2011.  We want legislators to get the job done this year to prevent abuse and get justice for victims.  

 

What You Can Do:

Contact these Committee Chairs and ask them to take action on the elder abuse bills in their committees this fall:   

Background:

 There are more than 40 bills dealing with abuse, here are just a few examples: 

  • House Bill 4331 and Senate Bill 461 would prevent an abuser from inheriting his/her victim’s assets.  
  • House Bill 4327 and Senate Bill 454 would allow vulnerable adults to provide videotaped testimony similar to laws protecting children from having to face their abusers. 
  • House Bill 4345 and Senate Bill 468 would allow a third party to file a complaint with law enforcement regarding abuse, even though the abused person refuses to file a complaint.
  • House Bill 4332 and Senate Bill 466 would require law enforcement to publicize a missing elder similar to the Amber Alerts used for missing children 

Talking points: 

  • About 80,000 Michigan elders fall victim to some form of abuse each year.
  • Last year, Adult Protective Services received 19,000 calls reporting abuse, up from 12,000 calls in 2000.
  • 70% of abusers are ‘trusted ones,’ including spouses, children, grandchildren and friends.  Victims come from all walks of life and income classes, as witnessed by Mickey Rooney’s testimony before the Congress.
  • Michigan’s high rate of unemployment is fueling the financial exploitation of the elderly.

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Summer Classes for Caregivers

7/29/2011 11:00am

Are you caring for an older adult or are you an older adult taking care of someone else? Attend one (or all) of the complimentary trainings in the Summer 2011 Caregiver Classes to help you become a better caregiver; you don’t have to walk the caregiver path alone.

 

The Caregiver Resource Network, is sponsoring three classes this summer to help family caregivers. Topics include organization, technology and medical transfers.

 

The first class is August 9, 2011 from 1:00 until 2:30.  Experts from The Organizing Specialists will give you tips and tricks to get started and get organized.

 

Click Here for more information on any of the classes

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Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan
3215 Eaglecrest Dr NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525
Phone: 616-456-5664 or 888-456-5664 • Fax: 616-456-5692

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