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Kent County Senior Millage Letter of Intent No Longer Accepted

8/7/2012 11:00am

Kent County Senior Millage Letters of Intent were due on July 30, 2012 for the 2013 funding process.  The Kent County Millage Review Committee is reviewing the documents and will notify those who have been selected to submit a full proposal. 

Letters of Intent for will not be accepted again until July 1, 2013 for the 2014 funding process.

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Kent County Senior Millage Letters of Intent

6/27/2012 3:50pm

AAAWM is accepting Letters of Intent for 2013 Kent County Senior Millage funds.  Letters of Intent are required for all new agencies, as well as for current millage funded agencies who wish to add a new service. The letter is due to AAAWM no later than 12:00 p.m. on Monday, July 30, 2012. Clicke here to access the Letter of Intent

There will be an informational meeting to answer any questions about the Letter of Intent on Tuesday, July 17, 2012 at 1:00 p.m. in the AAAWM conference room A at 1279 Cedar NE, Grand Rapids, MI. Questions can be submitted prior to the meeting to proposal@aaawm.org.  Questions will not be answered outside this meeting, however, answers to any submitted questions will be shared.  Please do not ask AAAWM Contract Coordinators any direct questions, as they are unable to respond to individual inquiries

Letters of Intent will be reviewed by the Kent County Millage Review Committee (KCMRC).

Agencies will be notified by August 10, 2012 if they are permitted to complete a full proposal.  Proposals will be due September 10, 2012.  Meetings with the KCMRC will be October 8, 9 or 10, 2012.  Please save those dates to ensure your availability to give a short presentation to the KCMRC.

Continuation Funding Forms

Current service providers will receive continuation of funding forms in early August.  You will also be meeting with the KCMRC on the above October dates.

A 3 - 4% decrease in millage funding is expected for 2013 compared to the $6.4 million allocated in 2012.

Funding decisions are guided by current needs and community priorities.  To learn more go to providers/kent_county_senior_millage_providers  and look under Resources.

 

Questions about Continuation Funding Forms can be directed to your contract coordinator or Jackie O’Connor at 616.222.7002 or at Jackie@aaawm.org.

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Millage Funding Important Dates

6/12/2012 10:30am

The 2013 Kent County Senior Millage funding process will begin July 1, 2012.  Unfortunately another millage decrease is projected for 2013.  The amount will be released in July. 

 

Here are dates to remember for the 2013 Kent County Senior Millage (KCSM) funding process:

  • July 1, 2011 – Letter of Intent released.  Only new providers or current KCSM providers requesting new services should submit a Letter of Intent.-CLOSED
  • Monday July 30, 2012 @ 12:00 noon – Letters of Intent due.CLOSED
  • August 10, 2012 – Continuation Funding Forms released.  These are to be completed by every current service provider who wishes to request funds for 2013.  No exceptions.
  • August 10, 2012 – Proposal released for new services or new service providers.  Proposals will only be issued to agencies who have submitted a Letter of Intent and who have been approved by the KCMRC to proceed in the funding process.
  • September 10, 2012 @ 12:00 p.m. – Continuation Funding Forms and Proposals due.
  • October 8, 9, and 10, 2012 –Oral Presentations scheduled with the KCMRC.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Jackie or your Contract Coordinator.  If you are considering submitting a Letter of Intent, I strongly urge you to discuss your idea with us prior to July 1, 2012

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Comments Needed for Annual Plan

5/24/2012 1:30pm

The Draft FY 2013 Area Implementation Plan (AIP) is ready for public comment.   The Plan describes how federal Older Americans Act and state funds will be spent to support community-based services for older adults in Allegan, Ionia, Kent, Lake, Mason, Mecosta, Montcalm, Newaygo and Osceola counties.  Older persons, service providers, elected officials, advocates, and other interested parties are invited to review and comment on the proposed Plan at a public hearing which will be conducted on:

Monday June 4, 2012
1:00 pm

Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan
1279 Cedar Street NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
616.456.5664

AAAWM will also accept written comments on the Draft FY 2013 AIP that are received by June 10, 2012.  Written comments may be sent to AAAWM at the above address, submitted at the hearing, or emailed to AAAWM at AIPlan@aaawm.org.

The hearing will include a brief overview and highlights of the FY 13 AIP, with the majority of the time allotted for public review and comment.   We encourage participants to come to the hearing with comments and questions.

Click here to access the Draf FY 2013 Area Implementation Plan

For additional information about the hearing, or provisions of the Plan, contact Sandra Ghoston-Jones at (616) 222-7012.  We look forward to hearing your comments on our proposed Plan to respond to the needs of older adults, adults with disabilities, and their family members residing in Region 8.

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Male Caregiver Cooking Class

5/24/2012 10:15am

A new class for male caregivers will start in Kent County in July. The class will help male caregivers brush up on their kitchen skills, or help them develop new ones.

Participants will also learn how to plan a menu, ways to make meal time less stressful and how to follow a recipe. Additional community resources will also be presented.

"What we have seen in recent male caregiver classes is that many men were not as involved in meal planning or cooking in the past. Now they are taking care of their spouses and trying to learn how to do all of these tasks and it can be overwhelming," says Staci Shell, Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Contract Coordinator at AAAWM and instructor for the class. "Our hope is that by helping them conquer the kitchen, we will relieve some of their stress, make meal time a much smoother process and help them meet other male caregivers going through the same struggles."

Respite is available and the class lasts four weeks. A second session is planned in Kent County for September. The goal is to eventually offer more classes and expand into other counties.

For more information on the classes, including how to register, click here.

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Senior Advocacy in Action Alert

5/17/2012 3:30pm

Legislators will be making 2013 budget decisions soon. Please contact them regarding funding for senior programs Right now, there are home and community based programs for older adults that work and save the state and the taxpayers millions of dollars annually – but they are underfunded.

MI Choice: Long-term care at home that saves Medicaid dollars- Medicaid-funded nursing home beds cost taxpayers on average $172/day; MI Choice allows eligible people to remain at home with supports that cost on average $52/day.  There aren't enough MI Choice dollars to meet the needs of all who wish to join; 8,000 people still wait.

MI Choice Nursing Facility Transition Program (NFTI)- NFTI transitions Medicaid clients in nursing homes who want to leave but face barriers such as not having an accessible home, or needing services and supports to stay at home. Last year, over 1,600 people were transitioned; 3,000 people still wait. Proposed funding for 2013 will only fund the program for two months, yet according to Governor Snyder’s 2012 Executive Budget, NFTI has saved the state $65 million since 2008!

In-Home Services help people manage their own resources- Office of Services to the Aging (OSA) programs help older adults stay in their own homes through programs like Meals on Wheels, home and community based services, and volunteer programs.
Money for these programs has been cut 28% ($10 million) over the past few years while demand for these services has grown.

Contact these members of the Conference Committee (listed below) and urge them to fund:


$11 million to reduce the wait list for MI Choice
$23 million for the Nursing Facility Transition Program in the MI Choice budget—to meet the goal of 1,600 transitions in 2013.
$1.1 million to Office of Services to the Aging plus a 5% increase in each of the next three years. This will partially restore the $10 million in funding cuts over the past three years.

 

Conference Committee Members:

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Public Hearing Notice

5/14/2012 4:10pm

The AAAWM Public Hearing will be held on Monday, June 4, 2012 at  1:00 pm at the  Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan (1279 Cedar Street NE Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503). The purpose of the hearing is to listen to public comments regarding services for older adults in west Michigan.

 

Agenda

Welcome:  Robert Sundholm, AAAWM Advisory Council Chair

Draft Plan & Hearing Process:  Sandra Ghoston-Jones, Planner

Public Comments: Robert Sundholm

  The Chair will request each member of the public to

  • (1) introduce him or herself and
  • (2) comment as they choose.

 

  Speakers are encouraged to present their opinions concisely.

  Every person will be heard once before any person is invited to comment a second time.

 

Concluding Remarks:  Advisory Council Members

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Senior Advocacy in Action Alert

5/10/2012 4:45pm

The Nursing Facility Transition (NFT) program is in jeopardy. The Governor’s budget allocates $11 million to serve people on the MI Choice waiting list, but only $3.1 million for NFT, enough to continue the program for only two months.  This would mean over 1,000 people would be forced to remain in nursing homes when they could live in the community at a much lower cost to the state.  An additional $22 million is needed for NFT in fiscal year 2013.    

What You Can Do:

Contact these members of the Conference Committees, thank them for their past support of MI Choice and nursing facility transitions, and ask them to approve $11 million for the MI Choice waiting list and $25 million for nursing facility transitions in the MI Choice budget for FY 2013. 

 

Here are some talking points:

  • The Nursing Facility Transition allows people to live where they choose and is cost effective, costing an average of $60/day compared with a nursing home cost of $172/day.  NFT is part of the MI Choice Medicaid home and community-based waiver.
  • Last year, the transition program helped more than 1,600 people move from a nursing home back to the community with an immediate cost savings to the state.  Each person faced barriers that prevented them from returning home on their own.
  • According to Governor Snyder’s 2012 Executive Budget, NFT has saved the state $65 million since 2008.
  • There are 8,000 people on the MI Choice waiting list.  Individuals are forced to wait many months, even years to enter the program.

Background:

The Nursing Home Transition (NFT) is part of the MI Choice Medicaid Waiver program.  NFT is a cutting edge program that has gained national attention for successfully transitioning people in nursing homes who want to leave but face barriers.  Barriers can include losing their home, not having an accessible home, and needing services and supports to stay at home.  Last year, over 1,600 people were transitioned; data suggest that every year about 3,000 people in nursing homes are candidates for NFT.    

NFT saves the state money because it targets people on Medicaid who cost an average of $172/day in a nursing home, compared with an average of $60/day in their own home.  It is estimated that $25 million will be needed next year to transition another 1,600 people. 

Legislators are now crafting the state’s FY 2013 budget, and the final decisions will be made by joint House-Senate Conference Committees.  We need to convince committee members to approve the Governor’s request for $11 million to serve the MI Choice waiting list, and also provide the $25 million in funding necessary to transition 1,600 people from nursing homes next year.

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Hearing Loss Resources

5/10/2012 9:00am

Hearing loss is something that many older adults experience. Most insurance plans do not cover the cost of hearing aids and equipment can range in cost from a couple hundred up to several thousand dollars. The price tag may prevent individuals from getting the help they need to hear, but that doesn’t have to be the case.

Katie Prins, Executive Director at Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (DHHS), says advances in technology have increased the options for those who do not have the means to purchase hearing aids.

Prins recommends looking into the following products, if you are unable to afford hearing aids:

  • Pocket talkers. These are readily available and often resemble headphones and a portable speaker. The speaker portion takes sounds and feeds it through to the headphones, often allowing individuals to adjust volume as needed.
  • Amplifiers for phones and televisions. These can be connected to specific devices and increase the volume just for the item it is attached too. This can be helpful for those who have difficulty hearing the phone or television.
  • Modified smoke alarms or doorbells. Safety is a number one concern for those with hearing loss. Many safety devices (like smoke alarms) only use sound. However there are modified versions that use both light and sound to alert individuals of smoke or fire and they can be easily installed.

Hearing aids are still the most common choice for those with hearing concerns. Prins recommends that no matter how much you are spending on these devices, you should always be cautious.

Take the following steps when purchasing hearing aids:

  1. Talk with your doctor. Have a conversation with your doctor first about your hearing concerns. He can recommend you to an audiologist.
  2. Ask questions. This is new territory for many people so the terms used and the results after an audiological test may be confusing. Ask question to make sure you understand the information you are given.
  3. Do your research. Unfortunately (like with many high priced items) there are individuals and companies that have questionable sales tactics or misrepresent the truth when it comes to product features or individual needs. Doing your research (on the company and the product) before you purchase anything can help prevent you from making a costly mistake.
  4. Find out what the price includes. Some companies may offer warranties or fittings in with the cost of the hearing aid while others don’t. Being armed with this information can help you make a decision that’s best for you.
  5. Schedule an appointment with DHHS staff. DHHS staff can meet with individuals one-on-one to help determine hearing changes and identify equipment that best fits an individual’s needs.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (DHHS) works with individuals of all ages to help with hearing concerns. They offer support groups and one-on-one assistance as well as classes and events for those with a hearing loss.

 “No matter the age, someone dealing with hearing loss often struggles with feelings of isolation or depression while adjusting to these changes. This can be a very difficult time and often just admitting a hearing loss can be a struggle. It is essential that friends and family members are sensitive to this and provide a supportive environment.”

The Kent County Senior Millage provides funding to DHHS for programs such as rehabilitation for activities of daily living (related to hearing loss), group education on adjusting to a hearing loss and lip reading classes. Assistance is also available to help individuals find devices, equipment and other resources to adjust to hearing loss. The services are open to Kent County residents age 60 and over. Depending on income, individuals may be asked to pay part of the cost.

For more information on services for those with hearing loss, contact Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services at (616) 732-7358 or www.deafhhs.org.

For more information on other services for older adults and caregivers, contact the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan at (616) 456-5664, check out the rest of our website or find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AreaAgencyOnAging

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When is there too much stuff-training on hoarding

5/3/2012 11:40am

Hoarding has gotten a lot of attention lately as reality TV shows bring viewers into the homes of people who are hoarding. Often there are deeper issues than a mere attachment to things and it those concerns must be dealt with.

“When is there too much stuff? –Older Adult Hoarders and Safety Issues" brings in local experts to discuss the psychology involved as well as practical steps to take when dealing with an older adult who is hoarding.  Experts from the Health Department, Animal Control, Adult Protective Services and the Grand Rapids Fire Department will educate professionals on how best to handle these situations to get individuals the help they need.

Training will take place Thursday, June 21, 2012 from 1:00-3:00 p.m.  Registration required by June 15, 2012. For more information click here. Email registration@aaawm.org with questions. (Training is complimentary for Kent County Senior Millage Providers; otherwise there is a $5.00 fee for other attendees)

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Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan
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Phone: 616-456-5664 or 888-456-5664 • Fax: 616-456-5692

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