The Kent County Senior Millage: Aging with Dignity
If you could age anywhere, where would it be? Would you opt for a warmer climate? Live with family? Move into a facility? According to multiple studies, over 90% of seniors want to age in their own homes instead of going into a nursing home. For those that live in Kent County, the Kent County Senior Millage (KCSM) may be able to make that possible.
The goal of the KCSM is to help Kent County residents age 60 and over stay in their own homes instead of going into a nursing home. In 2014, the KCSM will provide 45 different programs to help make aging in place a reality for older adults.
The KCSM provides a wide variety of options including in-home care, home repair, healthy aging programs, senior centers, home delivered meals and transportation. Programs either help people remain in their own homes with the care they need or help them remain active and involved in the community.
Now in its 16th year, the KCSM served over 17,000 seniors in 2013 alone. Of those served, 70% reported having low incomes and 60% reported living alone. Without the help of the KCSM, these older adults would likely end up in a nursing home.
“The Kent County Senior Millage has been a huge benefit to our community and for the dignity and independence of our seniors,” says Jackie O’Connor, Assistant Director at the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan, the agency that administers the KCSM.
Unfortunately, the increasing senior population and the decrease in revenue generated from the KCSM (due to reduced property tax values) and State and Federal funding has led to waiting lists for many essential programs like home delivered meals, in-home care and transportation.
On August 5, 2014 voters will be asked to renew and increase the KCSM which will cost the average homeowner an additional $13 a year (based on a $160,000 home) or $17 a year (based on a $200,000 home). This increase will help provide additional services to address the growing older adult population as well as the increased waiting lists.
To find out more information, including how to get involved, schedule a presentation to a local group, or details on the campaign, contact (616) 222-7032 or www.kentseniormillage.com.