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Latest News

Senior Advocacy in Action Alert

4/28/2011 9:30am

Advocacy needed today!

Our advocacy is having an impact. Yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee voted to restore almost $8 million in cuts to senior meals, community services and volunteer programs in the OSA budget.  Rep. Al Pscholka (R-Stevensville) recruited three other GOP colleagues to muster enough winning votes to pass an amendment introduced by Rep. Joan Bauer (D-Lansing).

The full House is taking up the Community Health budget bill today.  Amendments can be introduced at this point as well and we need to make sure that the cuts are not put back in!

Please send short emails right away to the key legislators below and urge them to maintain funding for OSA/aging services in the Community Health budget bill.  

 

Here are a few more talking points you could add to your message:

  • OSA services prevent seniors from going on Medicaid. 
  • OSA services are extremely cost-effective.  The average annual cost of OSA services (meals-on-wheels and home care) was $1,000 in FY 2010.  In contrast, a nursing home cost an average of $68,000.
  • There are over 6,000 seniors on waiting lists for OSA services like meals and home care.

Send messages now!

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Senior Advocacy in Action Alert

4/19/2011 3:15pm

More cuts proposed for state funded senior services!  We need your help to prevent reductions in meals, community services and volunteer programs.

The Governor is recommending another $2.2 million in state cuts, coming from meals ($800,000), community services ($1 million) and volunteer programs ($400,000).     

Last week, a Senate Subcommittee issued its recommendations, and it agreed with the $1 million cut to community services, increased the cuts to volunteer programs to $700,000, but restored the $800,000 cut in senior meals.  A House Subcommittee also issued its recommendations, and it significantly increased the OSA cuts to $8 million.  The House would cut nutrition by $1.6 million, community services by $1.8 million, and would totally eliminate all state funding for senior volunteer programs - $4.5 million. 

The Subcommittees are just the beginning – the next step takes place in the full Appropriations Committees in the House and Senate.  Legislators need to hear loud and strong from seniors, caregivers, providers and other advocates how these cuts will hurt frail older Michiganians, and will increase the use of costly nursing homes. 

 

What You Can Do:

Contact the Chairmen of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees (listed below) and express your concern about the devastating cuts to the Office of Services to the Aging in the Department of Community Health budget bills.  Also contact Governor Rick Snyder to express your opposition to the OSA cuts.

 

Talking points:

  • OSA services prevent seniors from going on Medicaid.
  • OSA services are extremely cost-effective. 
  • The average annual cost of OSA services (meals-on-wheels and home care) was $1,000 in FY 2010.  In contrast, a nursing home cost an average of $68,000.
  • There are over 6,000 seniors on waiting lists for OSA services like meals and home care.

 

BACKGROUND:

From 2009 – 2011, programs funded by the Office of Services to the Aging (OSA) were cut by $10 million (28%), and even more cuts are proposed for next year!

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Attention: Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

4/18/2011 12:00am

Grand Rapids Community College is presenting “Balance Caring for them While Caring for you,” a training for Grandparents raising Grandchildren.

The event is Friday, May 6, 2011 from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. at the Grand Rapids Community College DeVos Campus (Sneden Hall, Multipurpose Room) located at 415 E. Fulton St., Grand Rapids, MI 49503

There is a requested $5 donation, but, no one will be denied participation based on inability to contribute. Donations allow for continued and expanded services to grandparents in West Michigan.

 

Topics will include:

Advice on Raising Grandchildren

  • Bullying: What to know/How to deal with it
  • Raising Children in Today’s World

Lunch and Speaker

  • Proper Nutrition for Grandparents and Grandchildren

Caring for You:

  • Exercise and Wellness
  • Relationships: Dealing with Adult Children

 

How to Register:

Registration is available by telephone or online through the Grand Rapids Community College Continuing Education and Professional Development Office. To register you will need to include your name, birth date, address, telephone number, and, if available, e-mail address.

Phone: (616) 234-3400

Online: www.grcc.edu/workforcetraining

(select Older Learner Center)

Driving instructions and campus parking information will be provided to participants upon registration.

Comments

#1 Irene Gunnink said:

i would love/need to attend this event but it is a no school day for my 10 and 7 year grandsons --- is childcare available???
269.279.9904

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Caregiver Training

3/10/2011 4:45am

A new series of the Creating Confident Caregivers training starts March 16 in Grand Rapids. If you, or someone you know, is caring for someone with memory loss, this program may be a good fit.

During the sessions individuals will learn about resources for caregivers, ways to be a better caregiver and much more. Caregivers will also meet those in similar situations and will have the opportunity to learn from their experiences.

Respite care is available during the sessions.  For more information, contact Anne at  (616) 222-7014 or anne@aaawm.org

Comments

#1 Angela Prince said:

I would like to apply for a caregivers position. I cannot get the application on the web.
I would like you to contact me as early as possible by email or phone.
My Number is 416 293-3670. Thanks

#2 Webmaster said:

Angela, thank you for your inquiry. However, we do not hire caregivers and the training listed is for family caregivers only. If you are looking for a paid caregiver position, I recommend you contact home care agencies. I have also sent this response to your email. Thank you.

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Male Caregivers Needed!

3/3/2011 9:30am

Know a male providing care to someone with Dementia or memory loss?

Please click here to access survey. Survey results will help identify and develop programs to meet needs. Paper copies available by calling (616) 456-5664.

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Senior Advocacy in Action Alert

2/23/2011 2:00pm

Vulnerable seniors have been victims of the state’s budget crisis.  Totaling $2.2 million, the cuts would reduce in-home services, home-delivered meals, care management, volunteer programs, caregiver supports and other programs that help keep seniors living independently

 

What you can do:

Contact members of the House and Senate Community Health Budget Subcommittees (listed below) and ask them to oppose cuts in OSA services for seniors for next year.

 

Background:

Since fiscal year 2009, programs funded by the Office of Services to the Aging (OSA) have been cut by $10 million – a 28% loss in state funding.  And the Governor’s budget recommendations for fiscal year 2012 include even more cuts in OSA services. 

Without these services, caregivers get burned out and nursing home placement is frequently the result, with seniors spending down their assets and going on Medicaid to pay the $68,000 annual bill.  

The Governor’s budget is only a recommendation - it’s the Legislature that makes budget decisions.  Your advocacy is needed to convince Michigan’s Representatives and Senators that OSA cuts are ‘penny wise and pound foolish.’ 

OSA services help seniors stay in their own homes, spend their own limited funds wisely, and stay off the Medicaid rolls.  OSA services are an important support for unpaid caregivers who are providing 80% of the assistance that frail elders receive.  Even a small amount of in-home services can prevent institutional placement.  In 2010, if the aging network’s 2,830 most at-risk clients in the community had not gotten help and were forced into nursing homes, Medicaid would have spent $191 million more on nursing home care.  In contrast, those clients were served by the aging network at a cost of $2.4 million.  

 
House Community Health Budget Subcommittee Members:
 
Senate Community Health Budget Subcommittee Members:

                                  

Talking points:
  • OSA services prevent seniors from going on Medicaid.
  • OSA services are extremely cost-effective.  The average annual cost of OSA services (meals-on-wheels and home care) was $1,000 in FY 2010.  In contrast, a nursing home cost an average of $68,000.
  • There are over 6,000 seniors on waiting lists for OSA services like meals and home care.

Comments

#1 Craig VanDerKolk said:

My father is a veteran of WWII who has suppoted this society with his hard work ethics and never taken any support and now in the last years of life deserves to live and die with dignity in his own home with people he trust in the end with some final support/help from the state to witch he calls home!

#2 Webmaster said:

Craig, many older adults choose to age in their own home and we strive to provide them with those opportunities. Advocacy on the state and federal levels is an important part of helping those services continue. We greatly appreciate the service our Veterans have provided for our country and are currently working with the VA to provide some services to Veterans in our region. If you need help connecting to resources, please contact us at aaainfo@aaawm.org. With state and federal funding cuts, it's important for our legislators to hear from those, like yourself and your father, who are passionate about helping seniors age in their own home.

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A Matter of Balance Coach Training

2/3/2011 2:34pm

A Free Matter of Balance Coach Training will take place on April 18 and 19th from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. at the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan 1279 Cedar NE, Grand Rapids, MI

Area Agency on Agency is offering this free training for providers who may want to offer this program to their older adults.

Each provider should have two coaches trained, as sessions are taught in pairs.  We will also need a commitment from your agency to hold two trainings within a 12 month period of time. 

For more information, view "A Matter of Balance Coach Training April 2011" file to the left.

If you are interested in attending the free training or would like more information, please contact Barbara Nelson at 616.222.7011 or email Barb@aaawm.org by March 31, 2011. The training is limited to 16 participants, so you may want to register early.   

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Medicare Physician Reimbursement

1/10/2011 11:15am

In early December, the House followed the Senate in voting to delay the Medicare Physicians Reimbursement Rate cut. This was signed by the President and will delay the cuts for another twelve months.

Thank you all for your advocacy efforts which helped prevent the cuts from becoming a reality. Passage of the reimbursement reduction would have been harmful to seniors as more physicians would stop accepting new Medicare patients.

The Congressional Budget Office has indicated that the extension will cost $15 billion.

Advocates are hopeful that lawmakers will review and make changes to how the reimbursements are funded in order to correct the problem.

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Public Invited to Share the Love for Seniors

12/21/2010 2:45am

Subaru Donations Include Facebook Campaign Tied to More Funding

Three rural Meals on Wheels programs supported by Grand Rapids-based Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan have been awarded money from the Meals on Wheels Association of America and Subaru through their ‘Share the Love’ campaign.

St. Ann’s Lake County Senior Services, Ionia County Commission on Aging and Montcalm County Commission on Aging were all awarded grants under the Subaru essay contest. The second round includes getting the most “likes” through Facebook. The essays are posted at http://mowaablog.org. The top organization will win an additional $500 and those placing 2nd through 10th will receive an additional $250.   

“The funding from the Subaru, ‘Share the Love’ campaign will help serve seniors in rural counties who may not be able to provide meals for themselves,” says Staci Shell, Nutrition Program Coordinator at Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan. “We are encouraging Facebook users to read the essays and ‘like’ the agencies so we can secure additional funding for seniors throughout West Michigan.”

Each agency plans to provide different meal related services with the funding they received from the Subaru ‘Share the Love’ contest. St. Ann’s Lake County Senior Services plans to provide a hot meal on Christmas Eve. Ionia County Commission on Aging will provide meals to seniors in the greatest need. Montcalm County Commission on Aging plans to purchase a GPS to help drivers locate home delivered meal clients easier in rural areas.

The “Share the Love” grant is tied to Subaru’s Share the Love Event.  The Share the Love Event will run from November 20, 2010 – January 3, 2011.  Subaru will donate $250 to the customer's choice of one of five charities for every new Subaru vehicle sold or leased.

The Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan, based in Grand Rapids, serves a nine county region and provides funding to various organizations to provide services, like in-home care, meals and home making services to help seniors stay in their own homes while they age.

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Medicare Donut Hole Gets Smaller

11/9/2010 2:30pm

Changes are coming for those with Medicare Part D Prescription Drug coverage. These revisions, brought about by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), include reductions in the donut hole which will cut back on costly medication expenses. The new adjustments will take effect in 2011, but decisions on coverage have to be made between November 15 and December 31.

The Part D coverage gap (donut hole) is like a second deductible in the middle of the year for those with high prescription drug costs.  In 2011 individuals will reach the coverage gap after the full costs of their prescriptions for the year reaches $2,840.

In the past, once that amount was reached, individuals would be required to pay the full cost for their prescriptions until they reached the catastrophic level of coverage.  In 2011 (because of the ACA changes) beneficiaries who reach the coverage gap will only pay 93% of the cost for their generic medications and 50% for their brand name drugs.  Each year this coverage gap will be reduced until it is completely eliminated in 2020. 

“These reductions will significantly lower beneficiary’s out-of-pocket expenses,” says Karen Rozelle, Regional Michigan Medicare/Medicaid Assistance Program (MMAP) Coordinator at the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan.  “There still are costs for the Part D Drug plans and when comparing options, individuals need to factor in medications, co-payments, premiums and other out of pocket expenses.”

MMAP is a free program that utilizes trained volunteers to counsel Medicare beneficiaries and their families with Medicare and/or Medicaid questions. They also provide assistance with the Part D drug program process.

This year there are 35 stand-alone prescription drug plans to choose from for Michigan residents. Premiums range from $14.80 to $111.80 each month.  

“Selecting a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan can be an overwhelming process,” says Rozelle. “We encourage seniors to make their health care coverage decisions based on all the facts. Choosing a plan that does not offer the best coverage for their needs can be very costly.”

Once an individual has enrolled in a prescription drug plan, they are under that plan’s guidelines for an entire year, so this is not a choice that should be made lightly.  Rozelle recommends consulting a MMAP counselor, who is trained on what to look for and how to help individuals navigate the Medicare Prescription Drug program.

Medicare beneficiaries must consider all the medications they are currently taking. “Each plan provides different prescription coverage and it is important to include all prescriptions to ensure they are covered under the Part D plan. Not factoring in all of their medications could be a costly mistake,” says Rozelle.

Rozelle recommend reviewing your drug plan each year to see if there have been changes. “It never hurts to be informed,” she states. “Taking precautions to ensure you have the coverage you need may help prevent problems or surprises during the year.”

The ACA also includes coverage for preventative services and some new benefits to Medicare beneficiaries in 2011 like annual free wellness exams. 

MMAP operates statewide so, individuals can call 1-800-803-7174 from anywhere in Michigan and be routed to counselors in their area. Volunteers are available in the nine counties served by the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan.

For assistance, or to set up an appointment, call MMAP at 1-800-803-7174.

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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

aaainfo@aaawm.org

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