AAAWM Programs Receive National Awards
AAAWM has been awarded Aging Achievement Awards from N4A (Nationation Association of Area Agencies on Aging) for both the Kent County Elder Abuse Coalition and Senior Dental Day! Thank you to all of those who have worked with both of these great programs and a special “thank you” to our very own Nancy Kropiewnicki who helped make these programs so helpful to our community.
Senior Dental Day
On Friday December 12, 2014, AAAWM held the fourth annual Senior Dental Day. This year we served 42 older adults through referrals from AAAWM, Senior Neighbors, UMCH-United Methodist Community House, Salvation Army, and HHS Health Options.
The event was held in the newly remodeled Grand Rapids Community College Dental Clinic.
This event would not have been possible without the 100 students, local dentist, hygienists, teachers and dental assistants who volunteered their time to provide much needed dental care to these older adults. Funding was also made possible by a generous grant from the Delta Dental Foundation. Visit our Facebook page to see photos from the event.
Senior Dental Day
Senior Dental Day took place this year on December 13, 2013 at the Grand Rapids Community College Dental Clinic. Students, dental clinic staff, dentists and hygienists volunteered their time to serve 41 seniors at this event. The patients were selected based on need and each received a free dental cleaning, any necessary x-rays, screening examination and a referral if needed (they were also given a referral for any future dental care at little to no cost).
Those who attended were very thankful for the service. One senior commented, “I was very nervous to come this morning because last time I saw the dentist I was scolded. You all made me feel so welcomed and cared for, this day truly was a blessing.” Another senior said, “You have all been so kind and wonderful, I want to give you all hugs.” ( and she did!)
Senior Dental Day was made possible this year due to the Grand Rapids Community College Dental Clinic, volunteer dentists and hygienists and a generous donation from the Michigan Dental Association Foundation.
Check out our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AreaAgencyOnAging for photos from Senior Dental Day
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.