Kent County Senior Millage Open House Recap
Thank you to everyone who came out to the Kent County Senior Millage Open House on Friday October 18, 2013. The event was a huge success, due to the Advocates for Senior Issues, Kent County Senior Millage Providers and many volunteers. Attendance for the event was estimated at around 300 people. View pictures from the event at our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/AreaAgencyOnAging).
Kent County Senior Millage Open House
On Friday, October 18, the Kent County Senior Millage Open House will take place at Kentwood Christian Church (5841 Kalamazoo Ave SE). Provided in collaboration with the Advocates for Senior Issues, the open house will allow guests to visit booths of all 31 Senior Millage providers to find out more information and ask questions.
The Advocates for Senior Issues is also opening their monthly meeting up to the general public, allowing guests to hear more information on the Millage as well as a presentation from Bob Fox, Michigan Senior Advocates Council.
The Advocates meeting begins at 10:00 a.m. and runs through 11:00 a.m. and the Kent County Senior Millage Open House will last from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The community is welcome to attend both or just stop by for one or the other. Light lunch and door prizes will be provided during the Millage Open House.
Click here to view and print the Open House flyer
Kent County Senior Millage Flu Shots
The Kent County Senior Millage is again funding flu shots for Kent County Residents age 60 to 64. AngelCare Home Care will be providing shots at a number of locations throughout West Michigan, including multiple Senior Neighbors senior centers, starting on September 16. Click here to see locations, dates and times. For more information on the flu shot clinics, contact AngelCare Home Care (phone number listed below)
For more information on the Kent County Senior Millage flu shots, contact
- AngelCare at (616) 245-8899
- Catherine's Health Center at (616) 336-8000
Kent County Senior Millage Letters of Intent
AAAWM is accepting Letters of Intent for 2014 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 29, 2013.Click 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 16, 2013 at 1:00 p.m. in the AAAWM conference room C at 3215 Eaglecrest Drive NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525. Questions can be submitted prior to the meeting to email@example.com. Questions will not be answered outside this meeting, however, answers to any submitted questions will be shared on the website or to provided emails. 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 9, 2013 if they are permitted to complete a full proposal. Proposals will be due September 9, 2013. Meetings with the KCMRC will be October 7, 8, or 9, 2013. Please save those dates to insure 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.
The 2014 funding level is expected to remain unchanged from the $6.08 million allocated in 2013.
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.
Senior of the Year Awarded to James White
Please join us in congratulating Commissioner James White on receiving the Senior Citizen of the Year award from the Office of Services to the Aging. Commissioner White, an AAAWM Board Member and longtime community leader, has been volunteering his time and talents throughout West Michigan for over 40 years. He was honored at Older Michiganians Day in Lansing on June 4, 2013. The event was attended by 800 older adult advocates, including 40 from our region. Congratulations Commissioner and thank you for your service to older adults and to the entire West Michigan community!
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.
How Adult Day Services (ADS) Can Help Someone with Dementia
A dementia diagnosis doesn’t automatically mean packing your loved one’s bags and moving them into a nursing facility. Many older adults are being cared for at home and having dementia doesn’t have to change that decision. In fact, an Adult Day Services (ADS) program can help make this a reality while benefiting both the care recipient and the family caregiver.
What are Adult Day Services (ADS)?
ADS are offered at a location that is typically open during daytime hours and provides activities for older adults and those with developmental disabilities who are unable to be left alone without some type of supervision. Programs provide a structured environment that includes activities and social interaction. Some programs have music therapy, craft projects and social groups as well as offering a noon meal and transportation. They also provide a break for the caregiver with the confidence that their loved one is in good hands.
Benefits to the Caregiver
ADS programs offer numerous benefits for both the caregiver and care recipient. Providing care for someone can be very stressful. Often a family caregiver is also working and/or raising children while caring for an older adult. An ADS program is a safe environment for the senior and it allows both the caregiver and recipient to get a break from one another. The caregiver can use this time to simply relax, run errands or do something for themselves.
Many caregivers use an Adult Day Program while they are at work. Different programs even offer bathing services and/or other personal care options, which can be a benefit to both the caregiver and the care recipient.
“We had an elderly wife who was caring for her husband. She enjoyed the respite the adult day provided, but seriously began to think about placement in a nursing home because she could not get him to take a shower,” said Kendra Schumaker, Executive Director at SarahCare Adult Day Services. “Our staff offered to shower him while he was here during the day, but his wife was reluctant, thinking that he would not be agreeable. She agreed to let us give it a try, and when she came to pick him up she had tears of joy because he was clean and they would not have to fight about it at home.”
“Part of what adult day does is let people return to their previous life roles. In other words the wife can now be the wife and not the nursemaid, caregiver, etc. They can go home, have dinner, and she can be assured that her husband is not only clean, but he did not fall in the shower at home.”
Benefits to the Care Recipient
While at an Adult Day Program, the care recipient is able to enjoy a wide variety of structured activities that they may not be able to do while at home. Participants benefit from additional socialization and often form strong relationships with other participants and staff.
“We have an amazing staff that really bonds with our seniors,” says Teresa Schlump, Director at Side by Side Adult Day Services. “This helps the older adult feel more confident because coming to the center is like spending time with friends. It also makes it easier for the caregiver because it’s an enjoyable experience for their loved one.”
Sign Me Up! What do I do?
The best way to get started is to take time to visit an ADS program. Schedule a tour and talk with the Director or other staff. Some ADS programs even allow interested families to try the service out for a day (at little or no cost) to make sure it’s a good fit.
Because each location offers different activities and services, individuals need to contact the organization directly to find out about costs and qualifications. The Kent County Senior Millage may help offset the cost for families with lower incomes. For more information, including costs and how to qualify under the Kent County Senior Millage, contact one of the Adult Day Centers listed below.
Who to Contact:
- CareTree Adult Day Services (operated by Gerontology Network) (616) 464-3665
- Side by Side Adult Day Services (operated by Hope Network) (616) 235-2910
SarahCare Adult Day Services (616) 530-6700
Healthy Aging Video Now Available
Healthy Aging classes are a fun way to get fit and meet new friends. Designed specifically for older adults, classes are available throughout West Michigan. Watch the video below to see classes in action, and then find a class in your area!
Senior Advocacy in Action Alert
An 8.4% cut across all federal non-entitlement programs will go into effect January 2, 2013. The cuts are automatically triggered by the 2011 Budget Control Act, resulting from the bipartisan “Super Committee’s” inability to come to an agreement on $1.2 trillion in budget cuts. Unless Congress acts, these cuts will affect every federal program, from the military to public health and social services. Please see the information below and make calls, emails, faxes, and tweets to express your concern.
Unless Congress reverses an 8.4% across-the-board cut approved last year, all discretionary federally-funded aging network programs will lose funding beginning January 2, 2013. The official name for this cut is “sequestration,” and it was a provision of the Budget Control Act that was passed to address the growing federal budget deficit.
Between $4-5 million in annual funding will be lost to Michigan just from the federal Older Americans Act, which provides congregate and home-delivered meals, in-home services, senior employment and other services. Other discretionary federal programs would also be hit, including energy assistance, senior volunteer programs, and the Community Services Block Grant, which supports Community Action Agencies and helps low-income families. A report released by Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) states that the sequester would eliminate 17 million meals for needy seniors nationwide. The sequester is taking place because a bipartisan committee failed to come up with an agreement on how to save $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years.
What You Can Do:
Contact your U.S. Representative and Michigan’s two U.S. Senators to express your concern about the impact of “Sequestration Cuts” on low-income seniors. Find your U.S. Representative by going to www.house.gov and typing your zip code in the box at the top labeled “Find Your Representative.” You can also send a message directly through the website. If you don’t have the Internet, call your local library for information.
Michigan’s U.S. Senators
- Senator Carl Levin Ph (202) 224-6221 F (202) 224-1388 www.levin.senate.gov
- Senator Debbie Stabenow Ph (202) 224-4822 F (202) 228-0325 www.stabenow.senate.gov
NOTE: Deliver messages by phone, fax or email. Do not send a letter as mail addressed to federal officials is screened for toxins and can be delayed in the process.
- When the sequester cuts take place, Michigan will lose $4-5 million in federal monies for home and community-based services for seniors through the Older Americans Act.
- The cuts will deny 6,000+ seniors nutritional meals, including 2,500 frail homebound seniors getting meals-on-wheels. Evidence shows that poor nutrition can lead to weight loss, health problems, falls, and increased difficulty with activities of daily living.
Senior Millage 2013 Funding Process Continues
Current service providers have received their continuation of funding forms. The forms are due to the AAAWM office by noon (12:00 p.m.) on Monday, September 10, 2012. No exceptions.
Unfortunately the senior millage will have to take the largest cut ever sense the property values have started to decrease. The Kent County Millage Review Committee (KCMRC) will have to decide where a 5.1% decrease in service must occur. That equates to $321,425 less in service dollars than was allocated in 2012. Not an easy decision to make sense the number of older adults grows daily (10,000 people a day turn 60 years old) across the country.
Despite the reduction in funding the KCMRC will consider two new proposals. One is for home chore and the other is for weatherization. These proposals could offer an option to existing service providers of the same service.
The KCMRC will meet for their intensive week of presentations and discussions October 8 -12, 2012. Funding decisions are guided by current needs and community priorities along with performance of current service providers. To learn more go to providers/kent_county_senior_millage_providers and look under Resources.
Questions about the Funding Process can be directed to your contract coordinator or Jackie O’Connor at 616.222.7002 or at Jackie@aaawm.org.