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Home About Us News Latest News Tagged with: Senior

Latest News

Senior Advocacy in Action Alert

8/9/2011 4:00pm

Action is needed on elder abuse bills! Individuals are encouraged to contact legislators to get legislation passed this year.

Five years ago, a Governor-appointed Task Force of aging experts released a set of recommendations on addressing the growing, and mostly hidden, problem of elder abuse, neglect and exploitation.  Since then, many bills have been introduced, but have died due to inaction by one or both houses.  Similar bills have been introduced in 2011.  We want legislators to get the job done this year to prevent abuse and get justice for victims.  

 

What You Can Do:

Contact these Committee Chairs and ask them to take action on the elder abuse bills in their committees this fall:   

Background:

 There are more than 40 bills dealing with abuse, here are just a few examples: 

  • House Bill 4331 and Senate Bill 461 would prevent an abuser from inheriting his/her victim’s assets.  
  • House Bill 4327 and Senate Bill 454 would allow vulnerable adults to provide videotaped testimony similar to laws protecting children from having to face their abusers. 
  • House Bill 4345 and Senate Bill 468 would allow a third party to file a complaint with law enforcement regarding abuse, even though the abused person refuses to file a complaint.
  • House Bill 4332 and Senate Bill 466 would require law enforcement to publicize a missing elder similar to the Amber Alerts used for missing children 

Talking points: 

  • About 80,000 Michigan elders fall victim to some form of abuse each year.
  • Last year, Adult Protective Services received 19,000 calls reporting abuse, up from 12,000 calls in 2000.
  • 70% of abusers are ‘trusted ones,’ including spouses, children, grandchildren and friends.  Victims come from all walks of life and income classes, as witnessed by Mickey Rooney’s testimony before the Congress.
  • Michigan’s high rate of unemployment is fueling the financial exploitation of the elderly.

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It's a Senior Open House and You're Invited!

7/12/2011 2:30pm

Ever wonder how your tax dollars help your neighbors? Want to learn about services for seniors in Kent County? The Kent County Senior Millage is hosting an Open House to give the community a chance to learn more about the 46 different services provided for older adults.

On Friday, July 22, 2011, 31 Senior Millage providers will be on hand to answer questions and explain their services in an open house format at the Wyoming Senior Center (WSC) located at 2380 DeHoop Ave SW, Wyoming. The event will run from 9:30 a.m.until 12:00 p.m.

The event will also include four separate twenty minute presentations by local experts on the following hot topics:

  • 9:45 a.m.- Identity Theft: protecting yourself online and off
  • 10:20 a.m.- Healthy Aging:  learning to get active and be healthy
  • 10:55 a.m.- Transportation: getting around without gassing up
  • 11:30 a.m.- Equipment and Technology:  taking seniors into the future

“Identity theft, transportation, technology and healthy aging are important topics to older adults,” says Anne Ellermets, Kent County Contract Coordinator at Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan (AAAWM), the organization that administers the Millage. “In addition to providing information on the topics, we will also have resources available because each topic is addressed by a Kent County Senior Millage service.”

The event includes refreshments and over 30 door prize drawings for gift cards, gift baskets and other items.

Individuals will also have an opportunity to visit tables for each organization, pick up information about the Kent County Senior Millage and ask questions.

“We want the community to be engaged and aware of the Kent County Senior Millage and the good work it does in our community,” says Jackie O’Connor, Assistant Director at Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan. “We are incredibly grateful that Kent County residents have been supportive of the millage and of older adults and we want to continue to provide information so they can see how their support helps improve our community.”

The Kent County Senior Millage was adopted by voters in 1998 and renewed and increased in 2006. In 2010, 17,824 clients were served. In 2011, $6.4 million will provide 46 unique services for older adults.

Click here for more information or call (616) 456-5664.

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Kent County Senior Millage Letters of Intent

6/28/2011 8:45am

AAAWM is accepting Letters of Intent for 2012 - 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 Friday, July 29, 2011.

There will be an informational meeting to answer any questions about the Letter of Intent on Wednesday, July 13, 2011 at 1:00 p.m. in the AAAWM conference room B 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 12, 2011 if they are permitted to complete a full proposal. Proposals will be due September 6, 2011. Meetings with the KCMRC will be October 3, 4 or 5, 2011. Please save those dates to ensure your availability to give a short presentation to the KCMRC.

Click here to access the Letter of Intent.

 

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 2012 compared to the $6.4 million allocated in 2011.

Funding decisions are guided by current needs and community priorities. To learn more go to www.aaawm.org/providers/kent_county_senior_millage_providers or contact Jackie O’Connor at 616.222.7002 or at Jackie@aaawm.org

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Senior Advocacy in Action Alert

5/6/2011 12:00am

House reduces senior services funding. Now is the time to contact state Legislators and encourage them to protect seniors services.

This week on the floor, the full House restored cuts to the Office of Services to the Aging for meals & community services, and eliminated all funding for the three senior volunteer programs.  These were the same cuts that came out of the House DCH Subcommittee.  Here are the specific cuts:

  • $1, 581,700 (18%) – senior meals
  • $1,835,000 (15%)  – community services
  • $627,300 (100%) – RSVP
  • $2,233,600 (100%) – Foster Grandparents
  • $1,604,400 (100%) – Senior Companions

Due to procedural maneuvers there was no roll call vote on the OSA cuts. 

This is very disappointing – however, here is what you can do now:

Send messages to the following, who are likely members of the conference committee, asking that OSA cuts in aging programs be restored.

Sen. Roger Kahn senrkahn@senate.michigan.gov 

   (866) 305-2132

Sen. John Moolenaar senjmoolenaar@senate.michigan.gov 

    (517) 373-7946

Sen. Vince Gregory  senvgregory@senate.michigan.gov   

   (517) 373-7888

Rep. Chuck Moss  chuckmoss@house.mi.gov  

   (877) 707-6677

Rep. Matt Lori   mattlori@house.mi.gov   

   (877) 262-5959

Rep. Rashida Tlaib  rashidatlaib@house.mi.gov    

    (877) 852-4212

Here are more talking points you can use:

  • 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:

Will the cuts ever end???  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!

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

The Senate has approved an OSA budget with no cuts in senior meals, keeping the cuts in community services, and increasing the cuts in volunteer programs to $670,000.  The House has approved a very different version that increased cuts in senior meals ($1.6 million) and community services ($1.8 million), and totally eliminated funding for three senior volunteer programs – RSVP, Foster Grandparents and Senior Companions ($4.4 million total). 

The next step is a joint House-Senate Conference Committee that will work out the differences.  

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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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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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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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Flu Shots for Kent County Residents

9/7/2010 2:30pm

The schedule for flu shots is now available, with the first location on September 30. For more information, look in the calendar section or open the “2010_flu_shot_schedule” in the right hand column.

Flu shots are available for Kent County residents 60-64 who do not qualify for Medicare or Medicaid funded vaccinations.

Comments

#1 Gayle Fisk said:

What about flu shots for the wife of a disabled person, whom , I , have mo medical coverage at all??? I need one but can't afford it. I got one last year at the 14 mile road health clinic in Rockford at no cost, and now they say they aren't doing that free anymore. Help

#2 Webmaster said:

Gayle, thank you for the inquiry. I have sent this information to you privately as well, but I would recommend contacting Catherine's Health Center. Their phone number is 616-336-8800 and they are located at 224 Carrier NE Grand Rapids, MI 49505.

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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

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