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.
Celebrating 40 Years
This year we are celebrating 40 years of serving the community. Ever wonder how it all started, who we serve or want to know where we are going? Take a few minutes to watch the videos below to find out more.
How it all Started: Laying the Groundwork
Who We Serve: Joyfully Serving
Where We're Going: Enriching Communities
Response to the Governor's State of the State
The Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan applauds Governor Snyder for his enthusiastic support for seniors and his recommendation to dedicate additional resources for in-home services. With more than 900 people waiting for home delivered meals and 3500 waiting for in-home services, the Governor's pledge to make Michigan a "No Wait State" for these services will make a big difference in the lives of thousands of Michigan seniors.
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
Scam Alert: Home Improvement Scams
Older adults, especially those in Kent County, are being advised to be careful when working with contractors for home improvements. The Grand Rapids Police Department has received a number of phone calls concernering contractors going door to door and convincing homeowners that they need work done that may not be necessary. The Kent County Elder Abuse Coalition urges seniors to pay attention to the following before having any home improvement work done
- Always get references from a contractor before you agree to a project
- Don’t agree to work “on the spot”, ask for an estimate and take time to look it over before making any decision.
- Never put down more than 50%
- Be skeptical of those who go door to door to solicit home improvement business, while they may be a legitimate company, it’s always a much safer when you initiate the call yourself
- Get another estimate, most companies/contractors will offer a free estimate and have them go over the estimate with you if you have any questions.
If feel you have been a victim of a scam artist, contact your local police immediately.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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!