Age Your Way

By Liz Barnett, Outreach Specialist at the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan

Imagine a mental image of yourself in 5 or 10 years from now. Where are you? Who is with you?  What are your senses telling you? What do you smell/see? And what are you doing? For many of us, we would likely picture ourselves at home, with family and friends nearby, and hopefully something delicious cooking!

This home-centered, future picture of your aging is what all nationwide Area Agencies on Aging call “Aging in Place.”  It is the mission of the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan (AAAWM) to help you age in place with dignity and independence how YOU envision it.

We know that each person has a slightly different vision of the future.  As my mom used to say, “To each their own”, or as the younger generations now say, “You do You!”  AAAWM knows that each person has different desires and challenges through the aging process, so we work to provide person-centered services developed with the individual in mind and their unique needs. Our person-centered services allow you to take the lead on your life and care, choosing the supports that make the most sense to you.  Person-centered services = aging with dignity and independence.

AAAWM offers a vast range of services and supports, and we like to think of these in three different levels; from 1. foundational in-home services to 2. protective supports, and 3. General services older adults can utilize regardless of income or assets. By providing these support services it is our desire to create care focused on each person. We want you to be able to Age Your Way!

AAAWM’s Foundational services are focused on long-term care in the home (as opposed to long term care in a facility.)  Income and asset qualifications do apply. The assessment is over the phone at no cost to those being assessed and can include things like help with bathing, toileting, feeding, and other personal care tasks, meal preparation, housekeeping, respite care, and personal emergency response systems. Programs under this level are Care Management, MI Choice Medicaid Waiver, Community Transition Services, and Choices for the Independence.

Our Protective services narrow in on protecting seniors from abuse, education for families and professionals, and political advocacy for issues important to older adults. Programs included at this level are the Kent County Elder Abuse Coalition, the Long Term Care Ombudsman program, Dementia Friends Michigan, and Advocates for Senior Issues.

Our General services are accessible by any adult 60 and older and looking for resources in the community to aging in place. Caregiver programming is also available to support them on their journey. These programs are Engaging Wellness, the Caregiver Resource Network, Family Caregiver University classes, and the Michigan Medicare/Medicaid Assistance Program.

Your future is important to you and important to us! You can call 616-456-5664 to ask about your next step and be connected to community partners. 

Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan helps older adults and individuals with disabilities remain independent and provides support and education to caregivers in Allegan, Ionia, Kent, Lake, Mason, Mecosta, Montcalm, Newaygo, and Osceola counties.