Home for the Holidays

Many of us take the time spent with family during the holiday season as a given. Houses full of laughter, home-cooked meals, family games, stories, and general merriment. The traditions we have may change over the years, but the setting is often the same…home.

However, as we get older, it could become harder to stay living at home. The independence we once had may wane, and, in some cases, older adults could find themselves in a long-term facility setting. For four years, Darlene, 61, was in a facility due to a cancer diagnosis and ongoing health-related issues. For some, a facility is a great fit for their care needs, but Darlene dreamed of returning home, though she never thought it would happen. After small improvements in her health, she stated, “I put my heart and soul into getting well!

Once she built up her strength, Darlene faced an overwhelming task, how to return to the community while still meeting her care needs. This is where the Community Transition Services (CTS) program through the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan came in. Melissa, the social worker at Darlene’s facility, connected her to the program, which assists those wanting to return to the community by securing housing, setting up groceries and other household goods, and coordinating referrals for in-home services such as MI Choice Waiver, Care Management, and others.

With the help of the CTS program, Darlene is now home for the holidays in HER new apartment near her son and his family! She summed up her experience with the CTS team by saying, “It was a seamless transition! I felt comfortable putting all the loose ends in their hands!” Darlene is now enjoying her first holiday season at home with her family in five years.

The Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan (AAAWM) serves a nine-county region that includes Allegan, Ionia, Kent, Lake, Mason, Mecosta, Montcalm, Newaygo, and Osceola counties. In addition to the nine counties above, the Community Transitions Services program is also newly available in Oceana, Muskegon, and Ottawa counties. (Please note this is specific to the CTS program only and does not include other AAAWM programs). For someone to qualify for the CTS program, they must:

  • Reside in a facility
  • Currently on, or eligible for, Medicaid
  • Desire to return home or secure other housing (i.e., apartment or assisted living)
  • Has a barrier to discharging safely from a facility in one of the twelve CTS counties

To learn more and request an assessment, you can call the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan at (888) 456-5664. As a local contact agency, AAAWM can also meet with those residing in a facility who indicate an interest in learning about community resources. Darlene practices staying in a state of gratitude in her new home near her son and grandchildren, “I’m so thankful for everyone who participated in helping me find a home near family. I remember the day my son came and got me…I cried the whole way! Thank you, everyone!” We are so thrilled that the Community Transition Services program was able to assist Darlene in her transition and that she is home for the holidays!