Articles

Developing an Aging Plan

Planning for any future endeavor can be overwhelming; a big trip, a long-distance move, making a large purchase or upgrade. Developing an aging plan isn’t any different, it can be difficult to navigate. As with anything, starting to research an aging plan is often the first step. So why do you need an aging plan? It is important to recognize that you may not age exactly how you wish, but having this plan in place before barriers arise, allows you to have a peace of mind that your wishes are carried out how you want.

Over $13 Million In Funding Set To Positively Impact Older Adults Through The 2022 Kent County Senior Millage

The Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan is pleased to announce the Kent County Senior Millage (KCSM) partners for 2022 with funded services amounting to $13,309,835. The KCSM has helped fund vital services for older adults in Kent County since 1999 with the goal of enabling them to stay in their homes and communities as they age.

Malnutrition and Older Adults

Nutrition is an important aspect of our health and well-being at all ages. However, as we get older, we may be more susceptible to malnutrition. What is malnutrition? This typically means experiencing an imbalance of protein, calories, and other essential vitamins that we need to stay healthy. Malnutrition Awareness Week*, Oct 4th-8th, was established in 2012 by the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN) to educate healthcare professionals and patients on the importance of early detection and treatment. How can you tell if your loved one is experiencing malnutrition and what can be done to prevent it?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Older Adults

On July 26th, 2021 the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) celebrated its 31st year. This civil rights law was designed to ensure that people with disabilities have equal access to work, education, and their community. As we age our needs likely change. For many, this could lead to a decrease in mobility, vision, and/or hearing. From the ADA National Network*, “More than 30 percent of Americans over age 65 have some kind of disability and over 50 percent of those over age 75. These may range from difficulties seeing and hearing to walking and thinking. Under the ADA, it isn’t the cause of the disability that matters, but what it means in everyday life.” Therefore, many older adults are protected under ADA and can benefit from the support that is available to aid their daily living.

Millage Minder: Summer 2021

We continue to be inspired by our Kent County Senior Millage partners, who have been working tirelessly to continue their programming throughout the pandemic and making sure no older adult is without support. As we transition back to community-based activities, they have been adapting their programming to meet older adults' needs, while also providing a sense of safety through meals, housing support, transportation, and social activities that can help them “age in place”. You can learn more below!

Kent County Senior Millage FY 2022 Letter of Intent Now Available

The Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan (AAAWM) will accept Letters of Intent for 2022 Kent County Senior Millage (KCSM) funds. The KCSM Letter of Intent has been released and the submission deadline is July 30, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. The website link to begin the process is now available!

Reconnecting to Your Community

Some older adults are now eager to safely return to their communities. They are ready to engage with others and take part in the activities that they had enjoyed pre-pandemic. If you are a caregiver, you could also be returning to a bit of pre-pandemic “normalcy” and notice that you require a new routine in supporting your loved one. In both cases, there could be some uncertainty in where and how to get started. Help is available from the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan (AAAWM) and its network of community partners in making this safe transition. AAAWM and its partners are committed to serving older adults, persons with a disability, and their caregivers through a variety of services. Below we’ve highlighted just a few of the many resources that can help you get reconnected to your community.

What Is a Long Term Care Ombudsman? An Inside Look at the LTCO Program

You’ve likely heard of a Long Term Care Ombudsman (LTCO), but aren’t quite sure what this role does. The Long Term Care Ombudsman Program got its start in 1972. Today, there is an ombudsman program operating in every state across the US. These programs work to resolve problems related to the health, safety, welfare, and rights of individuals who live in long term care facilities.

Technology Resources for Older Adults

If we’ve learned anything from the pandemic, it is that connection with others is key to our wellbeing. The way we go about engaging with others has certainly changed, which could have contributed to the increase in social isolation as well. As we slowly return to the community, there will undoubtedly continue to be a large emphasis on taking social interactions online. This can prove to be a bit of a barrier for older adults, and understandably so, there are many websites, devices, and applications to navigate when trying to use technology. We’ve put together a list of some of the top resources that can help.

Building Healthy Habits- Introducing Active Living Every Day

Has the shutdown got you down? Has the pandemic removed all motivation to move? Got you stuck in a rut…or stuck on the couch? Then we have the program for you. Adding to our suite of evidence-based programs, the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan is offering a new program: Active Living Every Day (ALED).

Navigating Aging- Choices for Independence

A vast majority of older adults live in their own homes and communities and want to continue to do so. This lifestyle choice is called “aging in place.” However, it is a reality of life that everyone ages differently, and sometimes this means exploring various options for support.

Millage Minder: Support That Makes A Difference

During a typical year, the Kent County Senior Millage serves over 23,000 clients. Halting vital services for older adults and their caregivers was simply not an option, especially as new challenges arose for individuals due to COVID-19 precautions. KCSM partners rose to meet this need, coming up with creative ways to safely continue and expand their programming. Below we’ll hear from two Kent County Senior Millage Partners, the Alzheimer’s Association Michigan Chapter, and Spectrum Health Visiting Nurse Association’s Friendly Visitor program. Each shares the support that they have been able to continue to provide through the COVID-19 pandemic and how it has made all the difference.

COVID-19 Vaccine 101

The distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine is undoubtedly exciting, but like many, you could also have a bit of confusion. Exactly which vaccines have been approved? How do you qualify and sign-up? Does it cost money? What should you expect after? In this article, we’ll take a look at the commonly asked questions older adults and their family caregivers might have and point you to trusted resources.

All About MI Choice Medicaid Waiver

Aging is obviously something that everyone will experience. Yet everyone ages a little differently, meaning the supports and resources someone might require while getting older could take on a variety of different forms. If you wish to remain living at home, the MI Choice Medicaid Waiver program could be a good fit.

Getting Through a Long Winter

By now, you are likely tired of being home. We’ve had an unprecedented year with the COVID-19 pandemic that has left us all spending more time at home than we ever have before. Add in the winter weather we’re now experiencing, forcing us inside for long stretches of time, and we’re probably all feeling a little stir-crazy and drained. So what can we do to make this unique winter a little more bearable? Here are a few tips:

Thank you!

A huge thank you to all those who had a hand in putting COVID-19 Care Kits together for local older adults!

Guest Post: Be Kind to Your Mind

Do you find yourself feeling anxious, sad, or hopeless because of the COVID-19 pandemic? If so, you are not alone.

Over $12 Million in Funding Set to Positively Impact Older Adults through the 2021 Kent County Senior Millage

The Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan is pleased to announce the Kent County Senior Millage (KCSM) partners for 2021 with funded services amounting to $12,181,407. The KCSM has helped fund vital services for older adults in Kent County since 1999 with the goal of enabling them to stay in their homes and communities as they age.

Taking Care of Yourself During the Holidays

As a caregiver, you likely could be feeling burnt out and stressed about how to make the holiday season special for your loved one while being unable to take part in the usual traditions. Just because the circumstances surrounding the holidays have changed, doesn’t mean we can’t still find joy in the season. Here are some things you can do as a caregiver to take care of yourself, and in turn, your loved one.

Senior and Caregiver Resources During COVID-19

Now more than ever, the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan is the source for seniors. Below are just a few of the resources available to ease the burden for caregivers and support older adults:

Millage Minder: The Power of Connection

In trying times, the relationships we have with others can often become our anchors. With the current pandemic, this remains true, however, the way in which we connect with our friends, family, and community likely looks very different. In this Millage Minder, we will take a look at two KCSM partners, Life Therapeutic Solutions and St. Alphonsus’ Young at Heart program, who both used the power of connection in new and innovative ways.

Larry Murray Award Recipients

We were pleased to recently announce the recipients of the Larry Murray Award for 2019 and 2020!

Navigating Open Enrollment

Open Enrollment is here! For many this process can be confusing and overwhelming--how do you know which option is the best fit for you?

It Starts with a Phone Call…

Our Information and Assistance Department is an essential senior resource for our nine-county region. We work to connect seniors, family caregivers, and adults with disabilities to resources that help them to live independently. Navigating the vast number of resources that exist to aid older adults is no easy task, which is why we try to streamline this process and lead you through the journey.

Caregiving in the Time of Coronavirus

If you are a family caregiver, you could be feeling overwhelmed during this time. Many of your usual forms of support that were in place to help you care for your loved one, such as respite and adult day care services, may be on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic. You are also probably spending more time at home than usual as certain stay-home measures are in place, which means spending more time caregiving than you may be used to as well. These things add up, and it is possible you are experiencing feelings of stress, anxiety, and uncertainly. Yet it is important to remember... these feelings are normal.

A “New Normal” to Serving Older Adults

We want to be sure that all older adults are looked after and cared for during this uncertain time. With coronavirus, we have had to think outside of the box and get a little creative on how to continue to serve older adults while prioritizing their health and safety. What does this look like? Here is a little bit about what we’ve been doing at AAAWM…

Millage Minder: Rising to the Challenge

When the coronavirus pandemic began, there was, as expected, a bit of uncertainty. However, one thing remained paramount: our partners’ commitment to taking care of older adults in need. The KCSM team truly rose to the challenge, thinking outside of the box of how to get seniors the essential support they desperately required to stay healthy and well during this time. Hear from three of our #KCSM partners; Meals on Wheels Western Michigan, Moxie Life Organizing, LLC, and Senior Neighbors, as they share how they have adapted to continue to serve older adults and their family caregivers in the article here:

Guest Post: The gifts and challenges of social distancing varied by age, and stage of life

Laura Kelso, who created the Grand Rapids Savvy Senior Learning Series, shares her insights on current stay-home order..."As the weeks of social isolation dragged on, most of us have found ourselves with increased time on our hands. Time to catch up on unfinished projects, time to organize areas of our home, and above all, time to think."

An Update on Food Resources

An update on food resources for older adults in our region:

We're All in This Together.

What we’ve learned is that the best way for us to support older adults at this time is simple: we must look out for one another.

How to Support Seniors During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Around our West Michigan region, extra precautions are being made to keep older adults healthy. However, as the situation is ever-changing, more and more crucial services are being paused. So, what can you do to help those at risk?

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources & AAAWM Programming Updates

A few helpful resources in regards to COVID-19 and the latest updates on our programming.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources & AAAWM Programming Updates

A few helpful resources in regards to COVID-19 and the latest updates on our programming cancellations.

Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan Joins National Campaign to Raise Awareness of Local Home Modification Programs to Support the Changing Mobility Needs of Older Adults

Many older adults living in Kent County will likely experience changes to their mobility as they age. As a result of these changes, older adults and their caregivers will turn to local organizations for support with updating their homes to meet their evolving mobility needs, which can be a daunting process

Over $12 Million in Funding Set to Positively Impact Older Adults through the 2020 Kent County Senior Millage

The Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan is pleased to announce the Kent County Senior Millage (KCSM) partners for 2020 with funded services amounting to $12,033,000. The KCSM has helped fund vital services for older adults in Kent County since 1999 with the goal of enabling them to stay in their homes and communities as they age.

Many Hands Make Light Work

The Many Hands program helps caregivers access the support networks they may not realize they already have.

Getting Help with Medicare

With the Open Enrollment period right around the corner, it might be time to get some help with deciding what plans work best for meeting all of your healthcare needs. The Michigan Medicare/Medicaid Assistance Program, or MMAP for short, is available to do just that.

Announcement: SCSEP Ends

We regret to announce that Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan (AAAWM) will no longer be participating in the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP/Title V) effective June 25, 2018.

Annual Implementation Plan Draft

The Draft Annual Implementation Plan is available for view

CARF Survey June 18 - June 20, 2018

A survey team from CARF International* will be visiting AAAWM June 18 through June 20, 2018

Announcement: Public Hearing

The Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan (AAAWM) is seeking comment on its Draft Annual Implementation Plan (AIP) for fiscal year 2019.

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