Older Michiganians Day (OMD) is an annual rally that takes place at the Capitol Building in Lansing each year during Older Americans Month. However, since the pandemic began, the rally has changed in order to ensure the safety of all participants.
This year, instead of a rally at the Capitol, the Area Agencies on Aging are participating in a Senior Action Week from May 10 through the 14, with a special live virtual event on Wednesday, May 12. Each day of the week focuses on a key area of senior service and provides an action that those in the community can take to advocate for the protection of services that allow seniors to age with dignity and independence.
Here is a breakdown of Senior Action Week:
Monday, May 10 will focus on rebalancing funding for community-based long-term services and supports (LTSS). The goal of this is to expand access to the MI Choice Waiver program, and make improvements to the program which will allow Medicaid beneficiaries to be served more effectively in their own homes. You can take action by contacting your representative to ask that funding is appropriated to rebalance Medicaid LTSS funding in Michigan to achieve a goal of at least 50% going to Home and Community Based Services, like MI Choice Waiver.
Tuesday, May 11 will focus on increasing access to Home and Community Based Services. In Michigan, over 6,000 seniors are on waiting lists for essential non-Medicaid in-home services. In-home services help seniors age at home successfully. You can take action by supporting the Silver Key Coalition’s request for a $6.375 million increase for Aging & Adult Services Agency’s (AASA) in-home services and a $1 million increase for home delivered meals in AASA’s FY 2022 budget.
Wednesday, May 12 will focus on bridging the digital divide for older adults. Access to reliable internet has proven to be vital in the last year. A digital divide exists for seniors partly due to lack of access for rural and low-income residents, as well as due to a lack of understanding in how to use the internet and connected devices. You can take action by contacting your representative and urging them to expand access to reliable and affordable internet for Michigan residents, and to provide funding for digital education for older adults.
Thursday, May 13 will focus on supporting and strengthening the caregiver workforce. Direct Care Workers provide care that helps older adults remain in their homes and communities as they age. These caregivers need adequate training and compensation to continue providing these services. You can take action by contacting your representative to convey support of the Governor’s request to make the $2 per hour wage increase for these workers permanent in 2022 and request their support for the policies that provide quality training for caregivers.
Friday, May 14 will focus on the establishment of a Kinship Care Navigator Program. This program would provide support to assist kinship caregivers as they care for their family members, such as grandparents caring for their grandchildren. You can take action by contacting your representative to ask them to revisit the establishment of a Kinship Care Navigator Program at the state level to assist kinship caregivers in obtaining resources and training to help the kinship family thrive.
Michigan House of Representatives for Barry and Calhoun County are listed below:
Barry County, District 87
Calhoun County, District 62
Calhoun County, District 63