May Blog – Older Americans Act, Senior Action Week, & Older Michiganians Day
Taking Action for Senior Action Week and Older Michiganians Day 2023
The Senior Alliance is a non-profit organization, part of a statewide network of Area Agencies on Aging that administers services funded by the Older Americans Act and the Older Michiganians Act. One of our missions is to serve as an advocate for older adults in our service area by monitoring, evaluating, and commenting on policies that affect older adults.
Decisions made by state legislators in Lansing directly impact the quality of life for older adults throughout the state. Each year, The Senior Alliance staff members take part in Senior Action Week and the Older Michiganians’ Day Rally, held on the lawn of the Michigan State Capitol, to draw attention to the needs (and voting power) of older adults. .
Legislative Platform for 2023
The Senior Alliance advocates in partnership with the Area Agencies on Aging Association of Michigan, among other organizations. This year, the Area Agencies on Aging Association of Michigan has developed the following platform for legislative action. The platform highlights five critical areas impacting older adults in Michigan and recommends actions that policymakers can take to address the issues.
Support Family and Informal Caregivers
An estimated 23% of Michiganians provide unpaid, informal care and are the largest provider of long-term services and supports in the country. With the continuing direct care workforce shortage, support for these caregivers is more important than ever. Action: Invest one-time funding to develop and implement a Caregiver Resource model that will identify, serve, and support caregivers.
Support and Strengthen the Direct Care Workforce
In Michigan, an estimated 36,000 more direct care workers (DCW) are needed to meet demand, but due to low wages, a lack of professional development, and the absence of benefits, it is difficult to attract and retain these workers. Action: Support a $4 per hour DCW wage increase.
Support and Strengthen the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program
A recent review of the ombudsman program found that to reach the recommended minimum staff-to-bed ratio of 1:2000, Michigan needs to add 33 more full-time ombudsmen. The funding formula used to distribute ombudsman funding has not been updated since 1987. Action: Add 33 new full-time positions.
Increase Access to Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS)
Michigan’s Administration for Community Living Supports (ACLS) provides home-delivered meals, in-home personal care, homemaking, and respite care that delay or prevent the need for more costly long-term care interventions. There are currently 7,270 seniors on waiting lists for essential non-Medicaid in-home services provided through ACLS-funded programs. Action: Support the Silver Key Coalition’s request for budget increases for ACLS in-home services and home-delivered meals.
Expand Access to MI Choice
With only 37% of Long-term Services and Supports funding allocated to home and community-based services (HCBS), Michigan ranks near the bottom in the proportion of taxpayer dollars spent by states to provide long-term care through HCBS versus institutional care. Action: Raise MI Choice reimbursement rates to keep up with inflation and the increased costs of providing care.
How You Can Help
At The Senior Alliance, we believe nutrition, health, and housing stability should be easier to obtain for older adults and adults with disabilities. Working with other agencies and legislators across the state, we can create a conversation that inspires action to make a real difference. Community impact goes even further when we work together to make a change.
Learn more about our advocacy work by reading Colloquy, our monthly advocacy update newsletter, and by downloading our advocacy brochure. To find out how you can help advocate for seniors in our state or to receive the newsletter and occasional advocacy alerts via email, contact us at email@example.com or (734) 722-2830.