In Lansing last week . . . . budget hearings in the State Capitol featured testimony by Kari Sederburg, Director of the Michigan Aging & Adult Services Agency (AASA). Sederburg shared a snapshot of Michigan's aging population along with AASA and aging network accomplishments:
- The state has 2 million 60+, with the 85+ the fastest growing - a 102% increase by 2030
- 45% of those 85+ have dementia with 1 in 5 caregivers dealing with the condition
- 80% of caregivers are unpaid family and friends
- Lawmakers allocated $5 million in FY 15 to serve 4,500 more seniors on waiting lists; the aging network stretched the dollars & served 6,096 more, exceeding its goal by 1,596
- Two-thirds of meals-on-wheels and home care recipients are women 75+, with more than half living alone or in rural areas
- AASA provided the state police with the addresses of 2000+ at-risk elders in Flint
- 'Boots on the ground' in assisting Flint elders include the staff of the Valley Area Agency on Aging, Meals-on-Wheels volunteers, Adult Service Workers and Long Term Care Ombudsmen
In public testimony, the Silver Key Coalition laid out a compelling case for a $5 million increase for in-home services in the FY 2017 AASA budget, enabling the 7,000 older adults on waiting lists to get services. Jim McGuire of the Area Agency on Aging IB explained the value proposition, "The most costly AASA service recipients are those who, based on their functional ability, qualify for nursing home care. In 2014, Michigan's Aging Network served these individuals at an average annual cost of under $6000. In comparison, the average annual Medicaid nursing home expenditure that year was over $68,000." Midland Council on Aging Director Alan Brown observed, "That $5 million will come back many times in human dignity - if we fail to invest, we will be paying more."
Also getting attention was Michigan's Nursing Facility Transition Initiative (NFTI). Mary Ablan of the Area Agencies on Aging Association, and Dr. Rob Deane MD of the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan testified that Michigan's program is a stand-out in the nation. Since 2005, MI Choice Waiver Agents including Area Agencies on Aging, along with Centers for Independent Living, have assisted over 12,000 nursing home residents on Medicaid to return to their homes, or find new homes in their community. In the last five years, over 1,600 residents have been transitioned each year.
Senate Subcommittee Chair Jim Marleau (R-Lake Orion) observed, "This is important work. My own family members didn't want to go to a nursing home."