Governor says Michigan must better plan to serve growing population of older adults

Special message cites importance of living well, aging well

Monday, June 2, 2014

ROCHESTER, Mich. – Living a healthy lifestyle, staying active and engaged, achieving financial security and maintaining independence are critical for a high quality of life as we age, Gov. Rick Snyder said today when delivering his Special Message to the Legislature on Aging.

The governor presented his special message during a visit to the Older Persons’ Commission in Rochester.  

The state’s older adult population is growing rapidly. By 2030 nearly one in four Michigan residents will be age 60 and older. Residents are also living longer. The fastest growing segment of Michigan’s population is age 85 and older.

“We want Michigan to be a state where we live well and age well,” Snyder said. “Ensuring that more older adults have the opportunity to be healthy, independent and productive individuals in ‘age-friendly’ communities that support their needs will be critical as the state plans for the future. The simple truth is Michigan has more work to do to prepare for its aging population. It’s time to reinvent the way we think about aging in a positive way.”

The governor focused on four critically important areas that will improve the quality of life for Michigan’s older adults: Living a healthy lifestyle, remaining active and engaged, ensuring financial security during retirement, and retaining independence and choice.

To ensure older adults have the opportunity to maintain their independence and choice as they age, the governor reaffirmed his strong commitment to home- and community-based services for older adults through Michigan’s long-term care system. He also reinforced the importance of making Michigan a “no wait state” by properly funding these services to end service waiting lists.

“Michigan has a long history of providing quality services that help older adults maintain their independence and live in the setting of their choice as they age,” said Michigan Office of Services to the Aging (OSA) Director Kari Sederburg. “Thanks to strong leadership from the governor, Michigan will be able to fully fund senior services, eliminate waiting lists and provide our seniors the help they need.”

To make Michigan’s long-term care system more responsive, the governor announced the formation of a new partnership between OSA, the Department of Community Health (DCH), the Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) that will make the state system more efficient and coordinated.  

He also announced that the state will develop an aging website that will be a one-stop-shop for all aging-related information and provide older adults easier access to the numerous programs and services that are available to them. It will launch in early 2015.

Other highlights of the message include:

  • Encouraging Michigan employers to embrace policies and programs that will help family caregivers balance their responsibilities at home and at the workplace.
  • Directing the Department of Insurance and Financial Services to create a comprehensive package of financial tools and resources to help residents achieve financial security.  
  • Supporting the adoption of a pilot program to help families and caregivers of individuals with dementia achieve a greater understanding of the programs and services that are available.
  • Encouraging older adults to engage in lifelong learning through their local college/university.
  • Directing the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) and the Workforce       Development Agency to help older workers better connect with job opportunities and further enhance MiTalent.org.
  • Adopting Michigan-specific quality measures and person-centered performance incentives for nursing homes in the state.
  • Encouraging older adults to take advantage of volunteer opportunities through the Do Something Michigan campaign.
  • Charging the Michigan State Housing Development Authority to work with communities to create more age-friendly places in Michigan.
  • Directing the Michigan Department of Transportation to partner with metropolitan planning organizations and regional planning agencies to work on the issue of regional transit mobility.
  • Charging DHS and OSA to launch a Michigan-specific intergenerational pilot program in select Pathways to Potential schools, which will use older adult volunteers in Detroit Public Schools.
  • Tasking the MEDC to better coordinate entrepreneurial resources to streamline services and increase access for older adult entrepreneurs.

In keeping with previous special messages, an online "dashboard" has been created to help drive change and gauge progress in achieving Michigan's aging goals.

The dashboard and the entire Special Message on Aging are available at www.michigan.gov/snyder.

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Related Documents
Living Well, Aging Well Special Message PDF icon