Michigan OSA Announces Community For A Lifetime Recognition Program

Contact: David Dekker (517) 373-4082
Agency: Community Health

September 10, 2007

The Michigan Office of Services to the Aging (OSA), in conjunction with the Michigan Commission on Services to the Aging, announces a statewide community recognition program titled Community for a Lifetime. The program provides recognition for communities and local government entities that have accomplished a community assessment for livability and/or implemented improvements recommended by a livable community assessment.

The Commission on Services to the Aging, a 15-member body appointed by the Governor, developed the recognition program as part of a national trend to improve communities for an aging population. This trend quickly evolved into a broader concern about the community assets that make a community "livable" for residents of all ages and abilities. Major organizations such as AARP, Partners for Livable Communities, Visiting Nursing Services of New York, National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation have supported and developed community assessments to identify attributes such as walk-ability, transportation, enrichment, and safety and security.

At the core of this program is the determination of how easy it is for seniors to get to services provided throughout the community. Regardless of age, the ability to conduct daily business and participate in the social life of the community is often determined by the community design and assets that allow residents to access shops, banks, health care, restaurants and entertainment.

Several national models have been implemented in Michigan in the past few years. Recently, MSU-Extension and the OSA released a Community for a Lifetime assessment tool, piloted in Gaylord and Grand Haven. Community groups interested in conducting a livability assessment are encouraged to explore the Community for a Lifetime tool kit and application materials available at: www.Michigan.gov/miseniors. Applications for recognition are reviewed twice a year, on October 1 and April 1.

The Michigan OSA wants to assist communities across the state in making their communities a good place to grow up and grow old. For more information, please go to the above website or call Dan Doezema, OSA Specialist for Livable Communities, at (231) 929-2531.