Photo by Arturo Madrid on Unsplash
The 85 and older age group continue to be the fastest-growing population segment in the state. The state’s growing older adult population is, in part, driving the need for policies, programs, funding and advocacy that improve quality of life for those in their later life years. In 2010, Michigan’s population age 60 and older stood at 1.8 million. Today, that number has grown to more than 2.4 million people, or 24% of the state’s population. The U.S Census projects that Michigan will have 2.7 million residents over age 60 by 2030.
The new Michigan State Plan on Aging will help the growing number of older adults be more aware of available services, understand better how to remain socially connected and have the opportunity to make their own decisions.
The plan, which was released today by Aging & Adult Services Agency within the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), also calls for an increase in the number direct care workers to assist the state’s aging adults.
Michigan’s State Plan on Aging for FY 2021-2023 details how Michigan will move forward with advocacy, policy and program priorities that build on past successes, challenges and experiences.
“The growth of this population has implications for Michigan’s community-based long-term supports and services, some of which continually have waiting lists of people whose critical needs simply cannot be met with existing resources,” said Dr. Alexis Travis, senior deputy director of Aging and Adult Services Agency.
“The new state plan charts a course for the next three years to help us better meet the needs of older Michiganders,” Travis added.
The new plan builds on the strengths of Michigan’s aging network and aligns with its mission to deliver services in a person-centered, cost-effective way that best meets people’s needs. It was developed under the leadership of Aging & Adult Services and the Commission on Services to the Aging.
The plan was informed through engagement and input from a diverse group of older adults and partners across the aging network. Michigan’s State Plan on Aging for fiscal years 2021-2023 focuses on four goals:
- Expanding the reach of information and awareness of aging network services, ensuring all older adults and caregivers can access culturally and linguistically appropriate information and have awareness of quality services where and when they need them.
- Prioritizing resources to promote social interaction and connectedness, including expanding access to technology and transportation.
- Increasing the number of well-trained, qualified and supportive multicultural direct care workers through collaboration by elevating the workforce, improving retention, promoting its collective value and supporting opportunities to increase wages.
- Leveraging programs, services and resources to ensure older adults have the opportunity to make their own decisions and enable them to age in place – which means they have knowledge of their living options and can decide where they want to live as they age.
One year ago, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared Michigan an Age-Friendly state in partnership with AARP. Michigan is the first state in the Midwest and fifth in the nation to join the age-friendly movement. The three-year plan plays an important role in advancing Michigan’s commitment to the age-friendly movement.