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No Place Like Home: Funding Will Help Michiganders Age in Place

PHOTO: From working in the garden to enjoying the comforts of home, aging in place is what experts say most Michiganders want for themselves, and advocates say the new state budget will help them do that. Photo credit: bjwebbiz/morguefile.
PHOTO: From working in the garden to enjoying the comforts of home, aging in place is what experts say most Michiganders want for themselves, and advocates say the new state budget will help them do that. Photo credit: bjwebbiz/morguefile.
June 19, 2015

LANSING, Mich. - It's been said there's no place like home, and that's where more older Michiganders will be able to stay, thanks to continued funding for programs that help them live independently in their homes and communities as they age.

In these tough budget times, said Lisa Dedden Cooper, manager of advocacy for AARP Michigan, it's a significant victory in her eyes that programs such as the MI Choice Waiver were not cut. She said these programs fill vital roles for thousands of Michiganders who just need a little help to stay in their homes.

"Things like Meals on Wheels and other in-home services," she said. "things that help people with the activities of daily living, like shopping or laundry or cooking meals."

The new state budget, which was signed by Gov. Rick Snyder on Wednesday and takes effect in October, maintains last year's funding increase of more than $26 million for MI Choice Waiver. Meanwhile, the Program for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, or PACE, did receive a boost and will expand to Traverse City and Jackson next year.

Not only do these programs help honor the desires of the overwhelming majority of older adults to stay in their homes as they age, Dedden Cooper said, but they make good fiscal sense for the entire state.

"We know that on average, Medicaid dollars can support nearly three older adults or people with physical disabilities in home- or community-based settings for every one person in a nursing home," she said.

Experts say there are numerous mental and physical benefits for older adults who are able to age in place, which then drive further cost savings to the entire system.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - MI