Lansing, MI - Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) have approved and submitted Michigan’s Age-Friendly Action Plan to AARP.
This plan was the culmination of more than a year of collaboration with AARP and MDHHS’s Behavioral and Physical Health and Aging Services Administration to craft a comprehensive strategy to help Michigan’s older residents live well and safely in their communities.
Michigan’s plan can be found on the AARP website.
The plan follows Michigan’s designation in October 2019 as an AARP Age-Friendly State, the first step in a multi-year process to make Michigan more livable for people of every age. Michigan was the first state in the Midwest to join the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities. So far, eight municipalities in Michigan – Auburn Hills, East Lansing, Grand Rapids, Jackson, Lansing, Novi, Royal Oak and Southfield – have joined the Age-Friendly community network and many more are in the planning stages.
“One of MDHHS’s priorities is to ensure that Michiganders can age in their homes and communities for as long as possible while continuing to contribute to the economy and live healthy lives,” said Farah Hanley, MDHHS chief deputy director for health. “The Age-Friendly Plan will help us accomplish this important goal.”
Michigan’s residents 60 and older make up roughly a quarter of the state’s population.
Under the plan, Michigan’s Age-Friendly work will focus on six areas:
- Community and Information – Expand the reach of information and awareness of aging network services, ensuring all older adults and caregivers can access culturally and linguistically appropriate quality services where and when they need them.
- Respect and Social Inclusion – Prioritize resources to promote social interaction and connectedness, including expanding access to technology and transportation.
- Social Participation – Increase the number of aging network services that can be offered virtually, like Personal Action Toward Health and support groups.
- Transportation – Ensure older adults and caregivers have transportation options that meet their needs in their communities.
- Community and Health Services – Increase 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.
- Elder Abuse & Exploitation – Leverage services and resources to ensure older adults have access to programs and services they need to make their own decisions to enable them to age in place.
According to AARP, Michigan’s Age-Friendly Action Plan is the blueprint needed to help adults 50 and older remain in their homes and communities for the long-term.
“We know from a recent AARP survey that 77% of older adults want to age in place, and there’s no doubt helping them do so makes sense for everyone,” said AARP Michigan Director Paula D. Cunningham. “Older residents earn money, pay taxes and purchase many goods and services, particularly locally. An age-friendly state sustains not only the individual but our communities, and that will become even more critical in just six short years when Michigan will have more people over the age of 65 than under the age of 18 for the first time in our history.”Michigan will now turn to implementing the recommendations and working with local partners alongside AARP to encourage age-friendly initiatives in all parts of the state.