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Community Conversations designed to improve the lives of senior citizens

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Bureau of Aging, Community Living and Supports is inviting the public to join community conversations online and throughout the state to discuss the needs of older adults.

MDHHS is seeking input regarding the needs and gaps in programs and services that affect the quality of life for older residents. They will use information gathered during the community conversations and from survey responses to identify priorities for the department in support of the health and well-being of Michigan’s older adult population.

The State’s units on aging are tasked under the Older Americans Act with developing and administering a multi-year State Plan in Aging that provides goals and objectives related to assisting older residents, their families, and caregivers in their states. The plan serves as a blueprint outlining coordination and advocacy activities to meet the needs of older adults and for building capacity for long-term care efforts in the state. In addition, aging services help older adults live in the setting of their choice for as long as possible, and complement the care provided by family or friends.

“The needs assessment that is underway will provide MDHHS and partners with important information for the development of Michigan’s next three-year State Plan on Aging,” said Farah Hanley, chief deputy director for health. “We welcome input as the voices of Michigan’s older adults are critical to the plan and their input will provide valuable insights into the priorities and needs of this growing segment of our population.”

A draft plan goes before the state’s Commission on Services to the Aging for approval before being submitted to the Federal Administration for Community Living by July 1 for implementation during fiscal years 2023-2026.

Anyone interested in providing information on the needs of older adults is invited to participate in a community conversation or complete a survey. Survey questionnaires are available online on the Behavioral and Physical Health and Aging Services Administration webpage and in paper form in English, Spanish, and Arabic at the in-person.

The community conversations are in January and February at various locations across the state and in four separate online forums. The Berrien County meeting is scheduled for Feb. 2, 10:30 a.m., at the Campus for Creative Aging, located at 2920 Lakeview Ave., St. Joseph. For in-person gatherings, appropriate health and safety precautions will be taken.

For those who want to attend the online community conversations, they are scheduled for the following dates:

Tuesday, February 7 at 9 a.m.

Wednesday, February 15 at 2 p.m.

Thursday, February 16 at 6 p.m.

Space is limited and organizers require RSVPs for planning purposes. Please RSVP to the location host at 269-983-0177 or by calling Tammy Lemmer at 517-230-9707. Lemmer is also available to answer questions about the needs assessment or plan development efforts.

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