Protection of Seniors, Expansion of Programs, Take Center Stage in Legislative Forum in SWM

Seniors from across Michigan’s Great Southwest have a unique opportunity to take their concerns regarding the protection of seniors and expanding services to collectively help them directly to their state elected officials next month, and they don’t even have to leave home to take part.

Those types of issues will take center stage at an upcoming policy event hosted by the Region IV Area Agency on Aging as a part of Senior Action Week on Monday, May 10th at 2:30pm. It’s the 14th Annual Tri-County Legislative Forum on Senior Issues, and the public is welcome and encouraged to take part.

Seniors, caregivers and other people interested in senior issues are all invited to meet with state elected officials that day through a virtual event which provides an opportunity for those populations as well as people with disabilities and even professionals working in the field of aging to engage in a dialog with state legislators around a platform of issues key to people’s ability to age with dignity and independence in their own homes and communities.

The five advocacy priorities for Senior Action Week include:

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  • Rebalancing Medicaid-funded Long-Term Services & Supports (LTSS) to allow older adults to receive services in their own homes and communities instead of in an institutional setting
  • Increasing access to non-Medicaid Home  and Community-Based Services
  • Bridging the digital divide for older adults
  • Supporting and strengthening the direct care workforce
  • The establishment of a Kinship Caregiver Program

Christine Vanlandingham, Chief Operating Officer for the Region IV Area Agency on Aging, says,  “This event brings together seniors, caregivers and advocates from Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren counties to meet with their state representatives and senators to discuss critical issues facing seniors in Southwest Michigan,” and adds, “With the pandemic still ongoing, we continue to face challenges that continue to increase the vulnerability of older adults and impact families. The advocates will urge legislators to take action and ensure adequate funding in the FY2022 budget for critical supports and services older adults need to stay independent in their homes.”

Slated to participate in the discussion at the time of this announcement are:

  • State Senator Kim LaSata
  • State Rep. Brad Paquette
  • State Rep. Steve Carra
  • State Rep. Beth Griffin

Other invited legislators include State Rep. Pauline Wendzel and State Senator Aric Nesbitt.

Senior Action Week continues after the Tri-county Legislative Forum with featured daily policy topics aimed to raise statewide awareness around policy priorities of importance for area seniors.

Everyone interested in state policy issues impacting older adults is encouraged to attend. You can register for the event or find more information at this link:

Older Michiganian’s Day is part of a state effort by the aging network consisting of sixteen area agencies on aging and more than 1,300 service providers that directly deliver an array of supports and services to more than 250,000 seniors and persons with disabilities annually. For more information and resources visit the link above.

To see the advocacy platform created for this year’s event, click this link: