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Rural Health Information Hub

Michigan Aging & Adult Services Agency

  • Project Title: Community for a Lifetime
  • Program Representative Interviewed: Dan Doezema, Aging & Adult Services Field Representative
  • Location: State of Michigan
  • Program Overview: For more than 10 years, the state of Michigan's Aging & Adult Services Agency has provided technical assistance to communities throughout the state to participate in its Community For a Lifetime Assessment and Recognition initiative. The program provides communities an opportunity to receive recognition, guidance, and support in their efforts to become “aging-friendly.” In order to be recognized as a Community For a Lifetime, a community must conduct an “aging-friendly” community assessment, establish priorities, and develop an action plan to become more aging-friendly. The exact priorities and action steps depend on the community and its unique needs. Once communities complete an assessment and action plan, they can apply for recognition. They must also have the support of local leaders in the process; in turn, they receive support and advice from the state.

    The Aging & Adults Services Agency provides communities several models of assessments to choose from, acknowledging that communities have different needs and capacities. There is also a Michigan Community For a Lifetime Assessment that most applicants use to provide an additional assessment of their community. The program is designed to truly meet communities where they are, so that they can be evaluated with respect to their own baseline starting point, rather than against other communities that might be farther along with some aging-friendly features. The program also acknowledges that issues and needs may be different in nature and scope within rural communities. For example, the concept of “walkability” might be less applicable in residential and suburban areas that are quite far from existing cities. To date, 26 communities (including several rural towns and villages) throughout the state of Michigan have received recognition for completing an assessment and working toward ongoing community improvements.

Models represented by this program: