Research consistently shows that the vast majority of older adults wish to remain in their homes as they age as opposed to more institutional settings. A 2011 AARP survey found, “nearly 90 percent of people over age 65 want to stay in their home for as long as possible, and 80 percent believe their current residence is where they will always live. However, for older adults to age in place, their physical and service environment must be accommodating.” State supported home and community based services provide the basic necessities that help enable seniors to stay safely in their housing of choice. The need for these services exceeds availability forcing seniors to wait for help, and bear the negative consequences of going without.
As a result, thousands of Michigan seniors languish on wait lists for key in-home services made available through the Michigan Office of Services to the Aging (OSA) like personal care, homemaking and home delivered meals, with little hope for assistance. At the beginning of FY 2014 there were 3,568 seeking help with in-home services and over 952 requesting home delivered meals due to their difficulty being able to perform necessary activities of daily living such as meal preparation, grooming, bathing, etc. A recent survey of those on in-home service wait lists found dire consequences for individuals, family caregivers, and taxpayer-supported state services when they are denied the help needed to remain living independently in a safe and supported environment. Within two years after being placed on a wait list those who received no help were:
The increased burden on disabled seniors’ family caregivers was also significant:
The wait list problem has been compounded by an annual 2% increase of about 50,000 Michigan seniors and the loss of $8.1 million in state support for OSA programs since 2009.
The purpose of this white paper is to document the extent and impact of unmet in-home service needs among older Michiganians and adults with a disability, as well as the impact on family caregivers. The paper provides data that justifies an increase in state support for in-home services targeted to near-poor individuals who do not qualify for welfare or other Medicaid long term care programs.
The paper has been prepared by the Silver Key Coalition, a group of individuals and organizations committed to supporting the desire of older adults and adults with a disability to remain living independently in their own home for as long as possible. The Coalition recognizes that having a key to one’s own home is one of the most important quality of life elements, and advocates for a $10 million multi-year increase in state supported in-home services through the Michigan Office of Services to the Aging. The Coalition goal is to make Michigan a “no wait state” for in-home services, beginning with a $5 million increase in state funding for FY 2015.
 (2011). Aging in place: A state survey of livability policies and practices. In Brief, 190, Retrieved from http://www.aarp.org/home-garden/livable-communities/info-11-2011/Aging-In-Place.html
 Based on a study of two-year outcomes for 1,471 individuals placed on in-home service wait lists in Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Clair, and Washtenaw counties in 2008, conducted by Area Agency on Aging 1-B.