Creating Community for a Lifetime


Community-based Services

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Community-Based Services include everything from home repair and financial literacy programs to in-home meals and assistance with everyday activities. Community-Based Services recommendations focus on ways to enhance the effectiveness and capacity of the system of services by:

Desired Outcome

Older adults have opportunities and necessary supports to make choices and live independently.


Although the overwhelming majority of older Kent County residents want to remain in their homes as long as they can, nearly one in four (more than 14,000 individuals) need assistance from others to carry out everyday activities. A disproportionate number of the most vulnerable groups - low-income elders, minorities, those with a lower education, and those age 85 or more - need assistance to maintain independence in the community.

While thousands of older adults in Kent County are served by community - based programs, two out of three Kent County elders who need assistance with everyday activities are not receiving the help they need. One in four older adults simply does not know whom to call for information about supportive services.

In 2005, Governor Granholm created the Michigan Long-Term Care Supports and Services department and citizens' advisory commission within the Michigan Department of Community Health. The Governor charged these groups with streamlining and simplifying the state's long-term care system, providing a full array of coordinated services, and emphasizing individual choice.  She also called for demonstration projects to help develop a single point of entry system.

According to most estimates, Kent County's aging population will double in the next 30 years. Linking older adults with a daily nutritious meal, home repair service or other supportive services as their needs change can mean the difference between their ability to age in place and the costly and often disruptive option of moving to a long-term care facility.

One-Fourth of Kent County Elders Need Assistance

While the vast majority of Kent County elders are able to live independently, nearly one in four - 14,203 people - need assistance with everyday activities. Among those who need such assistance, only one out of three are receiving the assistance they need.

Assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)

Fourteen percent of Kent County elders - nearly 9,000 people - need assistance with activities of daily living, the most frequently cited being taking a bath or shower (5%), getting in or out of a bed or chair (3%), and just getting around (2%). Among those needing help with ADLs, a full 71% are not getting the help they need.

Assistance with Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs)

Seventeen percent of Kent County elders - more than 10,500 people - need assistance with instrumental activities of daily living, the most frequently cited being going outside the home (7%), housework (6%), keeping track of money or bills (5%), and transportation (4%). Among those needing help with IADLs, just over half (53%) are not getting the help they need.

Extent of Limitations

The qualification criteria for services varies by program. For many services elders must indicate that they need assistance with 3 or more ADL or IADL limitations. This means that the majority of those in Kent County who need assistance would not meet the qualification criteria for certain services.

Demographics of Elders Needing Assistance (ADLs and IADLs)

In Kent County, low income elders, minorities, those with a lower education, and those age 85 or more are significantly more likely than their counterparts to need assistance to maintain independence in the community. For example:


A User-Friendly Service System

Goal 1
Increase collaboration and integration of health care and social services in order to improve access for customers and formal and informal caregivers.


Adequate, Sustainable and Diverse Funding

Goal 2
Assure adequate resources directed to maintaining quality of life for long-term living.


Customer Choice

Goal 3
Preserve independence through development of a service system that supports self determination and provides customer education, autonomy, and informed choice.


Evidence-Based Practices

Goal 4
Provide effective services, particularly prevention services, through use of scientifically-tested practices that have evidence-based support.


Work Group



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