By 2020, nearly 25 percent of Michigan’s residents will be over the age of 60, and a vast majority of them will be living at home. While not everyone needs assistance as they age, some do.
In fact, one in four older adults experience behavioral health concerns that are not a normal part of aging. And of those individuals, two-thirds do not receive the assistance they need. One of the biggest challenges: they don’t know where to turn to for help.
In 2015, the Michigan Health Endowment Fund provided a grant to the Michigan Association of Community Mental Health Boards (MACMHB) to pilot the Senior Reach® program in Michigan. Senior Reach is a nationally recognized, evidence-based program that provides outreach and education, behavioral health treatment, care management, and other badly needed services to older adults who are isolated, frail, or in need of support. The program identifies older adults who may need emotional support or connection to community services, but who are not seeking services on their own behalf.
Training for Senior Reach partners in 12 project areas across Michigan kicked off last week in Battle Creek. We joined attendees from Community Mental Health, Area Agencies on Aging, and a variety of local service organizations for the first of of four trainings. These “train the trainer” sessions teach local partners how to host community partner trainings, manage referral lines, and develop partnerships to ensure older adults get connected to behavioral health services as well as other community-based services they may need.
We’re proud to partner with MACMHB to support the well-being, independence, and dignity of older adults who call Michigan home. Stay tuned for more updates, as all 12 sites—covering nearly half of Michigan’s population—will begin their Senior Reach programs next month.