LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) have approved and submitted an age-friendly action plan to AARP.

The plan is an effort to make the Great Lakes State more livable for people of every age.

“One of MDHHS’s priorities is to ensure that Michiganders can age in their homes and communities for as long as possible while continuing to contribute to the economy and live healthy lives,” said Farah Hanley, MDHHS chief deputy director for health. “The Age-Friendly Plan will help us accomplish this important goal.”

According to MDHHS, those ages 60 and older make up roughly a quarter of the state’s population.

The action plan has a focus on six key areas:

  • Community and Information
    • Expand the reach of information and awareness of aging network services, ensuring all older adults and caregivers can access culturally and linguistically appropriate quality services where and when they need them.
  • Respect and Social Inclusion 
    • Prioritize resources to promote social interaction and connectedness, including expanding access to technology and transportation.
  • Social Participation
    • Increase the number of aging network services that can be offered virtually, like Personal Action Toward Health and support groups.
  • Transportation
    • Ensure older adults and caregivers have transportation options that meet their needs in their communities.
  • Community and Health Services
    • Increase the number of well-trained, qualified and supportive multicultural direct care workers through collaboration by elevating the workforce, improving retention, promoting its collective value and supporting opportunities to increase wages.
  • Elder Abuse & Exploitation 
    • Leverage services and resources to ensure older adults have access to programs and services they need to make their own decisions to enable them to age in place.

So far, eight localities in Michigan, including East Lansing, Jackson and Lansing have joined the Age-Friendly community network and many more are in the planning stages.