Michigan communities push for a tax increase to help elderly


October 4, 2010

Some counties in Michigan, such as Wayne, Oakland and Maycomb, are quickly approaching a voting season that has been marked by one of the hottest topics in the region – caring for the area’s burgeoning senior citizen population, according to The Detroit Press.

The outcome for November is looking bright so far, as a primary in August revealed that the vast majority of voters are in favor of tax increases that will provide seniors with caretaking services.

This may be unsurprising, as the news provider reports that there are 2.7 million baby boomers in Michigan, all of whom are approaching an age where they may need some of these services themselves, in addition to their parents.

The one worry is that the state of the economy has left taxpayers suspicious of any rise in taxes, which has made many local political figures hesitant to put the issue on the ballot.

“What I kept hearing was that the timing was wrong in this economy,” Bob Brown, executive director of the Area Agency on Aging for Wayne County, told the news provider.

The recent primary has left many hopeful, but county commissioner Helaine Zack claims that there needs to be a group dedicated to promoting awareness of the need for funding, so that more residents are willing to pay the extra costs.

Paul Bridgewater, executive director of the Detroit Area Agency on Aging, admitted to the news source that he wasn’t considering pushing for the funding, but this summer’s results have made him change his mind.

“Taking care of seniors is taking care of [the rest of] us; it’s that simple,” he told the news provider.

One of the strongest arguments appears to be that providing older adults with the medical care they require to stay out of assisted living facilities can significantly decrease costs for the community.

These services could be a boon to people like Randy Turn, 51, who has been unemployed for a year and has lost half of his 401(k), according to the news source.

In addition to struggling with personal financial difficulties, he is also working to find the proper care for his 87-year-old mother, who is nearly deaf and at risk for falling.

One way for those who are caring for older parents to ensure that they can remain safe and independent is through the use of an elderly alert system. This device allows seniors to instantly contact caretakers or doctors in the case of an emergency. Another thing to remember is always to take advantage of the numerous senior citizen discounts widely available.

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