About Bay Area Senior Advocates

Mission

The mission statement represents an organization’s fundamental purpose.

The planning process, including the member surveys and the September 20 planning session, clearly affirmed the fundamental mission of BASA is on target.

To support and enrich the lives of older adults through collaboration, planning, and advocacy.

However, it was suggested that it may be more appropriate to eliminate the words planning, and advocacy since they are descriptors of activities, not of the group’s fundamental purpose.

We recommend that BASA members consider amending the mission statement as follows:

Our Mission is…
To support and enrich the lives of older adults through collaboration.

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Needs to be Met

Population growth of older adults in our region and a corresponding increase in needs is inevitable.  BASA is a unique blend of both public and private partnerships working together for the good of older adults, families and caregivers in our region, and therefore, has a unique opportunity to make a difference.

Grand Traverse County Population Growth Age 60+

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Grand Traverse County Population Comparison

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Identified Issues

It is the wish of BASA that the following issues and recommendations be addressed and considered in the development of any strategic planning or service provision in our region. (From 2006 White Paper)

A. Connection to Community
Many seniors live in social isolation and are unable to fully participate in their community. Community engagement is connected to improved feelings of satisfaction and quality of life. Affordable and accessible housing, transportation, and designing elder friendly, “livable” communities help provide the infrastructure for community connection. Encouraging seniors to engage in their community through volunteerism, civic participation, leadership, and mentoring enhances the feeling of attachment and successful aging.  Additionally, engaging the business and education communities to become involved in creative ways to assist and support these initiatives is critical.
B.  Long-Term Care
Long-term care is an array of health and personal care/support services needed by people who have disabilities or chronic health care needs.  Services may be short-term or long-term and may be provided in a person’s home, in the community, or in residential facilities. Many seniors rely on Medicaid programs to provide them with the support services they need.  Currently, Michigan needs to have these options and the funding to support the entire range of services available to Michigan residents.

C. Transportation
For many seniors, lack of affordable, safe, accessible transportation prevents individuals from partaking in daily living activities such as getting to and from medical appointments, shopping, as well as participating in social and recreational activities. While public transportation services exist in our Northern Michigan counties, there are some individuals that require more specialized assistance and cannot access the demand-response services or who may need to cross county lines outside of the provider’s service area. Some seniors find the direct route bus service confusing to use and have a fear of being stranded. Also, communities that provide walkable and bikeable sidewalks and streets provide an additional option for seniors to be mobile.

D. Housing
The majority of seniors would like to “age in place.”  That is, to live in a home that will serve their needs throughout their lives. Unfortunately, most of the homes that are built do not incorporate accessibility as a standard design feature; instead it is thought to be the exception. Building homes that are “visit-able” is to incorporate simple design features that ensure that if an individual comes to a point in life when they need a wheelchair or a walker, that home will not become a barrier to that person’s ability to live there. Simple changes in building design such as a no-step entry, wider door and hallways, wider floor areas in kitchens and bathrooms will ensure that the home will be usable for people of all ages and abilities.

E. Medicare/Medicaid
Medicare/Medicaid is an essential part of maintaining the health of seniors and persons with disabilities. Medicare must be protected from budget cuts that would lead to decreased quality of care for our seniors and persons with disabilities. Any reform to Medicare must ensure that the program will be able to continue to provide affordable, quality health care coverage.

F. Senior Abuse and Exploitation
Every year we hear stories about seniors who are abused and exploited. Senior abuse includes, not just physical abuse, but also emotional, and mental abuse. Many seniors are vulnerable to physical abuse and financial exploitation. To better protect seniors from criminal activity it is important to educate seniors, their families, and community groups about fraudulent consumer practices, abuse and exploitation, and senior rights. This also includes electronic media and identity theft issues.

G. Health and Wellness
Currently, fourteen percent of Michigan’s population is age 65 or older.  By the year 2030, it is expected that Michigan’s senior population will increase to 25 percent of the population.  According to the Michigan Department of Community Health, 84 percent of Michigan’s seniors live with one chronic disease or disability.  Since nearly 80 percent of healthcare spending is on treating chronic conditions, the impact that the growing aging population will have on the healthcare and community support systems will be substantial.  Disease prevention and early detection efforts to deter or delay chronic disease or disability are important strategies to reduce the economic burden to the healthcare systems while improving the quality of life of Michigan seniors.  Disease prevention is best achieved through healthy lifestyle choices, such as, no tobacco use, moderate alcohol consumption, good nutrition, increased physical activity and positive mental health.

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The Shared Vision of Accomplishment

The purpose of the Vision Statement is to describe the collective hopes and dreams of those who have a stake in the future of the organization.  The practical time period for this shared vision is the next three years.  The vision is intended to serve as a motivating, compelling description of the desired future.

The vision and descriptive statements that follow were developed through a consensus process on September 20 with participation of forty BASA members.  These statements are representative of the dialog that took place that day in response to the following focus question:

What specific, concrete accomplishments would you like to see in place three years from now that would demonstrate that BASA is effectively accomplishing its mission to support and enrich the lives of older adults  through collaboration, planning, and advocacy?

Our Vision: 2010

Three years from now increased resources and integrated planning systems to meet the emerging needs of the region’s older adults will demonstrate that the Grand Traverse Region is leading the way in the creation of vital, supportive communities in which seniors choose to live.

This vision will be demonstrated by:

1.   Resources to Meet Senior Needs Including:

  • A Senior Expo that is accessible, relevant and beneficial, and has become a ‘Must Do’ annual event.
  • A new Bayside/ Senior Center has been built and is meeting the social, recreational and educational needs of adult members in an environment that is fun, safe, inclusive and courteous for all participants and guests.
  • Information and assistance resources are easily accessible through a variety of media and communication networks.
  • Direct support services are available to meet the basic health and safety needs of older adults in need of assistance.

2.   Senior Sensitive Planning Systems Including:

  • A system to monitor issues impacting older adults and to advocate for senior needs in the greater community.
  • Representation of senior issues is a core component of all planning & development initiatives in the Traverse City region.
  • An organizational model and processes that will position BASA to sustain its efforts on behalf of seniors.