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In this issue:
The Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan (AAAWM) is pleased to announce that Kendrick Heinlein, current Director of Contract Services at the agency, will take on the role of Executive Director beginning October 1, 2022 following Jackie O'Connor's retirement.

I look forward to building upon our current services to best support seniors, persons with a disability, and their caregivers in our nine-county region. I want AAAWM to be recognized as an aging resource where staff and partner agencies collaborate on innovative and inclusive programming to support these populations and fill gaps in care. I’m thrilled to be able to continue to work with the community in West Michigan, as well as our amazing partners and staff, on reaching these goals,” explains Heinlein.

You can read more about Kendrick and his background below:

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Community Connections: Resources for Combating
Social Isolation

Many seniors will tell you that these last couple of years during the pandemic have taken a toll. Feelings of isolation and loneliness are pervasive. Sabrina Minarik, Contract Administrator, joined My West Michigan to talk about the challenges of social isolation for seniors and what can be done to help. The Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan has resources for both seniors and their caregivers. You can watch this interview below!

WZZM My West Michigan Interview
Listen to the WGVU Morning Show Interview

Staying Active While Aging- Avoiding Falls

September 18-24 was Falls Prevention Week, a nationwide effort to raise awareness that falls are preventable. As we get older the chance of our suffering a fall increases, in fact, according to the National Council on Aging (NCOA) 1 in 4 Americans aged 65+ falls each year*. The key to fall prevention is that because we know which factors contribute to falls we can work to prevent them. The National Council on Aging recommends a number of steps you can take to prevent a fall and build your confidence along the way!
Read the Falls Prevention Article

Avoid Falling for Scams

The fall season has arrived which means it’s almost Open Enrollment for health care plans. Scammers take advantage of this time of year by posing as representatives that offer assistance in signing you up for healthcare, which can be a confusing process. There is help available to navigate and enroll in the best healthcare plan for you but it’s important to know how to differentiate between what’s a scam and what’s legitimate.
Warning Signs it’s a Scam:
  • SCAM: An unsolicited “agent” calls and offers help enrolling you in a health plan.
  • TIP: Legitimate agents need your permission to contact you.
  • SCAM: The scammer will ask for your personal information such as Medicare or Social Security number.
  • TIP: You are always able to get information about Medicare plans without providing an ID number. ID number is only required when actually enrolling.
  • SCAM: Scammers will pressure you into joining their prescription plan and state if you delay you will lose your coverage.
  • TIP: There may be a penalty if you delay enrolling in the Medicare prescription drug plan (Part D) but that coverage is voluntary.
  • SCAM: Scammers may offer “free gifts” in exchange for your personal information.
  • TIP: Real agents will never withhold service in exchange for your personal information.
Protect Yourself:
  • If you need assistance with Open Enrollment, go directly to trusted sources such as or contact the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan for the Medicare/Medicaid Assistance Program or call 616-456-5664.
  • If you believe you have given your information to a scammer claiming to be from Medicare, call 1-8000-MEDICARE to report it.
  • If you suspect fraud when signing up for the Affordable Care Act, go to or call the Health Insurance Marketplace at 800-318-2596.
For more information on elder abuse and tips to avoid scams visit
Source:  Better Business Bureau (
The Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan joins the Hispanic community in celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month, which takes place from September 15 to October 15. We pay tribute to the generations of Hispanics who have positively influenced and enriched our West Michigan community and our nation. This year’s theme was released by The National Council of Hispanic Program Managers and is “Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation”. The theme strives to ensure representation and welcoming of all voices to build a stronger community.
Read More

Save the Date: Upcoming Events

Upcoming Dementia Friends Sessions
Thursday, October 20, 2022 | 10:30 am - 12:00 pm *Hybrid*
Thursday, November 17, 2022 | 10:30 am - 12:00 pm *Hybrid*
Learn more and register!

Advocates for Senior Issues
Friday, October 21, 2022 | 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Location: In-Person @ Salvation Army Kroc Center
Visit the website here!

Virtual Family Caregiver Support Group
Tuesdays | 10:00 - 11:00 am via Zoom
See the flyer here!

Save the Date: AAAWM's Fitness Programs Return
Classes return in October 2022! Further details to come!
Jackie O'Connor has dedicated 38 years to the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan, older adults, and persons with a disability including spending the last 6 years in the Executive Director role. We held a celebration in honor of her retirement where she received the following recognition:
  • Proclamation by the Kent County Board of Commissioners presented by Kent County Commissioner Carol Hennessy 
  • Special Tribute from the State of Michigan presented by Senator Winnie Brinks
  • United States Senate Certificate of Congressional Recognition from Senator Debbie Stabenow presented by Regional Manager Mary Judnich
Please join us in showing our gratitude to Jackie for her leadership at our agency as she celebrates this new season!

Copyright © Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan, All rights reserved.
Our mailing address is:
3215 Eaglecrest NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49525
Phone: 616-456-5664

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Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan · 3215 Eaglecrest Dr. NE · Grand Rapids, Mi 49525 · USA

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