Health care to be growth area for state

Carol Cain| Detroit Free Press

With the graying of Michigan’s population will be growing opportunities for businesses and organizations catering to this aging boomlet.

“If we look at the tri-county area, we see the population age 65-and-up expected to grow from 428,082 in 2010 to 732,310 in 2030 — that’s a 71% increase,” said Kurt Metzger, director of Data Driven Detroit.

“Health care — home visitation, medical supplies, etc. — will be a growth area,” said Metzger.

According to the U.S. census, 13% of the total U.S. population is age 65 and older. In Michigan, that figure is 13.8%.

In Michigan, the number of people ages 65 and older increased 11.7% from 2000 to 2010.

With the aging of Michigan will come a growing need for more medical and health care choices, long-term care at home, medical device manufacturing and more.

The Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) — the jobs-creation arm of the state — also sees health care as a growth segment for the state.

“In areas related to products and services — like medical devices — that growth is going to have to happen somewhere, and we think Michigan has advantages few other states can match,” said David Morris, research director at MEDC, referring to the state’s well-honed reputation as a manufacturing mecca.

Jim Dehem, president and CEO of Community Living Services, took note of the shifting demographics and created a division to provide long-term at-home care for seniors.

Community Living Services, based in Wayne, began as a state agency to facilitate the closing of all public institutions for people with disabilities to get back into the community.

CLS has about 4,000 patients across southeast Michigan.

Most customers are people living with disabilities like Andre Robinson, a 40-year-old Detroiter who has cerebral palsy and was able to move into an apartment on his own with help from CLS as well as his family.

With the growing population, CLS expects to add more seniors to its customer base.

Providing a home to people with disabilities through birth, war or aging is less costly to the taxpayer and better for the individual and their family.

Being at home and in their own setting makes most people feel better.

“We provide case managers and support coordinators that connect people with resources so they can stay in their homes and communities,” Dehem added.

With 80% of Michigan’s Medicaid long term-care dollars going to institutional care, there is room for improvement, particularly when it comes to seniors who can benefit from staying in their own homes, he said.

To highlight the often-complicated and difficult issues of long-term care, CLS created a 30-minute documentary called “Support at Home,” which airs at 7 p.m. Saturday on CBS 62.

It was produced by Tom Watkins, former state mental health director and state superintendent of schools, an expert in the field.

Dehem said they hope to educate citizens and policy makers about the needs of providing support at home.

It features vignettes of people as well as interviews with Gov. Rick Snyder, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson on these issues.

Contact Carol Cain at 313-222-6732 or She is senior producer and host of “Michigan Matters,” at 11:30 a.m. Sundays on CBS 62.

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