‘We Have to Do More’: How Michigan Is Investing in its Senior Residents

Photo courtesy of the governor's office

By Keya Vakil

January 25, 2022

From meal assistance to eliminating the pension tax, here is a look at what Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has been working on to support seniors across the state. 

Need to Know

  • New investments for seniors include increased nursing home support payments
  • Gov. Gretchen Whitmer now wants to eliminate the pension tax, which would give more than 400,000 Michiganders with pensions an estimated $800 tax break
  • Retirees like Frankie Jones say these policies keep them living in Michigan. “What gives me hope is that we’re still standing, we’re still thriving,” she said

MICHIGAN—When a torrential downpour of rain poured from the sky last summer, Frankie Jones was one of many Washtenaw County residents who suddenly found her life turned upside down.

Five feet of water flooded Jones’ basement, destroying everything the Ypsilanti retiree had down there and forcing her and her husband out of their home. 

“My husband and I had to leave the home for two or three days and stayed at a hotel because we didn’t have any air conditioning here and the heat was unbearable,” Jones said in a video ahead of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s State of the State address on Tuesday. “A lot of the stuff that we lost will never be replaced and it’s been a devastating experience. And it wasn’t just me but it was this whole community.”

Despite her hardships, Jones said her experience didn’t break her or her faith in Michigan. 

“I’ve been in Michigan ever since I was six years old and I love Michigan. I love the community because we are a close-knit community,” she said. “What gives me hope is that we’re still standing, we’re still thriving. There’s some good people in Michigan.”

Jones’ video is just one part of a series highlighting why Michiganders across the state believe in Michigan’s accomplishments under Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s leadership in the areas of infrastructure, public safety, support for small businesses, investments in education and talent, job creation, and in Jones’ case, policies to support older Michiganders.

Whitmer’s efforts to help seniors include:

  • Increasing nursing home support payments
  • Streamlining government services to help seniors age in their own homes
  • Investing in senior home care and improving access to senior centers
  • Investing in transportation options and meal delivery for seniors
  • Fighting back against elder abuse

Whitmer has also introduced a proposal to eliminate the pension tax, which would give more than 400,000 Michigan seniors with pensions an $800 tax break. 

Ahead of her speech on Tuesday, Whitmer made clear her work to help seniors is not yet finished.

“We have to do more to help older Michiganders access affordable healthcare, retire with dignity, and have attainable, affordable housing,” Whitmer said in a statement. “I am committed to driving down the cost of prescription drugs, easing the tax burden on seniors, and expanding access to nursing homes and alternatives. We will build on our reputation as an ‘age-friendly’ state and continue putting seniors first.”  


  • Keya Vakil

    Keya Vakil is the deputy political editor at COURIER. He previously worked as a researcher in the film industry and dabbled in the political world.

CATEGORIES: Uncategorized


MI Grand Rapids Food Voting

Local News

Related Stories
Share This