Vital Seniors

Through the generosity of Ann Arbor's Glacier Hills Senior Living Community and Trinity Health Senior Communities of Livonia, MI, an $18.25 million fund was created to benefit senior adults in Washtenaw County—especially those at-risk and with low incomes—in perpetuity, managed by AAACF. Through this, a $2.5M initiative, the largest of its kind in North America, was designed to catalyze high-impact innovation and create enduring outcomes for vulnerable seniors and their caregivers in Washtenaw County: The Vital Senior Competition.

Individual Change + Systems Change = Community Change

In 2019 AAACF awarded over $1 million in grants from the Glacier Hills Legacy Fund, investing in programs, services, and research that will innovate and help Washtenaw County better serve the needs of our growing senior population. More than $600,000 of those investments were directed to a second year of funding for the winners of the 2018 Vital Seniors Competition, including building the Vital Seniors Network for those grantees to continue this collaborative approach to to supporting senior services in our community.

How Local Seniors Have Benefited

Healthy and Fulfilling Aging

As a data-driven organization, the AAACF has commissioned several research studies to better understand and document the needs of seniors and caregivers in Washtenaw County. Because of this research, we know the population of adults aged 65 and older in our community to reach 110,000 by 2040; and those 75 and older will be the fastest growing segment of society overall. Life for everyone in 2040 will be shaped to a large degree by how we respond now to the needs of the aging. This is why we’ve made healthy and fulfilling aging a top priority in our community.

AAACF contracted with Root Cause, a national research firm specializing in community development and systems change, to learn directly from older adults and caregivers in Washtenaw County about the issues that matter most to them and to help develop community-driven solutions.

Previously, the 2018 qualitative study, Vulnerable Older Adults & Caregivers in Washtenaw County, by Abbie Lawrence-Jacobson, Ph.D., LMSW, was been the basis for Vital: A Fugue on Aging. Vital is a performance created by Decky Alexander and produced by Limelight Productions. A highly-reviewed production in Washtenaw County and Michigan, the Vital fugues were performed at the national Grantmakers in Aging (GIA) Conference in Fall 2019.

Interested in learning more about the challenges facing older adults in Washtenaw County? Read through our full Healthy & Fulfilling Aging report released in 2020.

In addition to these programs and initiatives, funds from community grants and other investments are available to local organizations and nonprofits to provide human services, including wholesome food, social enrichment, and specialized care to aging populations living in isolation, with dementia and who have limited ability to care for themselves.