Healthy Aging Initiative

Promoting healthy aging so you can stay independent in your home longer.

Healthy aging initiative programs

A man in a white lab coat checks the forehead of an older woman.By 2060, the number of older adults in the U.S. is projected to be nearly 100 million, up from 47.8 million today. Aging in place provides independence and autonomy while maintaining well-being through caring relationships and access to resources. One of the cornerstone resources for aging well is preventative "wellness" and fall prevention. Inconsistent availability of geriatric preventative health care, due to limited availability, access, and affordability of services are significant challenges – as is a shortage of geriatric healthcare providers. A 2008 survey from the Institute of Medicine demonstrated that there is inadequate exposure to geriatric populations during training, and very few healthcare professionals develop an interest in the care of older adults. The result is that older adults living in rural and semi-urban communities have limited or no access to vital preventative health care resources in or close to home. 

Central Michigan University, with support from Michigan Health Endowment Fund and Region VII Area Agency on Aging, is building the Healthy Aging Initiative. CMU, in partnership with the local County Commissions on Aging (Isabella, Clare, and Gratiot) and other stakeholders in the community will develop programs to improve older adult wellness, reduce the risk of falls and provide home-based replicable low-cost solutions for healthy aging. The initiative leverages CMU’s academic strengths to bring “wellness” and fall prevention programs to the older adults in the community. 


Project INCLUDE: Addressing Social Isolation and Loneliness

Older adults live longer, happier, and healthier lives when they aren’t lonely or isolated. When you INCLUDE health professionals and older adults, you increase social connectivity, well-being, and longevity! Project INCLUDE’s goal is to establish a sustainable, collaborative care model for older adults, grounded in open conversation about loneliness, to overcome negative emotional triggers that create isolation. INCLUDE is a joint effort between Central Michigan University College of Medicine and the Presbyterian Villages of Michigan (PVM) with support from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund. It serves older adults (age 60+) and their caregivers living independently in central Michigan and older adults living in PVM Villages across Michigan. INCLUDE will benefit both current and future community-based health care professionals including students and community-based health care providers. Improve Social Connection to Reduce Loneliness in the Elderly (INCLUDE)’s collaborative care model employs strategies to:

  1. Identify older adults at risk for, or experiencing, loneliness and isolation.
  2. Network community-based organizations (Central Michigan University, senior living communities, mental health agencies) to help older adults get and stay mentally healthy.
  3. Help future health care professionals learn Communication skills and principles of social prescribing to help reduce social isolation and encourage healthy habits to manage comorbidities.
  4. Assist health care professionals in Learning signs and treatment for social isolation in older adults.
  5. Support current and future health care professionals, mental health agencies, seniors’ peers, and senior housing social support staff in Undertaking effective psychosocial methods to alleviate social isolation.
  6. Decrease loneliness and isolation in older adults.
  7. Enhance well-being in older adults.  

INCLUDE’s collaborative care model employs strategies to identify older adults at risk for or experiencing loneliness and isolation, engages community-based organizations, and educates community-based health care professionals to prevent and alleviate isolation and loneliness and enhance well-being in older adults. If you are an older adult in central Michigan or a PVM village, you can fill out our survey at Project INCLUDE Online Survey. It will help us understand both where social isolation and loneliness is and how to address it. Thank you! If you want to get involved or have questions, please reach out to or call 989-774-1350.

Home health visit, fall risk screening program

Central Michigan University is providing a unique Home Visit Fall Risk Screening Program to aging area adults as part of our Healthy Aging initiative. The program offers a free wellness check and fall risk screening home visit by a team of CMU medical, health profession and social work students and one faculty member. Team members conduct a wellness check-up focused on reducing fall risk which lasts approximately 1-2 hours. This opportunity also provides students’ exposure to their communities and develops skills to assist older adult patients. This program is supported by a Michigan Health Endowment Grant. The program is voluntary and is offered at no cost to participants.

The program’s goal is to promote healthy aging so participants may stay independent in their home longer. Participants will be able to provide direct feedback to help further develop the students into competent health professionals and physicians.

The free wellness check includes
  • Fall Risk Screening
  • A medication review
  • Visual acuity and hearing test
  • Basic oral health exam
  • Foot exam and more
  • The ability to volunteer to support the training of new doctors

Register now

Please complete the attached questionnaire to register for the program. You may also print and mail the form to the address provided. You may also call Healthy Aging voicemail to sign up or ask questions at 989-774-1350.

Participants will get a comprehensive wellness report after the visit and where necessary advised to follow-up with their healthcare provider for any new health-related issues identified. If you do not have a primary health Care provider, please visit For psychosocial and financial issues, a resources list will be provided for Isabella, Clare, and Gratiot County.

Home Health Visit Program Details

Fall prevention, exercise program

Two older women sit in chairs with cuffs strapped around their ankles, one kicking her foot up, as two people examine them and one writes down notes.Central Michigan University is providing a unique program called the Fall Prevention Otago-Exercise Program as part of our Healthy Aging initiative.  This opportunity provides students’ exposure to the community and develops skills to assist older adult patients. This program is supported by Region VII Area Agency on Aging grant. Participation in the program is voluntary and is offered at no cost to participants.

The free fall prevention exercise program provides

  • Fall risk screening by CMU health professionals.
  • An individualized exercise program developed specifically for you.
  • The opportunity to receive training and become a peer-coach for others.
  • The ability to volunteer and support the training of health professional students.

For older adults assessed with mild or no-risk of fall, the Matter of Balance exercise program provided by the local Commission on Aging is recommended. Participants who follow a regular exercise regimen will be advised to continue. A follow-up visit will be scheduled in approximately one year’s time. 

For older adults assessed at moderate risk of fall, we offer the Otago exercise program, designed to improve balance and reduce the risk of falling.

The program is an 8-week exercise program tailored to the individual and can be followed at home or in a group at the local sites in all three counties. A follow-up assessment will be conducted based on your response to, and the requirements of the program.

Two older adults hold the back of a chair and lift one foot up until the heel is parallel with the back of the knee.Participants register now

Please complete the attached  questionnaire to register for the program. You may also print and mail the form to the address provided. You may also call the Healthy Aging voicemail to register or ask questions at 989-774-1350.


An older woman sits in a chair while a young woman holding a pen and folder smiles.Students volunteer now

Improve your patient care skills, gain experience working with a team of health providers, and help older adult participants decrease their risk of falls. Student volunteers work directly with participants in collaboration with a physical therapist and earn credit for volunteer hours.


Supported by a federal grant through Region VII-Area Agency on Aging.

Region VII Area Agency on Aging logo.

Living FREE: Fall Reduction, Education and Empowerment

Central Michigan University is providing a unique program Living FREE: Fall Reduction, Education and Empowerment to aging area adults as part of our Healthy Aging Initiative. This program offers a person-centric prevention model for "post fall" older adults to reduce recurrent falls, improve their health and quality of life, and continue to live independently in the community. Participants will be able to provide direct feedback to allow for further growth. This program is offered free of charge to those residing in our Central Michigan Regions.

Living FREE features:

  • Introduction Interview
  • Home Safety Assessment
  • Individualized Fall Reduction Plan

Within one week of enrollment an in home visit will occur. This will include an assessment of barriers and motivators to: (1) lifestyle changes (2) management of comorbidities and (3) psychosocial environment. A home physical safety inspection will take place at this time. Based on this we will develop and individualize a fall risk improvement plan for you. It will include educational sessions and may also include advice on an exercise program; audit your medications, and provide advice on comorbidities management with home safety measures. Progress will be reviewed every 6 weeks and the plan will be revised as necessary to mitigate barriers to continued success. The program is designed to be run for up to one year.

Benefits of the program include reduced risk of recurrent falls, improved health and quality of life, and prolong your ability for independent living in community.

Enroll now

Please complete the attached  questionnaire to enroll in the Living FREE: Fall Reduction, Education and Empowerment Program. You may also call the Living FREE voicemail to ask questions or sign up at 989-774-1350.

Supported by Michigan Health Endowment Fund.

Michigan Health Endowment Fund logo.