Detroit, Gaylord residents receive Older Adults of the Year award from MDHHS for advocacy and community service – Michigan (.gov)

LANSING, Mich. – Residents of Detroit and Gaylord recently received the Older Adult of the Year Award from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Behavioral and Physical Health and Aging Services Administration.

The winners are Dorothy Duiguid of Detroit and Dona Wishart of Gaylord, who were selected for being strong advocates and changemakers in their communities.

“It is important that we work together to ensure older adults in Michigan have the information, programs and services they need to thrive, and that they are treated with the dignity they deserve,” said Farah Hanley, chief deputy director for health at MDHHS. “We are grateful for everything Dorothy and Dona have done for people in their communities and across the state.”

Duiguid has served the Detroit community for many years, but her service, advocacy, ambition and enthusiasm have been particularly impactful during the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, when it was possible to safely return to in-person gatherings, she planned new events for other seniors at her church, including a special Mother’s Day celebration. She also has served on the board of directors for CSI Support and Development, which provided affordable living options for aging adults. The events she planned this year encouraged people to increase their activity level and helped them return to the activities they enjoy. PACE Southeast Michigan nominated Duiguid.

She is employed full-time as the executive director of the Otsego County Commission on Aging, where she has worked for 28 years. She was Inspired by her grandmother to do good work for others. People who know her describe her as a thoughtful and creative problem solver and a good listener who leads with her heart. She has served as a chair, member and advocate on the Michigan Commission on Services to the Aging within MDHHS. She has served as president of the Michigan Directors of Services to the Aging Association, chair of the Caregiving Committee for the White House Conference on Aging in Michigan and executive vice president of the Alzheimer’s Association – Greater Michigan.

The Senior Citizen of the Year Award is a tradition dating back to 1974 that celebrates older adults whose community is enhanced through their active engagement, volunteerism and acts of service.

To move this award forward in a more inclusive and progressive direction, it has transitioned from the name “Senior Citizen of the Year” to “Older Adult of the Year.” The award is presented annually at Older Michiganians Day and is sponsored by Consumer’s Energy. MDHHS sought nominations from aging network partners including area agencies on aging, senior centers, and places of worship. 

Older Michiganians Day is organized by Area Agencies on Aging Association of Michigan, a statewide association that advocates on behalf of Michigan’s older adults. This year’s event was a hybrid of in-person and virtual participation. More than 70 people traveled to the State Capitol law to show their support for the needs of older adults across Michigan.

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