Ten-year strategic plan to transform services for older adults living in Pennsylvania
Scranton, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Aging today gathered input for the first time on a Master Plan for Older Adults just hours after Governor Josh Shapiro directed the Department to develop a 10-year, state-led and stakeholder-driven strategic plan designed to help transform the infrastructure and coordination of services for older Pennsylvanians. The master plan will also reflect the needs and preferences of this population to live where they choose and access the supports they need to thrive and age in place.
Prior to this regional kickoff event to gather input, Governor Josh Shapiro signed an Executive Order at the United Neighborhood Center in Scranton to authorize the development of the Master Plan for Older Adults.
"We are thankful for Governor Shapiro signing the Executive Order. It is a clear demonstration of how the health, well-being, and quality of life for older Pennsylvanians are priorities for the Administration and for the Commonwealth," said Secretary of Aging Jason Kavulich. "This master plan for older Pennsylvanians will be crafted by Pennsylvanians, for Pennsylvanians. The voices of older adults must resonate in every component of this plan. As the Department, Pennsylvania Association for Area Agencies on Aging, and AARP work with the local Area Agencies on Aging and Centers for Independent Living, we will visit communities we serve across the state to make sure those Pennsylvanians who want to be heard know their opinions, thoughts, and priorities are reflected in this strategic initiative."
"We owe it to the generations who came before us to ensure they have resources and support as they age. I commend Governor Shapiro for his leadership and his work to ensure that the needs of Pennsylvania's seniors are front and center," said U.S. Senator Bob Casey. As we build a better economy and look towards Pennsylvania's future, we must ensure older adults and people with disabilities are given the support and protection they need to be healthy, safe, and economically secure."
The Department discussed the development of the plan during a regional kickoff event that was hosted by the University of Scranton. Secretary Kavulich was joined by local legislators and leaders to present an overview of the plan.
Secretary Kavulich highlighted the plan's core tenets, and how the Department will engage stakeholders, older adults, their families, caregivers, and community leaders to identify policies, programs, and infrastructure that promote and support good health, well-being, and quality of life to incorporate into the plan.
Throughout the development process, the Department will seek input on ideas that support and promote the ability of older adults to stay in their communities; address disparities based on demographic, economic, and geographic differences; allow for person-centered planning; and reframe how we think about, talk about, and value older adults. The Master Plan for Older Adults will summarize all these ideas and proposals in an actionable document that will include "quick wins," aspirational goals, and tangible initiatives which will be measurable to hold the Department accountable for their implementation and success.
"We commend Governor Shapiro and the Shapiro-Davis Administration for embracing the need to launch a Master Plan for Older Adults initiative at the onset of their tenure," said AARP Pennsylvania State Director Bill Johnston-Walsh. "Pennsylvania's counties and cities – and the communities and neighborhoods within them – do not become age-friendly by accident. The only way to achieve this kind of transformation is with state vision, leadership, and coordination. AARP Pennsylvania is committed to working with elected officials, decision-makers, and other stakeholders to enable all residents to thrive at every age and life stage."
The Department of Aging has created a webpage dedicated to the Master Plan for Older Adults, aging.pa.gov/MasterPlan, which provides information on why a master plan is needed, the core tenets, how the department will gather input for the plan, resources and more.
Individuals who would like to submit input on the plan can either email AgingPlan@pa.gov, provide feedback through an online form or mail the Pennsylvania Department of Aging, c/o Master Plan, 555 Walnut St., 5th Floor, Harrisburg, PA 17101.
Today's announcement on the development of a Master Plan for Older Adults was the first of several regional kickoff events that will be open to anyone interested in hearing about the plan. The Department will host the following two regional kickoff events:
- Thursday, June 15, 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. Smilow Center for Translational Research, University of Pennsylvania, 3400 Civic Center Blvd., Philadelphia, 19104
- Thursday, June 29, 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. Elsie H. Hillman Auditorium at the Kaufmann Center, 1825 Centre Ave., Pittsburgh, 15219
- Wednesday, August 2, 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. Paul R. and Margery Wolf Kuhn Theatre, Penn State Altoona, 3000 Ivyside Park, Altoona, 16601
Additionally, all Pennsylvanians will have an opportunity to participate in the development process. The Area Agencies on Aging and the Centers for Independent Living will host listening sessions where the public can learn about the plan and how to submit input. The stakeholder engagement process will involve outreach and requests for feedback from anyone or any group with an interest or with some interaction toward aging and disability-related services, programs, and infrastructure.
Pennsylvania's diverse and rapidly growing older adult population provides the Department with a unique opportunity to create and implement a plan that will create an age-friendly Commonwealth. Pennsylvania is home to 3.4 million seniors, ranking it fifth among the highest older adult populations in the country. Older adults represent 1 in 4 Pennsylvanians and by 2030, they will represent 1 in 3. The growth rate of Pennsylvania's senior population aged 65 and over is more than 20 times higher than the growth rate of the general population.
Pennsylvania will join 11 other states that are in the process of developing a master plan. There are five states currently implementing MPADs: California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Texas.
Learn more about the programs and services offered by the department on its website and its Facebook page.
MEDIA CONTACT: Jack Eilber, Aging: firstname.lastname@example.org