Governor Kathy Hochul today signed an executive order to create the state’s first-ever Master Plan for Aging to ensure older New Yorkers can live healthy, fulfilling lives while aging with dignity and independence.
Signed on Older New Yorkers’ Day, the Executive Order directs the Commissioner of the State Department of Health and the Director of the State Office for the Aging to head a Master Plan for Aging Council, which will then gather input from relevant stakeholders to draft guidance for building healthy, livable communities that offer opportunities for older adults.
“As the first age-friendly state in the nation, we continue to take important steps to empower and support older New Yorkers,” Governor Hochul said. “This Master Plan for Aging will provide us with tools to ensure our aging New Yorkers have access to quality long term care in healthy, livable communities where they can thrive.”
Governor Hochul’s executive order is the first step toward building a comprehensive roadmap for meeting the socioeconomic needs of all generations of New Yorkers as they age.
Building on New York State’s status as the first state in the nation to officially receive AARP’s age-friendly designation, the Master Plan for Aging will help to coordinate existing and new state policy and programs for older adults and their families, while also addressing challenges related to communication, coordination, caregiving, long-term care financing, and innovative care models with the overarching aim of furthering the ability for more to age with dignity and independence.
The executive order was signed in advance of the New York State Office for the Aging annual Older New Yorkers’ Day celebration, which honors volunteerism among older adults statewide. Starting at 1 p.m. today, this year’s virtual celebration will honor 94 older adults across the state for their unique contributions through civic organizations, charities, in schools or libraries, on behalf of health and human services organizations or other non-profits, and through acts of kindness.
Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett or her designee will chair the Master Plan for Aging Council, Office for the Aging Director Greg Olsen will serve as vice-chair, and relevant state agency commissioners and directors will serve as its membership. The council will then assemble a stakeholder committee, including members from health care and support service providers; consumers; informal caregivers; older adults – particularly those in communities experiencing disparities; health plan companies, labor and community-based organizations, employers, experts on aging, and academic researchers, among others.
Earlier this year, the State Department of Health established the Office of Aging and Long-Term Care to develop policies and programs to meet the needs of older New Yorkers and people with disabilities who require long-term care services and support. Created in July, this new office is working closely with the Office of Health Insurance Programs, the Office of Primary Care and Health Systems Management, and the state Office for the Aging to coordinate Department of Health activities related to aging New Yorkers.