The New York State Department of Health and the New York State Office for the Aging conducted two Town Hall meetings in the Western New York area to share information about Governor Hochul's initiative to develop a state Master Plan for Aging (MPA). The MPA is a roadmap designed to improve health and wellness, strengthen New York's focus on age-friendly communities, and improve the overall quality of life for all generations of New Yorkers as they age.
The Town Hall events, in Buffalo and Amherst, were also available as a livestream and provided information on the MPA while offering an opportunity for public input. Visit ny.gov/MPA for information about upcoming and past community engagement sessions, including archive recordings and printable resources.
"Governor Hochul's groundbreaking Master Plan for Aging builds on the solid foundation we've created through partnerships with state agencies, local governments, and community stakeholders, while embracing the shared insights of New Yorkers across the State," State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said. "This public health plan recognizes the invaluable contributions made by older New Yorkers, whose wisdom, guidance, and mentorship have supported our state in every aspect of life, and we must ensure they can age with dignity and grace. New York State will continue to provide quality supports, services, and programming to all aging New Yorkers and individuals with disabilities."
Master Plan for Aging Chairman and Department of Health Deputy Commissioner Adam Herbst, Esq. from the Office of Aging and Long Term Care said, "Western New York is critical to ensuring that the Master Plan for Aging creates a system that is responsive to the needs of all New Yorkers. These Town Halls have been a fantastic opportunity to hear and to understand their needs and hopes for building a better system of supports and services for older adults in our state. Governor Hochul has given us inspired leadership and powerful tools to enable us to make the most of this opportunity to serve some of the most vulnerable New Yorkers, and we are committed to following through on that mission."
Master Plan for Aging Vice Chairman and New York State Office for the Aging Director Greg Olsen said, "Western New York's unique geographic makeup of suburban, urban, and rural areas provided a great opportunity for us to receive crucial input from the region's diverse residents. The MPA, championed under Governor Hochul's leadership, is designed to ensure New Yorkers of all ages live healthy, fulfilling, and independent lives for as long as possible. We appreciate the critical feedback from residents as we work to make New York an even better place to live and age."
In November 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul signed Executive Order 23 establishing the MPA with the goals of improving the lives of today's older New Yorkers and individuals with disabilities, building a better system of care, and ensuring more inclusive communities for the future. The MPA will also focus on improving the recruitment, retention, and training of long-term care workers and develop recommendations for age-friendly policies across several focus areas, including subcommittees devoted to economic security, home and community-based services, informal and formal caregiving, safety and security, as well as housing, community planning, and development.
During the Town Hall, MPA Chair and the Department of Health's Office of Aging and Long Term Care Deputy Commissioner Adam Herbst led the discussion, joined by MPA Vice Chair and New York State Office for the Aging Director Greg Olsen. They outlined the short and long-term goals of the MPA and sought comments and questions about MPA focus areas from those attending in-person and online.
In 2018, New York was the first state to officially receive AARP's age-friendly designation after a decade of work to embed smart-growth and livability principles into how state government operates while partnering with communities to consider positive changes to the built environment that help individuals of all ages grow older successfully. The MPA will build on this status by coordinating existing and new state policies 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. Ultimately, the MPA will provide guidance for building healthy, livable communities that offer opportunities for older adults and individuals with disabilities, with sustained attention on ensuring equity for all.
The MPA process involves a Master Plan for Aging Council of state agencies, a Stakeholder Advisory Committee of experts in the field of aging and disability, and subcommittees and workgroups that consist of representatives of the Council and Advisory Committee, as well as other interested parties, including members of the public and individuals receiving services. All participants in the process are working together to advance policy proposals and recommendations for consideration of inclusion in the MPA report. A draft advisory report is due in mid-2024 and the final MPA report is expected in early 2025.
Future Town Hall events are planned across the State in the coming months.
To learn more about the Master Plan for Aging, visit the MPA website here.