New York State Department of Health and New York State Office for the Aging Launch Town Hall Meetings on Master Plan for Aging and Receive Public Input

ALBANY, N.Y. (June 7, 2023) – The New York State Department of Health and the New York State Office for the Aging today held the first in a series of statewide Town Halls on 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.

Today's Town Hall, which took place in New York City, was also available as a livestream and provided information on the MPA while offering an opportunity for public input. Additional sessions will follow in other regions of the state.

"The Master Plan for Aging is a groundbreaking public health plan that builds on the foundation created by our partnerships with state agencies, local governments, and community stakeholders," Acting State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said. "Older New Yorkers contribute so much with their wisdom, guidance, and mentorship, and they deserve to age with dignity and grace. New York State must continue to provide quality support, services, and programming to all aging New Yorkers."

"The Master Plan for Aging is an unprecedented opportunity to build broad support for common sense reforms and for programs that we have a moral obligation to provide to older New Yorkers," Master Plan for Aging Chairman and Department of Health Deputy Commissioner Adam Herbst, Esq. from the Office of Aging and Long Term Care said. "I am so grateful for Governor Hochul's vision in creating this process to bring together New Yorkers from all regions and walks of life, to build consensus around transforming our existing systems of support, so that we can make our state a leader in quality of life for generations to come."

"Under Governor Hochul's leadership, the Master Plan for Aging has brought together state agencies and stakeholder experts on a broad scale to advance age-friendly policies across systems, supports and programs," Master Plan for Aging Vice Chairman and New York State Office for the Aging Acting Director Greg Olsen said. "This deliberative process is identifying important needs but also promising opportunities to further build on decades of foundational work creating communities and supports for healthy aging across New York. Today's Town Hall begins an important process for direct public participation in the development of an inclusive plan for all New Yorkers as they age."

In November 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul signed Executive Order 23 to establish the MPA with the goals of improving the lives of today's older New Yorkers and people with disabilities, and building a better system of care and 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.

New York is the first state to officially receive AARP's age-friendly designation in 2018 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 up and grow older successfully. The MPA will build on that 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 with sustained attention on ensuring equity in aging and disability.

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 an Association Resource Committee that are working together to advance proposals and recommendations for consideration in a preliminary advisory report of the MPA expected later this summer. A draft final MPA report is expected early in 2024.

An archive of the June 7 Town Hall will be available for viewing on the state Department of Health website here.

Future Town Hall events are planned across the state this summer and fall.

To learn more about the Master Plan for Aging, visit the MPA website here.