New York State Department of Health and Office for the Aging Hold Listening Session In Johnson City to Outline the Master Plan for Aging and Receive Public Input

ALBANY, N.Y. (November 9, 2023) – The New York State Department of Health (DOH) and the New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) continued their series of community engagement sessions on the State's Master Plan for Aging (MPA), with a listening session today in Johnson City.

During the session, which took place at the Johnson City Senior Center, attendees heard details about the MPA and were offered an opportunity to ask questions and provide comments about the proposal.

"These public input sessions are absolutely critical to the process of creating a Master Plan for Aging that helps us identify challenges and collaborate on solutions that address issues all New Yorkers encounter across their lifetime," State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said. "Governor Hochul's visionary roadmap builds on our partnerships with state agencies, local governments, and stakeholders to help ensure older adults and individuals of all ages can live healthy, fulfilling lives while aging with dignity and independence."

Master Plan for Aging Chair and Department of Health Deputy Commissioner Adam Herbst, Esq., from the Office of Aging and Long Term Care said, "The people who joined us for the Johnson City listening session, in person and online, gave us feedback on their needs, their hopes, and their ideas for how we can remake the ways we support older adults and people with disabilities. Their participation will influence the drafting process of the Master Plan, so that our work is inclusive and impactful. Our commitment to transparency and accessibility for older adults from all walks of life demands that we come into the community to hear from the people we are trying to serve. This effort will pave the way for enacting Governor Hochul's visionary blueprint, which is designed to empower future generations of New Yorkers."

Master Plan for Aging Vice Chair and Director of the New York State Office for the Aging Greg Olsen said,"NYSOFA appreciates the opportunity to hear from older adults in the Southern Tier about their hopes, expectations, and ideas for the state's Master Plan for Aging. According to NYSOFA's recent comprehensive community assessment of older adults, which received 27,000 responses statewide, the vast majority of older residents in Broome County rated their overall quality of life as excellent or good, with about 84 percent planning to stay through their retirement. Yet the survey also identified challenges related to housing and other issues. The Master Plan for Aging is a chance to hear these concerns directly and explore solutions for all New Yorkers as they age. I thank residents of Broome County for being a part of the conversation during today's Listening Session."

Governor Hochul's Executive Order No. 23 initiated the MPA, directing a blueprint of strategies to ensure that all older New Yorkers have the opportunity to live fulfilling lives, in good health, with freedom, dignity, and independence to age in place for as long as possible. Improving the recruitment, retention, and training of long-term care workers is also a goal of the MPA.

New York is the first state to officially receive AARP's age-friendly designation. The MPA will build on that recognition by coordinating existing and new state policies and programs for older adults and their families and those living with disabilities, 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.

Future public input events are planned in other regions of the state throughout the coming months.

In addition to the input sessions, DOH and NYSOFA invite public participation in a statewide MPA survey. The survey is for older adults, individuals with disabilities, and caregivers of older adults and persons with disabilities. It is available in English and 16 non-English languages on the MPA website here.

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 are all working together to advance proposals and recommendations for consideration in the MPA. These deliberations will be informed by community input in the development of a final MPA advisory report, due in 2025.

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