New York State Department of Health Recognizes Older Americans Month In May By Highlighting Programs and Initiatives That Reinforce New York’s Commitment to Promoting Healthy Aging for All New Yorkers

New York's Master Plan for Aging, Age-Friendly Health Systems, and Prevention Agenda Emphasize Health Across One's Entire Lifespan

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 10, 2024) – The New York State Department of Health is recognizing May as Older Americans Month by celebrating the accomplishments and contributions older New Yorkers make to enrich the State and highlighting programs that promote healthy aging for all.

"With heartfelt appreciation, the Department celebrates the decades of hard work older New Yorkers have invested in the State, and continue to contribute in myriad ways," State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said. "Our commitment to ensuring New York is supportive, accessible, and livable for older residents is unwavering and we will continue to support policies and initiatives that are responsive to the needs of older New Yorkers."

New York State Office for the Aging Director Greg Olsen said,"New York is home to more than 4.6 million older adults who contribute extensively to the state of New York. Their economic, social and intellectual contributions to family, friends, community and economy are well documented. In partnership with many state and local government agencies and thousands of community-based organizations, we strive to improve the ability of all older adults and their families to continue to contribute, and to provide access to a variety of services and supports to help them age in place. Through multi-sector initiatives, a more comprehensive and seamless system of care is achievable. During the month of May, and every other month, we recognize and thank older New Yorkers for their incredible contributions."

The State ranks fourth in the nation for those aged 60 and older, and by 2030, that number is expected to reach 5.3 million, adding substantial economic, social and cultural value to communities around New York.

To ensure older New Yorkers can continue to be fully engaged and involved in their communities, there are several programs and initiatives that reinforce the State's commitment to creating and sustaining age-friendly health systems:

  • Master Plan for Aging (MPA). This groundbreaking blueprint is bringing together the expertise of roughly 20 state agencies, with input from stakeholders and experts from the around the State who have been working to identify and develop age-friendly initiatives and draft new proposals for consideration. The MPA will address economic security, caregiving, health and wellness, community and home-based services, housing, and long-term care and supports. This evolving roadmap of strategies will focus on ensuring older adults and individuals of all ages can live healthy, fulfilling lives while aging with dignity and independence over the next decade. Throughout Older Americans Month, representatives from the MPA leadership team will participate in a series of engagements to solicit additional public feedback as work continues on refining a set of proposals to address the needs of older New Yorkers.
  • Medicare Savings Program (MSP). The State has expanded income limits for Medicare beneficiaries to be eligible for the Medicare Savings Program. The 2024 income eligibility limits are $2,355 for an individual and $3,189 for a couple. The MSP helps older adults and people with disabilities living on limited incomes by paying their Medicare Part B premiums and automatically enrolls them in Extra Help. This financial assistance can be a lifeline for enrollees, allowing them to maintain their Medicare coverage, access needed care, and afford other necessities. The expanded program is estimated to save beneficiaries an average of up to $7,396 annually. An application is available on the New York State Department of Health website here.
  • New York State Prevention Agenda. Healthy aging across the lifespan is a cross-cutting principle underpinning the State Health Improvement Plan (SHIP), also known as the New York State Prevention Agenda, which is a strategic plan of health priorities that aim to improve health outcomes and reduce health disparities for all New Yorkers across the State. The Prevention Agenda focuses on five key priority areas – prevent chronic diseases; promote a healthy and safe environment; promote healthy women, infants and children; promote well-being and prevent mental and substance use disorders; and prevent communicable illness. Each priority area is accompanied by a priority-specific action plan that includes focus areas, goals, objectives, and measures, and provides a menu of evidence-based interventions to be implemented by community partners in accomplishing Prevention Agenda goals, including reducing health disparities among racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups, age groups, and persons with disabilities.
  • Age-Friendly Health System Initiative. This initiative was launched in 2017, the same year AARP recognized New York as the first Age-Friendly State in the nation. In 2018, the State reinforced its commitment by encouraging health systems across New York to adopt age-friendly policies and programs, resulting in a robust response from 294 health systems in New York State that have achieved that recognition to date.
  • The FY25 Enacted State Budget includes many actions that will benefit older adults, such as a landmark effort to address the State's housing crisis, bold new protections against medical debt, actions to limit co-pays for insulin, record health care funding, and continued increases to funding for programs and services offered through the State Office for the Aging.

The Department also offers information about the wide-ranging programs and services for older New Yorkers and those living with a disability, including long term care services, Medicare and Medicaid, how to find assistance with activities of daily living, and a robust catalog of community-based long term care services and supports. All this information and more can be found on the Department's Consumer Guide to Community-Based Long Term Care website here.

Additional information about community programs for all New Yorkers, including chronic-disease self-management, nutrition counseling, socialization, and caregiver assistance and support is available on the New York Connects website here or by calling 1-800-342-9871.