New York State Department of Health and New York State Office for the Aging Hold Town Hall Meetings In Western New York On Master Plan for Aging to Receive Public Input

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 29, 2024) – The New York State Department of Health (DOH) and the New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) conducted two Town Hall meetings in Western New York 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 events in Buffalo on Tuesday and in Hamburg on Wednesday also provided an opportunity for the public to provide comments and suggestions about the MPA.

"The Master Plan for Aging is a public health plan designed to meet the most important concerns of New Yorkers as they age, and public input is vital to the process of creating that blueprint," State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said. "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."

New York State Office for the Aging Director and MPA Vice Chair Greg Olsen said, "Today's town halls in Buffalo and Hamburg follow two prior sessions in Western New York, as we strive to hear diverse perspectives from communities throughout New York State on their aspirations for New York's Master Plan for Aging. Under Governor Hochul's leadership, the Master Plan for Aging is examining the overall landscape of services and supports, infrastructure, and community development necessary to reimagine a future for people of all ages to grow older successfully."

Director of the Center for the Master Plan for Aging Andrew Lebwohl said, "The perspectives of residents from Western New York's rich cultural, economic, racial, and religious diversity will add important context to our efforts to create a Master Plan for Aging that embraces the needs, expectations and wishes of all New Yorkers as they age."

Governor Kathy Hochul established the MPA under Executive Order 23 in November 2022 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 is also focused on improving the recruitment, retention, and training of long-term care workers.

New York is the first state to officially receive AARP's age-friendly designation. The MPA will build on that status by 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. 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.

Input from 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 is helping advance proposals and recommendations for consideration in the MPA. These deliberations will be informed by community input in the development of a final MPA report, due in 2025.

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