Press Release: California Releases First-Ever Master Plan for Aging




SACRAMENTO – The Newsom Administration today announced the release of California’s first-ever Master Plan for Aging, a comprehensive framework that will prepare the state for significant demographic changes in the years ahead, including the growth of the 60-and-over population to 10.8 million people by 2030.


The Master Plan’s development began with an Executive Order from the Governor in June 2019, directing the Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency to develop a strategy for promoting the health and well-being of older Californians. After more than a year of deliberations with stakeholders and the public and in collaboration with the Governor’s Task Force on Alzheimer’s Prevention, Preparedness, and a Path Forward chaired by Maria Shriver, the final Master Plan for Aging includes a 10-year blueprint for promoting healthy aging—including five bold proposals for building housing for all ages, improving access to health services, providing inclusive opportunities for seniors to live and work without fear of abuse and neglect, bolstering the caregiving workforce, and increasing economic security for aging Californians.


The Master Plan also applies the hard lessons learned during COVID-19, which has highlighted the urgent need to embrace new ways of supporting older adults, people with disabilities, and communities of color. The final plan includes more than 100 specific initiatives for addressing issues that have been exacerbated by the pandemic, from staffing shortages in skilled nursing facilities to a lack of broadband access in many communities.

“When I took office, I made it a priority to advance solutions for not just older Californians, but for all of us who love and care for them,” said Governor Gavin Newsom. “This Master Plan on Aging advances bold, innovative, uniquely Californian solutions for issues that we will all confront within our own families and communities, if we have not already—and does so with a sustained focus on equity that we need to lift up everyone. The Plan reflects more than a year of hard work, research and sustained engagement to drive the partnerships that will improve lives for the older Californians of today and tomorrow. I thank everyone who contributed to this tremendous blueprint for the work to come.”


At a time when California’s senior population is becoming more ethnically diverse—and more likely to be single or childless, live alone, work longer, and have lower incomes than in decades past—the Master Plan outlines five bold goals and 23 strategies for leaders in government, business, philanthropy, and community-based organizations to collaborate on creating age-friendly communities for all Californians. The Plan also sets a series of ambitious targets that will be used to track progress and provide accountability. The Master Plan will be powered by more than 100 action-ready initiatives that have already been adopted by state agencies and are prepared for implementation, in partnership with stakeholders and the Legislature.


The Master Plan for Aging’s Five Bold Goals for 2030

  1. Housing for All Ages and Stages. We will live where we choose as we age in communities that are age-, disability-, and dementia-friendly and climate- and disaster-ready. Target: Millions of New Housing Options to Age Well.

  2. Health Reimagined. We will have access to the services we need to live at home in our communities and to optimize our health and quality of life. Target: Close the Equity Gap in and Increase Life Expectancy.

  3. Inclusion and Equity, Not Isolation. We will have lifelong opportunities for work, volunteering, engagement, and leadership and will be protected from isolation, discrimination, abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Target: Keep Increasing Life Satisfaction as We Age.

  4. Caregiving That Works. We will be prepared for and supported through the rewards and challenges of caring for aging loved ones. Target: One Million High-Quality Caregiving Jobs.

  5. Affording Aging. We will have economic security for as long as we live. Target: Close the Equity Gap in and Increase Elder Economic Sufficiency.

“California has the nation’s largest aging population, the largest population of those living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, and the largest population of those caregiving for these growing and disproportionately diverse communities,” said Maria Shriver. “The Governor knows that we must address the critical needs of these populations, or they will only get worse, especially for women who do the lion’s share of caregiving in our state. The Alzheimer’s Task Force was proud to collaborate with the Master Plan on aging in identifying bold and ready-to-implement strategies that will lead the nation on a path forward in addressing our aging population, and it will take comprehensive, nonpartisan leadership to get the results we need today.”


The Administration is committed to ensuring the Master Plan does not serve just as a report—but is put into action and continually revisited and improved upon to drive results over the next ten years. The Governor has directed a Cabinet Work Group to jumpstart implementation in 2021, with an emphasis on health, housing, and bolstering the workforce older adults rely on. The Administration will also issue an annual report on the Master Plan’s progress, including recommended changes and new initiatives for future years.

“The Master Plan for Aging has been intentionally designed as a living document—a comprehensive blueprint we can update and revise over the long-term,” said Mark Ghaly, Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency, who will lead the new Master Plan Cabinet Work Group. “Just as California pivoted during COVID-19 to ensure the safety and well-being of older adults in new and different ways, the Master Plan will also be nimble and responsive to shifting social and economic realities. The important thing is to have an eye to the future, and a strategy for getting there. We are committed to seeing this through to create a California for All.”


“As California gets older and the cost of living keeps going up, growing numbers of seniors will need safe, affordable housing options—for all ages and stages of life. The Master Plan for Aging outlines a clear strategy for achieving this goal focused on accelerating production of a new generation of accessible senior housing, from age-friendly multi-family developments to a wave of accessory dwelling units,” said Lourdes Castro Ramírez, Secretary of the California Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency. “For decades, our state’s senior housing policy has relied heavily on property tax breaks for homeowners—or, too often, left seniors to their own devices. We will change that and chart a new, more inclusive course toward giving all Californians choices in where and how they age.”


“Bold actions are needed now to ensure we care for our care workers. The Master Plan for Aging puts workers front and center—recognizing the essential role the caregiving workforce plays in ensuring an age-friendly California,” said Julie Su, Secretary of the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency. “Care jobs are in-demand. Our ability to make sure they are good, high road jobs and that we have qualified workers to meet the needs of the growing older adult population are key to the state’s health and well-being. The Master Plan also acknowledges the growing contribution that older adults make to our state’s economy. The Administration has produced a comprehensive blueprint for supporting workers of all ages, no matter who they are or who they are caring for, and it will help our communities become fairer, more just places for all Californians to thrive.”


The Administration recognizes that California succeeds when all communities succeed—and the Master Plan emphasizes the importance of coordinating with the Legislature and local communities to shape its strategies, oversee their implementation, and ensure they are producing more equitable, inclusive, age-friendly communities. The final plan includes a Local Playbook to assist state and local government, communities, and private and philanthropic organizations in building environments that promote an age-friendly and disability-friendly California.


“We all dream of a California where people of any age and ability can thrive because of the systems and services we have in place. The Legislature plays a vital role ensuring older Californians are able to contribute to the health and strength of our communities—while also giving every community the right tools to promote healthy aging, support older adults and people with disabilities, and get all residents the services and supports they need,” said Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Aging and Long-Term Care. “The Master Plan for Aging process was indeed praiseworthy. A stakeholder-driven process that set forth recommendations identifying a comprehensive set of strategies—a laudable, exhaustive, and praiseworthy list. I look forward to working with the Administration to put this Master Plan into action, through legislation, oversight, and working alongside advocates to ensure our budget reflects these ideals.”


“The work that went into developing this plan was a beginning. It will take the ongoing collaboration of stakeholders across many sectors—including those who provide healthcare, housing, nutrition and caregiving—to see that the needs of our aging population are met and that all Californians can age with dignity.” said Senator Melissa Hurtado, Chair of the Senate Human Services Committee. “The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the urgency of this issue and now it’s time to roll-up our sleeves and get to work to ensure that we build a California for all ages.”


“The Master Plan is a visionary, inclusive, equitable framework for transforming aging in this state and forging partnerships for change in every community,” said Kim McCoy Wade, Director of the California Department of Aging. “The plan sets ambitious goals on issues from housing to in-home caregiving, while also providing a local playbook that has tools and resources communities can use to create their own tailor-made strategies on aging, disability, and dementia. Building an age-friendly state will take all of us, and the Master Plan gives us what we need to get to work.”

The full Master Plan for Aging is available here: http://mpa.aging.ca.gov.


What others are saying – Reactions from leaders and healthy aging advocates:


Nancy McPherson, California State Director, AARP “COVID-19 has shown us it is time to rethink how we support and protect vulnerable Californians, especially our state’s growing number of older adults. The Master Plan takes what we have learned during the pandemic and lays out the broad vision we need to ensure all older adults can remain in their communities as they age, while living and working and playing and accessing care and services where and how they choose. With this new Master Plan, the Governor has made a powerful statement about the once-in-a-generation opportunity we have before us to transform the way our state treats aging. With the commitment of his entire administration, our state is positioned to build an age-friendly California for all.”


Jennie Chin Hansen, Former CEO, American Geriatrics Society “California has long been a leader in supporting a wide range of community-based services for older adults and people with complex needs, but the state has lacked a statewide strategy for integrating medical services and non-medical supports to create a truly interconnected care and delivery system for long-term care. The Master Plan, with its comprehensive strategy for reimagining the way we care for older adults and people with disabilities, finally allows us to change that. This plan can help our state build the health workforce and services every community needs to improve lifelong well-being, positive health outcomes and quality of living for people from every walk of life.”


Fernando Torres-Gil, Director of the Center for Policy Research on Aging and Professor of Social Welfare and Public Policy, UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs; Former U.S. Assistant Secretary on Aging, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) “It is time to reimagine how Californians can age, and the Master Plan for Aging includes visionary, comprehensive strategies for supporting healthy aging across the life span. This new plan puts a premium on prevention, health equity, and geriatric expertise, along with culturally competent long-term supports and services that will empower millions of us to live well at home and in our community as we grow older. In the midst of a pandemic that has revealed the vulnerability of so many of our communities, it also underscores the importance of leadership and bold action. This new plan gives us an unprecedented opportunity to reinvent how we provide care and supports to people of all ages.”


Jodi Reid, Executive Director, California Alliance for Retired Americans “As California gets older, it will become even more important to listen to the voices of retired workers and community groups seeking social economic justice, full civil rights, and a better, more secure future. After a year of public meetings and stakeholder input, it is clear the final Master Plan reflects the concerns of real Californians: Its proposals on issues from housing to health care have a common goal—to create more just and equitable living conditions for us all. We applaud the vision behind the Master Plan, along with its systems for real accountability, and we are ready to work with the Governor to get there.”


Andy Imparato, Executive Director, Disability Rights California “The Master Plan for Aging is an inspiring statement, affirming many of the core principles we fight for every day. All older adults, including those with disabilities, contribute to the health and strength of our communities. They enjoy the power of equal rights and opportunities and they must be free from abuse, neglect, and discrimination. We support the Mater Plan’s unifying vision for action, and we also we recognize it will require a sustained commitment from all of us to achieve. We welcome the Governor’s ongoing process of continued public engagement and accountability, and we are prepared to support the development of healthy aging policies that work for every community.”

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