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

ALBANY, N.Y. (July 12, 2023) – The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) and the New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) continued their series of statewide Town Halls on the State's Master Plan for Aging (MPA) with a session today in Plattsburgh.

The MPA is a blueprint designed to meet the health and wellness needs of individuals with disabilities and all generations of New Yorkers as they age. Today's meeting, which took place at Clinton Community College, provided information on the MPA while offering an opportunity for the public to add their input. The program was also available as a livestream. (An archive of the session will be available in the coming days on the MPA website here.) Additional sessions will follow in other regions of the state in the coming months.

"The Master Plan for Aging is an important step that will give us the tools to support and empower older New Yorkers and those with disabilities," State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said. "Input from the public and community stakeholders is critical to ensuring access to programs and services so New Yorkers can thrive in their communities as they age."

Master Plan for Aging Chairman and Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Health's Office of Aging and Long-term Care Adam Herbst, Esq., said, "It is absolutely critical that the Master Plan be reflective of the needs and hopes of New Yorkers across the state, and that the process be transparent and accessible for older adults from all walks of life. These regional Town Hall meetings provide an opportunity for New Yorkers to ask questions and provide input that will help build an inclusive, supportive roadmap to enable older New Yorkers and those with disabilities to age with dignity in their communities. I am grateful to Governor Hochul for her vision in creating this process to bring together New Yorkers from all regions and backgrounds, to build consensus around transforming our existing systems of support, so that we can make our state a leader in quality of life and quality of care for generations to come."

Master Plan for Aging Vice Chairman and Director of the New York State Office for the Aging Greg Olsen said, "Transportation, access to affordable age-friendly housing, social and geographic isolation, the ability to age in place, overcoming the digital divide – these are among the prominent concerns voiced by older adults and families throughout New York State, and especially so in the North Country. Today's town hall in Plattsburgh provided an important opportunity to hear directly from residents about specific needs, challenges, opportunities and ideas as New York develops a comprehensive and transformational plan for all New Yorkers as they age."

Governor Kathy Hochul established the MPA in November 2022 under Executive Order 23 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.

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. The MPA will build on that status 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.

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 the final MPA report. A draft of the report is expected in early 2024.

Future Town Hall events are being planned in other regions of the state throughout the summer.

To learn more about the Master Plan for Aging and upcoming Town Halls, visit the MPA website here.