New York State Department of Health and State office for the Aging Recognize Healthy Aging Month By Focusing On Initiatives That Reinforce New York's Commitment to Age-friendly Communities

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

ALBANY, N.Y. (September 22, 2023) – The New York State Department of Health (DOH) and the New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) are recognizing Healthy Aging Month in September by highlighting New York's Age-Friendly Health System and the groundbreaking Master Plan for Aging (MPA).

"The Department remains steadfast in our commitment to adopting and adapting policies to empower New Yorkers to embrace healthy choices and live in healthy communities," State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said. "I am proud of the progress New York has made toward ensuring the State is livable, supportive, and accessible for all New Yorkers as they age, and we will continue to strive to ensure we not only meet, but exceed, those goals moving forward."

Deputy Commissioner Adam Herbst, Esq, Department of Health Office of Aging and Long Term Care and Chair of the Master Plan for Aging said, "New York's unwavering commitment to the well-being of all its residents, especially our cherished older citizens, shines through our pioneering policies and strategies. The Master Plan for Aging stands as a testament to our ambition in tackling the challenges of growing older, safeguarding the dignity and independence of every New Yorker, and fostering lives filled with vitality and purpose."

New York State Office for the Aging Director Greg Olsen said, "NYSOFA's recent survey of over 26,000 older New Yorkers found that the vast majority of people 60 and older consider themselves to be healthy. We all need to focus on our physical health, but healthy aging is much broader. It involves our built environment, opportunities for community engagement, economic security, access to community resources, nutrition, social connectedness and, of course, health and wellness. Under Governor Kathy Hochul's leadership, through the State's Master Plan for Aging, New York is developing solutions across all of these areas, building upon existing networks including New York's local offices for the aging and their community partners."

Both the Age-Friendly Health System and the MPA reinforce the State's commitment to making sure the evolving health care system in New York remains focused on identifying paths to improve health and wellness, strengthen the State's focus on age-friendly communities, and enhance the overall quality of life for all generations of New Yorkers.

The State's Age-Friendly Health System Initiative began in 2017, the same year AARP singled-out 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 248 health systems in New York State that have achieved that recognition. To solidify the State's leading age-friendly status, Governor Hochul directed DOH and NYSOFA to partner with other state agencies, local governments, and community stakeholders in 2022 to build the groundbreaking Master Plan for Aging (MPA), an evolving blueprint of strategies to ensure older adults and individuals of all ages can live healthy, fulfilling lives while aging with dignity and independence.

Additionally, healthy aging across the lifespan is a cross-cutting principal 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.

Both the DOH Office of Aging and Long Term Care and the New York State Office for the Aging are working to ensure the Prevention Agenda aligns with the Master Plan for Aging, with input from other State agencies, community stakeholders, and the general public.

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