New York State Department of Health and Office for the Aging Hold Listening Session In Utica to Outline the Master Plan for Aging and Welcome Public Input

ALBANY, N.Y. (November 20, 2023) – The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) and the New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) continued their series of community engagement sessions on the State's Master Plan for Aging (MPA), with a listening session today in Utica.

During the session, which took place at Mohawk Valley Community College, attendees heard details about the MPA and were offered an opportunity to ask questions and provide comments about the proposal.

"The Master Plan for Aging process relies on input from the public and community stakeholders to help us identify challenges and collaborate on solutions that address issues all New Yorkers will encounter as they age," State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said. "Governor Hochul's visionary roadmap is designed to ensure that older adults and individuals of all ages can live healthy, fulfilling lives while aging with dignity and independence. Public input is a critical component of the process for creating that roadmap."

Master Plan for Aging Chair and Department of Health Deputy Commissioner Adam Herbst, Esq., from the Office of Aging and Long Term Care said, "We got critical feedback on the needs of Utica community members. The Master Plan will be stronger because of the insights they shared about their needs, their hopes, and their ideas. We are drafting an inclusive plan to address the challenges facing older New Yorkers, individuals with disabilities, and caregivers. Governor Hochul has led our state and the nation in building a model of aging and public health, giving us the tools we need to build our programs around the most current research and best practices."

Master Plan for Aging Vice Chair and Director of the New York State Office for the Aging Greg Olsen said, "The public engagement sessions that we've been holding across the state are vital to ensuring that New Yorkers' diverse needs are properly addressed through current and new policies or initiatives in the Master Plan for Aging. With public and stakeholder engagement, we aim to position our state as a frontrunner in both quality of life and quality of care for all New Yorkers and future generations. All older adults and caregivers have the opportunity—and are encouraged—to participate in this process by attending our public engagement sessions and also completing the State Master Plan for Aging survey today."

Governor Hochul's Executive Order No. 23 initiated the MPA, directing a blueprint of strategies to ensure that all older New Yorkers have the opportunity to live fulfilling lives, in good health, with freedom, dignity, and independence to age in place for as long as possible. Improving the recruitment, retention, and training of long-term care workers is also a goal of the MPA.

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

In addition to the input sessions, NYSDOH and NYSOFA invite public participation in a statewide MPA survey. The survey, which is open through the end of December, is for older adults, individuals with disabilities and caregivers of older adults and persons with disabilities. It is available in English and 16 non-English languages on the MPA website here.

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 are all working together to advance proposals and recommendations for consideration in the MPA. These deliberations will be informed by community input in the development of a final MPA advisory report, due in 2025.

Public input events are planned in other regions of the state throughout the coming months. Details about future events, and additional information about the Master Plan for Aging, can be found on the MPA website here.