New York State Department of Health and office for the Aging Hold town Hall In Harlem to Outline the Master Plan for Aging and Receive Public Input

ALBANY, N.Y. (December 6, 2023) – The New York State Department of Health (DOH) and the New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) continued their series of statewide meetings on the State's Master Plan for Aging (MPA), with a Town Hall event today in Harlem.

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 ARC A. Philip Randolph Senior Center in Harlem, provided information about the MPA while offering an opportunity for the public to add their comments.

"The MPA process, under Governor Kathy Hochul's visionary leadership, is providing us with an important means of identifying and addressing the most pressing concerns of New Yorkers, so they can remain in the communities of their choice with access to the supports they need," State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said. "Input from the public is crucial to this process, as we create a Master Plan for Aging that is responsive to the needs of all New Yorkers as they age."

Master Plan for Aging Chair and Department of Health Deputy Commissioner Adam Herbst, Esq., of the Office of Aging and Long Term Care said, "Input gathered from the public and community stakeholders at the Harlem Town Hall is vital to shaping the Master Plan for Aging. Our commitment to transparency and accessibility ensures the diverse voices of New Yorkers, including older adults, individuals with disabilities, and caregivers, contribute to creating an inclusive and supportive framework. Aligned with Governor Hochul's vision, the MPA aims to revolutionize our support system, positioning New York as a leader in quality of life and care for all generations."

Master Plan for Aging Vice Chair and Office for the Aging Acting Director Greg Olsen said, "Through Governor Hochul's steadfast advocacy, the MPA is designed to ensure New Yorkers of all ages live healthy, fulfilling, and independent lives for as long as possible. Public and stakeholder engagement is essential because their valuable feedback will help shape policies to make New York a leader in both quality of life and quality of care. We encourage everyone to participate in this process by attending our public engagement sessions and also completing the State Master Plan for Aging survey."

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 NYSOFA Chief of Staff John Cochran. 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.

The Department and NYSOFA also urged those attending the Town Hall and the public to complete the recently launched MPA survey and share their input on how the MPA can best serve their needs. The survey is available in English and 16 additional languages here. Print versions are also available for download here. The survey closes December 31, 2023.

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, which is expected in early 2025.

Information about upcoming and past MPA community engagement sessions, including archive recordings of previous town halls and printable resources, is available on the State's MPA website, where you can also learn more about the Master Plan for Aging.