Every State Should Have a Master Plan for Aging

By 2030, nearly 1 in 5 Americans – or 73 million – will be age 65 and older. The aging of America touches each of us—as individuals, family members, friends, and community members. It affects our collective ability to provide and cover the range of services needed for our increasingly diverse population of older adults, people with disabilities and family caregivers. Each state needs a Master Plan for Aging (Master Plan) to ensure that all Americans can live and age well in community and get support if and when needed.

 

The Challenge

People are struggling to find and finance the care and support they need as they age. This impacts everyone, such as:

  • An older adult who comes home from the hospital without services and supports in place;
  • A younger disabled adult who can’t afford the services needed to remain at home;
  • A millennial caring for an aging parent while balancing employment and childcare.

As the population ages, state and local governments must think boldly about system reform to improve how services are delivered and financed.

The Opportunity

Across the country, states are recognizing the need to conduct high-level, cross-sector planning to prepare for the aging population and ensure that the needs of older adults, people with disabilities, and family caregivers are met over the coming decade. A Master Plan establishes a 10-year blueprint that guides the restructuring of state and local policy and programs while connecting the public, private, and independent sectors in modernizing and, where necessary, creating systems-based solutions that touch all major areas of the aging life experience (e.g., health, human services, housing, transportation, consumer affairs, employment, income security).

Focus on: California’s Master Plan for Aging

In June 2019, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued an Executive Order calling for a state Master Plan. After an extensive planning process, California’s Master Plan was released in January 2021. This historic effort delivered a comprehensive roadmap for system-wide change in how services are coordinated, delivered, and financed to better meet the needs of our state’s aging population.

Stakeholders celebrated the Master Plan’s one-year anniversary in January 2022, and the state shared its first annual progress report.

Master Plan for Aging 5 Bold Goals

 

Aim and Approach

We focused on three critical elements in our efforts: 1) elevating the voices of people; 2) raising awareness; and 3) building cross-sector partnerships.

1) Elevating the Voices of People

The Latest Perspectives

In 2019, we engaged Greater Good Studio to develop a series of community design workshops that elevated the voices of people, presenting day-in-the-life stories from California’s rural, suburban, and urban regions. This culminated in an executive summary and final report with recommendations for the state to consider as it developed the California Master Plan. Greater Good Studios also followed up with these individuals in 2020 to see how their lives had changed one year later, particularly in relation to the realities and challenges of COVID-19.

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  • The Latest Perspectives
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  • Overview of Community Workshops
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  • Physical Environment
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  • Social and Emotional Well-being
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  • Supportive Services
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2) Raising Awareness

Effectively communicating the value of and need for a Master Plan is a critical component of gaining stakeholder buy-in. Our 2019 Forum showcased the efforts underway in California. Also, developing strategic communications that are tailored to each audience can educate and enlist champions. Voter polling (e.g., May 2021’s poll) and media coverage help demonstrate public support to executive (state) and legislative leaders. Watch the May 2021 briefing.

Poll finds that 65% of voters say the pandemic has made it more urgent for California to prioritize the Master Plan for Aging

3) Building Cross-Sector Partnerships

We joined with philanthropic partners to support California’s development of the Master Plan. This partnership established a joint fund to assist the state with research, policy development, stakeholder outreach, and strategic communications. With this effort, the state launched its comprehensive engagement efforts to inform the Master Plan’s development.

Our Partners

Leveraging partnerships has been critical to The SCAN Foundation’s efforts to grow support for Master Plans across states. In California, our partners include advocates and policymakers, and those in philanthropy (see visual), strategic communications (Lucas Public Affairs, Perry Communications Group), polling and research (J. Wallin Opinion Research), and academia.

The Buzz

News on transforming care for older adults

Recent Publications
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At the final week of our 2021 Forum, Amplifying All Voices in Aging, we were joined by founder of RENT Poet/Poet Laureate Brian Sonia-Wallace. Complementing our focus on technical aspects of the work we do to transform care for older adults, Mr. Sonia-Wallace authored a poem in real time to bring us back to the heart of the matter: What do we mean by “aging well” and “aging equitably”? Read the poem and learn more about RENT Poet.
This brief, updated from August 2020, highlights states that have a Master Plan for Aging, provides examples of key elements of those plans, and discusses how states without a Master Plan can get started. A Master Plan for Aging is a blueprint that: a) includes planning for 10 or more years; b) is often led by a governor with other executive and legislative leaders; and c) is developed to guide the restructuring of state and local policy, programs, and funding toward aging well in the community.
In this infographic, learn what voters are saying about the Master Plan for Aging and the need to prioritize and invest in our aging population.  
On January 6, 2021, California Governor Gavin Newsom released a Master Plan for Aging (Master Plan) that establishes a vision for California for All Ages by 2030. This policy brief provides an overview of the Master Plan.