Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro delivers his first budget address to a joint session of the state House and Senate on March 7, 2023 (Photo by Amanda Mustard for the Pennsylvania Capital-Star).
Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro took action to develop a 10-year master plan helping older adults statewide access resources and “age with dignity.”
The Democratic governor signed an executive order on Thursday directing the Department of Aging to map out ways to serve Pennsylvania’s fastest-growing population and assess its needs, such as housing, food, health care, and community centers.
“This plan will coordinate services and provide our seniors with the care that they need and that they deserve,” Shapiro said, addressing a room full of older adults at the United Neighborhood Center in Scranton. “And I want to be clear about something — this isn’t going to be a report that sits on a shelf. This is going to be a plan of action that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will implement immediately upon its conclusion, so we can meet your needs.”
Secretary of Aging Jason Kavulich, who is tasked with meeting with stakeholders and state agencies across all 67 counties, said the plan should serve as a “living, breathing document that changes so that it meets the needs that you face and that you can age in a place [where] you have what you need.”
“We talk about what we’re doing, and explaining that is somewhat difficult because it doesn’t exist yet,” Kavulich said of the plan. “It doesn’t exist yet because we have not built it out. With you — the stakeholders and everyone in this room — every person is a stakeholder in this process.”
Velma Carter-Dryer, who serves on the state Council on Aging, hopes the input process will pay special attention to diverse communities, noting that the quality of life as an older adult directly relates to decisions made early and later in life.
“It’s my hope and belief that this coordinated effort will be a buy-in from all the seniors across the state and will improve the outlook of what happens to commonwealth citizens,” she said.
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