Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed an executive order ordering the development of a “Master Plan for Aging” to support the health and well-being of older Californians. The plan will “serve as a blueprint for state government, local government, private sector and philanthropy to implement strategies and partnerships that promote healthy aging.”

"The governor's executive order is a critically important step in recognizing and addressing the immediate need to ensure all Californians can age with dignity and independence," said We Stand With Seniors, a nonprofit, nonpartisan effort focused on educating state leaders about the need for a comprehensive, coordinated Master Plan for Aging in a statement commending the governor's action.

California's older adult population, which is expected to grow by 4 million through 2030, faces a number of challenges in accessing high-quality, affordable healthcare, dental care and supportive services, housing and transportation. All of these system-wide issues are exacerbated by the absence of a culturally competent, well-trained workforce. The current system is fragmented and is void of a vision for how services should be delivered to effectively meet this population's needs.

In San Diego County, 14.5% of the population is currently over 65 with that number expected to soar by 2030. Estimates from San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency indicate the aging population will have jumped from 313,750 in 2000 to 722,545 in 2030, a 130% increase.

The executive order directs the secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency to convene a cabinet-level Workgroup for Aging to advise the secretary in developing and issuing the Master Plan. The Workgroup’s focus will go beyond just the health and human services area and will base off academic research, such as underlying social factors (transportation and housing) having a significant impact on an individual’s health outcomes and well-being. Additionally, the Master Plan will look beyond public programs and be inclusive of all older Californians.

To plan for this demographic shift and to ensure that older adults can live with dignity and independence, the California Master Plan for Aging is vitally important to outlining the state's goals and objectives for creating a comprehensive, effective and efficient system. With this plan, the state has the potential to design a California system that is accessible to all, and one that reflects what matters most to older Californians and families.

"Governor Newsom's executive order is an important first step towards creating a senior-friendly Golden State, and we commend him for his decisive action and leadership," said Shelley Lyford, president and CEO of West Health and a commissioner with the California Commission on Aging. "Not just older adults, but every Californian has a stake in a Master Plan that includes coordinated, community-based care to enable individuals to age successfully with the dignity, quality of life and the independence they deserve."

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