On Thursday, Gov. Josh Shapiro signed an Executive Order in Scranton, authorizing the Pennsylvania Department of Aging to develop a 10-year, state-led and stakeholder-driven strategic plan designed to help transform the infrastructure and coordination of services for older Pennsylvanians.
The master plan will also reflect the needs and preferences of this population to live where they choose and access the supports they need to thrive and age in place.
“I’ve heard firsthand from seniors who told me we need to do more to help them stay in their homes, tackle rising costs, and have a high quality of life – and they deserve our full support,” Shapiro said. “My administration is making a long-term commitment to our seniors with this master plan and my commonsense proposal to expand the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program, which will put more money back in more Pennsylvanians’ pockets. Together, we’re going to continue delivering results and help our seniors receive the support they need in order to age with dignity.”
As it stands today, one in four Pennsylvanians are senior citizens and, by the end of the decade, 1 in 3 will reach that plateau. The growth rate of the Keystone State’s senior population aged 65 and over is more than 20 times higher than the growth rate of the general population.
Aging Secretary Jason Kavulich called the governor’s order a “monumental” step toward helping the state adapt to the needs of a population of seniors.
“We are thankful for Governor Shapiro signing the Executive Order. It is a clear demonstration of how the health, well-being, and quality of life for older Pennsylvanians are priorities for the Administration and for the Commonwealth,” said Kavulich. “This master plan for older Pennsylvanians will be crafted by Pennsylvanians, for Pennsylvanians. The voices of older adults must resonate in every component of this plan. As the Department, Pennsylvania Association for Area Agencies on Aging, and AARP work with the local Area Agencies on Aging and Centers for Independent Living, we will visit communities we serve across the state to make sure those Pennsylvanians who want to be heard know their opinions, thoughts, and priorities are reflected in this strategic initiative.”
As part of creating the plan, the Department will host a pair of regional kickoff events that will be open to anyone interested in hearing about the plan.
- Thursday, June 15, 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. Smilow Center for Translational Research, University of Pennsylvania, 3400 Civic Center Blvd., Philadelphia, 19104
- Thursday, June 22, 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. Paul R. and Margery Wolf Kuhn Theatre, Penn State Altoona, 3000 Ivyside Park, Altoona, 16601
“We commend Gov. Shapiro and the Shapiro-Davis Administration for embracing the need to launch a Master Plan for Older Adults initiative at the onset of their tenure,” said AARP Pennsylvania State Director Bill Johnston-Walsh. “Pennsylvania’s counties and cities – and the communities and neighborhoods within them – do not become age-friendly by accident. The only way to achieve this kind of transformation is with state vision, leadership, and coordination. AARP Pennsylvania is committed to working with elected officials, decision-makers, and other stakeholders to enable all residents to thrive at every age and life stage.”
The Department of Aging has created a webpage dedicated to the Master Plan for Older Adults, aging.pa.gov/
Individuals who would like to submit input on the plan can either email AgingPlan@pa.gov, provide feedback through an online form or mail the Pennsylvania Department of Aging, c/o Master Plan, 555 Walnut St., 5th Floor, Harrisburg, PA 17101.