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AARP Pennsylvania Joins Governor Shapiro to Launch Master Plan for Older Adults

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SCRANTON, Pa., May 25, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — AARP Pennsylvania joined Governor Josh Shapiro and Secretary of Aging Jason Kavulich in Scranton, Lackawanna County, today as the Governor signed an Executive Order empowering his Secretary of Aging Jason Kavulich to take the steps necessary to establish a Master Plan for Older Adults.

A Master Plan is a blueprint developed to guide the restructuring of state and local policy, programs, and funding toward aging well in the community. In Pennsylvania, the Master Plan is committed to building and maintaining an age- and disability-friendly Commonwealth so that every resident can live and thrive at every age and life stage. Representing AARP Pennsylvania at today’s signing was State Director Bill Johnston-Walsh and Director of State Advocacy Teresa Osborne.

“We thank Governor Shapiro and his administration for embracing the need to launch a Pennsylvania Master Plan initiative at the onset of their tenure,” said AARP Pennsylvania State Director Bill Johnston-Walsh. “We are proud to see that Pennsylvania, under our new Governor’s leadership, is rethinking how we approach aging and affirm that every resident is valued, respected, and deserves to live in healthy, safe communities that meet their needs, across their lifespan. Today marks a watershed moment for what it means to live and age in Pennsylvania.”   

With an older adult population of 3.4 million, Pennsylvania is ranked fifth among the fifty states by size and seventh by percentage (17.8%) of the total population. The state’s older adult population grew from 15.4 percent in 2010 to 17.8 percent (2.27 million persons) in 2020. Estimates suggest that 25 percent of the commonwealth’s residents will be over 65 by 2030. Additionally, Pennsylvanians with disabilities represent 11% of the population in terms of mobility and cognitive challenges.

These realities prompted Governor Shapiro and his administration – under the leadership of the Pennsylvania Department of Aging – to commit to creating a Pennsylvania Master Plan, a step that other states, such as California, Colorado, and Massachusetts, have taken to develop a clearly articulated Master Plan.

“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 adults are priorities for the administration and for the commonwealth,” said Secretary of Aging Jason Kavulich. “This master plan for aging and disabilities will be crafted by Pennsylvanians, for Pennsylvanians. The voices of older adults and people living with disabilities 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 go into all communities we serve to make sure those Pennsylvanians who want to be heard know their opinions, thoughts, and priorities are reflected in this living strategic initiative.”

Several states with a Master Plan have also joined AARP’s Age-Friendly Network – a designation recognizing their interest in improving the quality of life for people of all ages through the adoption of policies and programs that address walkable neighborhoods, transportation options, access to key services, support for community engagement, and housing that is affordable and adaptable. 

In advance of the signing of today’s Executive Order, Secretary Kavulich and his Special Assistant and Long-Term Care Council Executive Director Kevin Hancock joined Johnston-Walsh on AARP’s PCN: Focus on Aging Adults to discuss the issues older Pennsylvanians currently face and to describe the state’s pursuit of a Master Plan.

About AARP

AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation’s largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org, www.aarp.org/espanol or follow @AARP@AARPenEspanol@AARPadvocates and @AliadosAdelante on social media.

Contact: Randy LoBasso, [email protected], 267-964-8001

SOURCE AARP Pennsylvania

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