California Becomes Latest “Senior-Friendly” State

Suzanne Potter | California News Service
California is implementing dozens of initiatives to make the state a more "senior-friendly" place to live. Photo Credit: Marisa Howenstine / Unsplash

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California is now officially an “age-friendly” state thanks to a new partnership between the California Department of Aging and AARP.

The nonprofit organization is lending its expertise to help implement the state’s new Master Plan for Aging, which was released in January.

Kim McCoy Wade, director of the California Department of Aging, says this plan has five overarching goals.

“The first goal is housing for all ages and stages,” explained McCoy. “California needs to build many more diverse and affordable types of housing. The second goal is to reinvent health. We know that people want help that allows them to stay home and live independently.”

The other goals include policies to support inclusion and equity, support caregivers, and work to lower the cost of living for older Americans.

Research shows that by 2030, one in five people in the US will be 65 or older. And by 2035, the number of adults over 65 will be greater than the number of children under 18.

McCoy Wade says the AARP roster of public policy experts has informed the debate on a variety of topics.

“That experience and that network have been a great help in shaping the plan and now they will help us make it happen,” McCoy said.

More than 50 California communities are also part of the program that shares best practices on ways to make cities more livable for all ages, inform decisions about housing, transportation, green spaces, and more.

The other states and territories in the Senior Friendly Communities Network include Colorado, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, and the US Virgin Islands.