California Becomes the Latest “Age-Friendly” State

Suzanne Potter | California News Service
California is implementing dozens of initiatives to make the state a more "age-friendly" place to live. Photo Credit: AARP

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 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, said the master plan has five overarching goals.

“The first goal is housing for all ages and stages,” said McCoy Wade. “California needs to build many more diverse and affordable types of housing. The second goal is health reimagined. We know folks want help that allows them to stay at 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 of every five people in the U.S. will be 65 or older. And by 2035, the number of adults older than 65 will be greater than the number of children under 18.

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

“That expertise and that network has been enormously helpful in shaping the plan and now will help us to make it a reality,” said McCoy Wade.

More than 50 California communities are also part of the program. It shares best practices on ways to make their towns more livable for all ages, which informs decisions on housing, transportation, green space and more.

The other states and territories in the Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities include Colorado, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York and the U.S. Virgin Islands.