Scranton, PA – Today, Governor Josh Shapiro signed an Executive Order directing the Pennsylvania Department of Aging to develop its Master Plan for Older Adults – a 10-year roadmap to meet the needs of Pennsylvania’s senior population and improve Commonwealth services for older Pennsylvanians.
Older Pennsylvanians are vital contributors to our communities – and Governor Shapiro knows they deserve to have a voice in shaping their futures and how they will best be able to live and thrive in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania is home to 3.4 million seniors, with an older adult population that ranks fifth highest in the country. That’s why Governor Shapiro is taking action to bring state agencies and community organizations together to deliver a roadmap that will help support older Pennsylvanians.
“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,” said Governor Josh Shapiro. “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.”
Governor Shapiro was joined at today’s Executive Order signing by Department of Aging Secretary Jason Kavulich, who will soon embark on a regional listening tour to highlight the Master Plan for Older Adults and actively engage seniors across the Commonwealth in the plan’s development.
“We are grateful to Governor Shapiro for signing this Executive Order authorizing the Master Plan for Older Adults. This Executive Order is a clear demonstration that the health, well-being, and quality of life for older adults is a priority for our Administration and for the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Aging Jason Kavulich. “This master plan for aging will be crafted by Pennsylvanians, for Pennsylvanians – because we are committed to ensuring the voices of older adults are heard in every component of this plan. Our next priority is visiting the communities we serve to make sure those Pennsylvanians who want to be heard know their opinions, thoughts, and priorities are reflected in this strategic initiative.”
In addition to creating the Master Plan, today’s Executive Order further directs the Department to, among other things:
- Identify relevant services to older Pennsylvanians provided by other agencies under the Governor’s jurisdiction.
- Partner with traditionally disadvantaged or underserved communities to understand their specific needs as older Pennsylvanians and where gaps in services may exist.
- Establish at the Secretary’s discretion a working group to assist in gathering, reviewing, and studying data necessary for the Master Plan.
The Area Agencies on Aging and the Centers for Independent Living will host listening sessions where the public can learn more about the plan and how to submit their input. The stakeholder engagement process will involve outreach and requests for feedback from anyone or any group with an interest or with some interaction toward aging-related services, programs, and infrastructure.
This executive order is the latest in Governor Shapiro’s commitment to support seniors and making sure their voices are heard. In the Governor’s first budget, he has proposed expanding the Property Tax/Rent Rebate (PTRR) program – a critical lifeline for seniors. The PTRR provides a rebate to low-income renters and homeowners every year, putting money back in their pockets so they can stay in their homes.
The Governor’s proposed budget also invests in more grant funding for the Department’s 485 Senior Community Centers, which are essential public meeting spaces that help seniors stay connected, supported, and make ends meet.
After today’s announcement, Pennsylvania joins 11 other states that are in the process of developing a master plan for older adults. There are five states currently implementing a master plan: California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Texas.