Aging Today September–October 2019
California’s Master Plan for Aging: putting the Golden State’s aging population front and center
able future. A successful Master Plan will anticipate and respond to needs from a human perspective, engaging both public and private sectors in systems-based solu- tions that touch all major areas of life ex- perience (e.g., health, human services, housing, transportation and more). Instead of a traditional planning exer- cise that prioritizes the needs of a cur- rently fragmented system, this Master Plan can reframe system organization, funding and service delivery, based on what matters most to the people the plan serves—placing older Californians, their families and their caregivers at its center. The SCAN Foundation ( thescanfounda tion.org ), West Health ( westhealth.org ) and Archstone Foundation ( archstone. org ) uphold the following five elements as critical to the Master Plan’s success, ensuring that it fully reflects what matters most to older Californians and their families. Older Adults Thriving = Health, Finances, Self-Worth, Environment and Community . Californians’ ability to thrive while aging with dignity and inde- pendence reflects the intersection of basic human needs, such as health (physical, psychological and social well-being); fi- nances (financial well-being); self-worth (purpose and empowerment); environ- ment (supportive services, housing, food and transportation); and community (family and friends). A successful Master Plan will recog- nize the interdependence of these needs and develop approaches that recognize and address all of them. People First. Older adults should have access to systems that are responsive to the individual as a whole—not idiosyn- cratic systemparts based on their funding source, the administering agency or the local oversight entity. A successful Master Plan will ensure that individuals can readily access the information and ser- vices they need, when they need them— regardless of eligibility distinction, income level or place of residence. Cross-SectorCollaboration. It is time for aging issues to be addressed outside the traditional spheres of health and human Five Critical Elements of the Master Plan
By Bruce Chernof , Shelley Lyford and Christopher Langston O n June 10, 2019, California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-14-19 ( tinyurl.com/ y6pusmaw ), calling for a California Mas- ter Plan for Aging (Master Plan). In his Executive Order, Newsom outlines the broad framework for a Master Plan pro- cess, including state-level input, stake- holder engagement and a firm deadline of October 1, 2020, for completion. The process is well underway, and vot- ers—nearly half of whom are providing care, or have provided care to an older adult or person with a disability—are READY. A survey ( WeStandWithSeniors. org/july-survey-results/ )—commissioned by the nonpartisan campaign We Stand With Seniors ( WeStandWithSeniors.org ) and conducted in July showed that more than 75 percent of voters support Gov. Newsom’s Executive Order and will hold the state accountable. This crosses politi- cal parties and geographic regions, is nearly identical across all age groups and is high among those with differing ethnic backgrounds. The significance of the Executive Order cannot be understated: at no time in the past has a California governor committed leadership and resources to whole-scale systems planning tomeet the needs of Cal- ifornia’s aging population. As heads of three organizations that have steadfastly dedicated their time to educating Califor- nia’s policymakers on the critical need for a Master Plan, we applaud Gov. Newsom for his visionary leadership and expedient, aggressive goals for creating and imple- menting a Master Plan. This marks a his- toric milestone on the road to overcoming system-related challenges facing older Californians and meeting their needs through a thoughtful, comprehensive and outcomes-oriented strategy. While a major first step, the Master Plan is only one stride on the long path ahead. To succeed, California’s Master Plan must have a singular focus: to design systems to answer the needs and experi- ences of older adults and the families who stand by them, now and into the foresee-
services, or as solely the responsibility of the state or public sector. Many state agencies—along with a wide range of pri- vate entities—contribute greatly to the experience of aging in California; these entities include housing, transportation, higher education and veterans affairs, among others. All stakeholders need to be equally engaged, with strong leadership from the governor to ensure a holistic solution to California’s infrastructure and care sys- tem challenges. A successful Master Plan will establish a framework that draws in new partners and spurs collaborative in- novation across public, private and inde- pendent sectors. This will mean equal This Master Plan could affect how society thinks about, plans for and responds to aging. accountability for all entities to creative- ly and comprehensively address Califor- nia’s aging population’s needs, through a sound financing structure, now and into the future. Care Coordination. California’s sys- tem of care is frequently fragmented and poorly coordinated. All too often, health services are disconnected from equally important social support services; hospital-based care is detached from homecare; and critical wellness needs such as oral health, behavioral care and nutrition fall through the cracks. Exam- ples of systems we should look to as mod- els for scaling include the following: √ Age-friendly hospital emergency departments: Emergency departments designed for older adults’ needs conduct comprehensive health assessments with an interdisciplinary team and coordinate services for home- and community-based aftercare. √ PACE (Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly): For low-income
older adults, these programs are the gold standard of comprehensive, coordinated care for people whowant to age in place in the communities they love. As we plan for the future of aging in California, we must keep care coordination at the front and center of our discussions. Aging: It’s All of Us. Negative stereo- types and fears of aging have historically pushed aging issues into the background. This Master Plan has the potential to re- imagine aging—affecting how society thinks about, plans for and responds to the life changes that comewith aging. The planning process should initiate a re- freshed conversation about aging, as these issues are not limited to individuals older than a certain age, but also affect young people, families and communities. As Gov. Newsom noted, the Golden State is graying rapidly. All of us, young and old, share a stake in planning an age- friendly future. A Master Plan that en- ables older Californians to age well at home enriches all of our communities, and the lives of the diverse individuals who live in them. The SCAN Foundation, West Health and Archstone Foundation stand ready to work with Gov. Newsom, his administra- tion and the legislature, alongside leaders across public, private and philanthropic sectors to develop aMaster Plan for Aging that will well serve Californians for gen- erations to come. n Bruce Chernof is president and CEO of The SCAN Foundation in Long Beach, Calif. Shelley Lyford is president and CEO of San Diego–based West Health and a commissioner on the California Commis- sion on Aging. Christopher Langston is president and CEO of Archstone Founda- tion in Long Beach. For updates about Cali- fornia’s Master Plan for Aging, please see the online version of this article at www. asaging.org/blog/californias-master- plan-aging-putting-golden-states-aging- population-front-and-center . in Las Vegas to become Rennie’s and Rudy’s guardian. As Rennie left the courtroom, she said she felt as if “a rope around my neck has been removed.” By January 2019 Rennie faced anoth- er battle. This time, health problems pre- vented her from seeing April Parks being led out of a Las Vegas courtroom in hand- cuffs upon receiving a prison sentence of between 16 and 40 years, imposed by Judge Tierra Jones. Two months earlier, Parks had pled guilty in two separate cases to three counts of elder exploita- › continued on page 4
The rocky guardianship debate: does it prevent or perpetrate abuse?
Victims described losing their life savings and their dignity. Rudy and her daughter Julie Belshe. At that time, April Parks, a private fidu- ciary, had been appointed by a court With that brief exchange, Judge Steel terminated the guardianship that had since 2013 haunted Rennie, her husband
By Paul Greenwood S o you don’t really need a guardian?” asked Judge Cynthia Dianne Steel, Eighth Judicial District Family Court, of Rennie North during a June 2015 hearing in Nevada. “True,” replied North. “Do you want a guardian?” the judge probed. “ No ,” North emphatically responded.
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