By Samantha Scotti
By 2030, all baby boomers will be older than 65, meaning 1 in every 5 U.S. residents will be retirement age. As the older U.S. population grows, states are exploring policies to ease the transition and offer support.
A handful of states have implemented or developed comprehensive strategies known as “master plans for aging.” These types of plans address policy areas supporting older adults’ social, physical and economic well-being. They also help develop a framework to shape and support state policies and funding to meet the needs of older adults and their caregivers.
Most of the plans are established by executive action, though legislators are important partners in crafting the plans and funding initiatives. California, Massachusetts and Texas called for the creation of a master plan for aging through executive order, while Colorado enacted legislation creating a multidisciplinary group to develop a strategic plan.
In NCSL’s recent "Our American States" podcast episode, guests from Colorado and Texas discuss how their states are planning for this aging population.
“I would encourage you to engage with your older constituents and find out what their needs are and where they’re having challenges, and then connect with your local aging services providers and see where there are resources that can be brought into service,” said Holly Riley, the aging services coordination director for Texas Health and Human Services.
Jarett Hughes, a senior policy advisor on aging for the governor of Colorado, similarly emphasized the importance of getting key groups to work together on the effort: “We can’t just make state policy and expect it to be effectively implemented at the local level if we don’t have good collaboration and good partnerships.”
Improving services and supports for older adults has long been a top issue for state legislatures and will likely continue to be a priority for many years to come. As state policymakers consider ways to coordinate across various aspects of aging, including health, human services, housing, transportation and income security, several NCSL resources may be helpful:
Samantha Scotti is a senior policy specialist in NCSL's Health Program.