Rona Barrett

Rona Barrett

Have you heard the exciting news? Gov. Gavin Newsom just signed Senate Bill 228, California’s Master Plan on Aging, authored by our own Hannah-Beth Jackson. We’re the latest in just five states in the union to recognize that our state needs to be better prepared for the silver tsunami that has arrived and is still coming.

Did you know that nearly 1,000 people in California are turning 65 every day, and that the over-65 population will grow to 8.6 million by 2030? That’s what silver tsunami means.

Gov. Newsom says, “We need a plan ... to help us understand what’s coming and guide us toward taking better care of older Californians.” Hip, hip, hooray, I say.

He understands too that the plan must bring together local communities, labor, private sector, and philanthropy to accomplish the goal.

In a www.marketwatch.com interview, Gov. Newsom offers his reasons for the plan, the goals that should be met by October 2020, and what results Californians can look for. Go online and read all about it!

In that article, Dr. Bruce Chernof, CEO of The SCAN Foundation, says, “For older Californians, the Master Plan for Aging is probably the most significant thing to happen since the state became a state.”

The SCAN Foundation’s (www.thescanfoundation.org) vision is “A society where older adults can access health and supportive services of their choosing to meet their needs.” No wonder SCAN is a member of California’s Master Plan’s Stakeholder Advisory Committee!

SCAN’s efforts in “crafting a new aging paradigm in California ... with broad-scale redesign needed to address the financing, service delivery, and infrastructure challenges that have plagued the state for many years” helped Gov. Newsom, state legislators including Hannah-Beth Jackson, and the state treasurer to create the Master Plan on Aging that will be “... A system built around people and partnerships.” They conducted a forum to kick off their yearlong efforts “with older adults, people with disabilities, advocates, providers and policymakers, [to elevate] the Master Plan as an opportunity to redesign the system around the needs of people.”

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The SCAN forum included remarks from the California Deputy Cabinet Secretary and Human Services Agency Secretary calling everyone to action through the Health and Human Services Agency campaign Together We EngAGE (www.chhs.ca.gov). Their “Together We EngAGE Pledge for Action allows all Californians the opportunity to share their ideas and suggestions for how we collectively build an age-friendly California.” I’ve taken the pledge and I hope you will, too.

You know, sometimes we seniors tend to think no one is listening, no one cares – and then we find out they do! And as I’ve said many times, “Nothing happens overnight; all worthwhile endeavors take time.”

For the last few years I too have had the honor and pleasure of working with a dedicated group of women who understand the increasing needs of our aging population are a high priority. So I’m proud of the efforts of our group and the efforts of all of the other groups, associations, and individuals who’ve helped to advance California’s Master Plan on Aging – what Hannah-Beth Jackson considers “a roadmap for success” in building an age-friendly California.

Indeed, our golden years are looking brighter in the golden state. Hip, hip, hooray!

Until next time ... keep thinking the good thoughts.

Senior activist and local resident Rona Barrett is the driving force behind the Golden Inn & Village (GIV), the area’s first affordable senior living facility. GIV strives to bring services to seniors so they may age in place. Reach her at info@ronabarrettfoundation.org. Visit www.ronabarrettfoundation.org for more information.

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