California budget includes $3.8 billion to build ‘age-friendly’ state for older adults – News


Revisions to California’s 2021–2022 budget include $3.8 billion in new funding to build an “age-friendly” state that supports older adults through a Master Plan for Aging.

The May revision to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s state budget includes $2.1 billion in one-time funds and $1.7 billion in ongoing funding to develop a California Department of Aging infrastructure to advance the goals of the state’s Master Plan for Aging, released in January. Those goals center around housing, health, isolation prevention, caregiving and affordable aging.

A spokesperson for the California Association of Health Facilities said that the association is happy the governor is “acknowledging the need to make an investment in senior health, especially with additional funding for Alzheimer’s education and improving the pool of workers who have experience in geriatric medicine.” CAHF President and CEO Craig Cornett was part of a group that made recommendations on the Master Plan for Aging to Newsom’s administration.

LeadingAge California applauded the prioritization of older adults in the state budget, saying the May revision includes more than $1 billion of key investments in housing, workforce, infrastructure and healthcare.

“As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, California has the opportunity to reimagine how we care for the state’s rapidly aging population,” LeadingAge California President and CEO Jeannee Parker Martin said in a member update. “Gov. Newsom’s proposed investments in critical areas, including caregiver workforce development, affordable housing and in-home support services, lay the foundation for an older adult care system that can meet the needs of older Californians today and into the future.” 

Workforce

The May revision to the governor’s state budget includes workforce development investments to help support aging healthcare, including $6.3 million to the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development to recast it as a department to “strengthen health workforce and other data assets, building a more robust health workforce data system, and analyze that data to better inform policy recommendations,” according to CAHF.

Another workforce initiative includes a $8 million one-time investment in resources for the state’s Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development for resources to increase and diversify the geriatric medicine workforce pipeline, a major priority for LeadingAge California, which said those dollars will focus on certified nurse assistants, home care aides and the paraprofessional workforce.

Caregiving workforce solutions also would be supported by a proposed senior adviser on aging, disability and Alzheimer’s. That position, as put forth in the governor’s January budget, would advance cross-cabinet initiatives and partnerships between government, the private sector and philanthropy.

Alzheimer’s disease

The May revision includes a comprehensive and coordinated approach to Alzheimer’s disease, with $12.5 million in one-time funding dedicated to public awareness, standards of care and geriatric workforce development, according to LeadingAge. 

Those dollars would fund several one-time initiatives, including $4 million for caregiver training and certification; a $4.5 million training effort for healthcare providers related to standards of care; and a $4 million investment in research to strengthen California’s leadership on disparities and equity in Alzheimer’s disease. 

Housing

The state has focused resources on ensuring housing stability in the tail-end of the pandemic. 

The May revision includes $1 billion for the Department of Social Services to support acquiring and rehabilitating adult residential facilities and residential care facilities for the elderly. The effort is meant to preserve and expand housing for low-income seniors in danger of becoming homeless.

Next steps

Progress on the Master Plan for Aging would be tracked through the Data Dashboard for Aging, the stakeholder oversight committee forming this spring, known as IMPACT, and the annual report process.

The budget proposal will be reviewed by the California Legislature in the coming weeks. 



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