Bill would create a new, nationwide grant program to incentivize and support states’ efforts to create strategic plans for aging

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), member of the Senate Committee on Aging, and U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), chair of the Senate Committee on Aging, introduced the Strategic Plan for Aging Act, a landmark bill that would create a new, nationwide grant program under the Older Americans Act (OAA) to incentivize and support states’ efforts to create their own strategic plans for aging. There are currently at least 24 states that are implementing, developing or initiating a comprehensive plan to address the needs of older adults; these plans are commonly referred to by states as Master Plans for Aging or Multisector Plans for Aging. These plans are cross-sector, state-led strategic planning resources that can help states transform the infrastructure and coordination of services for their aging populations. The ultimate goal is to guide smart policy choices and investments at the state level to ensure older adults can live with dignity in the setting of their choice.  

In the United States, there are more than 57 million Americans aged 65 years and older, and because that number is expected to rise to more than 80 million by 2040, it is essential that state and local governments are prepared to address the needs of our aging loved ones.

“More than 57 million Americans are aged 65 years and older, and that number will continue to rise in the coming years. It is absolutely essential that Congress leads the effort to invest in the well-being of our elder loved ones,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The Strategic Plan for Aging Act would deliver millions for states to develop their own strategic plans for aging, which can provide resources and solutions to help older Americans navigate everything from housing and food insecurity to skyrocketing health care costs, insufficient retirement savings and elder abuse. I’m committed to ensuring that every American has the opportunity to age with dignity and financial security.”

“After fighting in our wars, teaching our children and building our Nation, older Americans deserve to age with dignity. As I lead this year’s reauthorization of the Older Americans Act, I am focused on ensuring that Congress meets its obligation to Pennsylvanians and people around the country as they age,” said Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), chair of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging. “The Strategic Plan for Aging Act would help provide that support by giving Pennsylvania and states across the Nation the resources they need to plan for the future and ensure that no older Americans are left behind.”

The Strategic Plan for Aging Act would:     
  • Award grants to states, territories and tribes to create or continue to develop their own multisector plan for Aging.  
    • Awardees will finalize and begin the implementation of their plan not later than two years after receiving the grant. The plan should cover a 10-year period.   
    • A plan would direct the state, local, nonprofit and private sectors to collaborate on systems-based solutions that touch all major areas of the aging life experience, such as health care, housing, transportation, consumer affairs, employment and income security.   
  • Provide awardees with resources to coordinate, implement and evaluate cross-agency and private-sector plans to improve the lives of older adults, including older adults with a disability.   
  • Award up to 65 grants in a five-year span; each grant could be worth up to $500,000. The Departement of Health & Human Services (HHS) will have the discretion to award a lower amount depending on the size and need of the state, territory and tribal organization.  
Voices of Support

“USAging is pleased to support the Strategic Plan for Aging Act," said Sandy Markwood, CEO, USAging. "If we are to build a society that values people as they age, we must as a nation plan to improve the ability of older adults to age well at home and in the community. The nation’s Area Agencies on Aging and Title VI Native American Aging Programs have been preparing for our current unprecedented age wave for decades and play significant roles in aging planning in communities across the U.S. This legislation will expand and coordinate with these planning efforts to engage all sectors of society in planning and supporting our historic demographic shift."

“ADvancing States is glad to endorse the Strategic Plan for Aging Act," said Martha Roherty, executive director of ADvancing States. "Now more than ever, addressing the needs of the nation’s aging population requires thoughtful, long-term strategic planning. The Strategic Plan for Aging Act would offer essential support to state aging agencies, enabling them to develop and implement effective strategies to strengthen the infrastructure of their programs and better meet the needs of the growing older adult population nationwide."

“Counties play a much-needed role in helping older adults live independently in our communities,” said National Association of Counties Executive Director Matthew Chase. “With the senior population increasing, we have experienced increased demand on county services. By creating a new, nationwide grant program to support the development and implementation of multi-sector aging plans, the Strategic Plan for Aging Act will help counties and our intergovernmental partners meet the needs of elderly residents for years to come. We look forward to working with Congress to pass this important legislation.”

“We commend Senator Gillibrand for her leadership and dedication to supporting older Americans," said Ellie Hollander, president and CEO of Meals on Wheels America. "This rapidly growing population faces significant risk of social isolation, malnutrition and hunger while federal funding shortfalls limit the aging network’s capacity to provide lifesaving services. Currently, one in three Meals on Wheels programs has a waitlist, with seniors waiting an average of three months for vital meals. The Strategic Plan on Aging Act incentivizes collaboration among states, Area Agencies on Aging and community-based organizations like Meals on Wheels that are best positioned to meet seniors’ needs by establishing additional grants and resources to coordinate and implement aging plans focused on seniors’ well-being. We look forward to working with Congress to enact this comprehensive legislation,” 

“As America grows older, all states need to be planning for a future where we can all access appropriate health care, housing, transportation and other services as we age," said Justice in Aging’s Executive Director, Kevin Prindiville. "As we’ve seen with California’s Master Plan for Aging, now in its fifth year, targeted investments and inclusive planning, such as what is proposed in the Strategic Plan on Aging Act, can work to build better, more equitable communities for us all. This is a very exciting development."

“Master Plans for Aging are vital components of state efforts to enact policies and programs that empower older adults to live healthy, fulfilling lives in the communities of their choice, while aging with dignity and independence," New York State Department of Health Commissioner James McDonald said. "Senator Gillibrand’s proposal recognizes the importance of making sure states have the means and supports to accomplish that goal.”

“With alignment at the federal and state level, we can use Master Plans for Aging to remake the aging experience through support programs that are more effective, efficient and impactful. I applaud Senator Gillibrand for ensuring that state and federal government agencies partner to build a system that works for older adults and for all of us as we age," Master Plan for Aging Chair and Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Health’s Office of Aging and Long-term Care Adam Herbst, Esq., said.

More Information

States that are implementing or developing a Strategic Aging Plan include: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont and Washington.

The Strategic Plan for Aging Act has been endorsed by: ADvancing States; Alliance for Retired Americans; American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; American Society on Aging; CaringKind the Heart of Alzheimer’s Caregiving; Carter Burden Network; Chinatown Manpower Project, Inc.; Chinese-American Planning Council; Citymeals on Wheels; Coalition to End Social Isolation and Loneliness; Defeat Malnutrition Today; Diverse Elders Coalition; Elder Justice Coalition; Generations United; GNYHA; Grantmakers in Aging; Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing; Healthcare Association of New York State; International Association for Indigenous Aging; Justice in Aging; LeadingAge; Lifespan of Greater Rochester; LiveOn NY; Long-Term Quality Alliance; Meals on Wheels America; Medicare Rights Center; National Adult Protective Services Association; National Alliance for Caregiving; National Association of Counties; National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs; National Association of State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programs; National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care; National Council on Aging; National Foundation to End Senior Hunger; New York State Department of Health; New York State Master Plan on Aging Coalition; New York StateWide Senior Action Council; New York Vision Rehabilitation Association; NYC Department for the Aging; NYS Office for the Aging; Pennsylvania Association for Area Agencies on Aging, People Inc.; SAGE Advocacy & Services for LGBTQ+ Elders; Service Program for Older People Inc.; Southeastern Association of Area Agencies on Aging; The Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging; USAging, West Health Institute.

For a full list of endorsement quotes, click here.