A Golden Opportunity: Shaping California’s Master Plan for Aging

With an executive order, Governor Newsom launched California’s process to develop a Master Plan for Aging, “a blueprint that can be used by state government, local communities, private organizations and philanthropy to build environments that promote an age-friendly California.”

Dr. Bruce Chernoff of the SCAN Foundation tells us this is “not a master plan for aged people, but a master plan for our aging society”. It will benefit us all as we enter a future where there will be more people over 60 than under 10.

The Master Plan process represents a golden opportunity for stakeholders to work together to address the many issues that impact older people in communities across the state, and to do so with a focus on equity, diversity, and inclusion. The completion target date is October, 2020.

Leading the process is Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Mark Ghaly. He states that he is committed to an outward-facing process that engages stakeholders at every level. We will take him at his word, and ask you to join us in stepping up to engage.

Field Research in Alameda County

In 2019, Senior Services Coalition participated in a research project designed to elevate the voices of real people to inform the Master Plan.  The project was led by Greater Good Studios, and funded by the SCAN Foundation. It included weeks of field studies in urban, suburban and rural communities, and five community design workshops throughout the state.

The Report, Elevating Voices – Strategic Recommendations for the California Master Plan for Aging, was released in October 2019 and submitted to the state.  Read the Executive Summary and Full Report.

Click here to read the researcher’s newsletter about the field studies, and here to read about the workshops. Click here to see Greater Good Studios’ capture of Alameda County’s community workshop findings.


March 27, 2020 – In light of COVID-19, the Administration has temporarily paused Master Plan for Aging activities so that state staff and stakeholders can be deployed to crisis response. The mobilization that is underway in communities across the state is highlighting the importance of community-based supportive services that keep people connected and cared for, and is exposing the gaps that are a result of chronic disinvestment. This experience will inform the Master Plan when the work resumes.

Before the pause, the MPA Stakeholder Advisory Committee released a draft of its recommendations on stabilizing long-term services and supports. Click here to read the draft report. 

January 21, 2020 – The California Department of Aging is convening “Webinar Wednesdays” – a series of interactive webinars addressing a variety of aging-related topics that will inform the development of the Master Plan for Aging.

Beginning January 15, 2020, Webinar Wednesdays will delve into a single topic each week (including healthy aging, employment, housing, transportation, retirement security, geriatric workforce, and palliative care, and many more). Each webinar will feature a local leader, state partner, Stakeholder Advisory Committee member, and opportunities for participants to provide feedback in real-time.

To watch past webinars, click here..

December 13, 2019 – Today SSC submitted a set of recommendations to inform the Master Plan for Aging. We drew them from discussions with our own members as well as with a broad range of community stakeholders.

Click here to read our letter. Our letter focuses on concrete, practical innovations and policy changes that support the priorities expressed by Justice In Aging in the September 16, 2019 joint letter to Secretary Ghaly from Kevin Prindiville, Marty Lynch, and over a hundred organizations throughout the state. Click here to read the September 16 letter.

November 20, 2019 – The Master Plan for Aging seeks recommendations from the public – individuals, organizations, academic institutions, policy makers to help inform the work. Send your recommendations in a letter to engage@aging.ca.gov no later than Dec. 13, 2019. Refer to the Stakeholder Committee’s current framework (click here) and goals to develop your recommendations, and use the format of the recommendation template (click here) to format your ideas.

September 20, 2019 – Today’s public policy event in San Francisco – sponsored by the San Francisco Long Term Care Coordinating Council and the Dignity Fund Coalition – informed and engaged over 1,000 stakeholders from throughout the Bay Area about the statewide process to create a Master Plan for Aging and a strong future for all Californians. Click here to watch the recorded event. Click here to check out the Examiner article on San Francisco’s four priorities.

September 12, 2019 – The newly appointed Stakeholder Advisory Committee is a diverse group of 34 stakeholders with varying expertise and experiences, who will help develop components of the Master Plan, and will advise the California Health and Human Services Agency and the Cabinet-level Workgroup on Aging in the development of the Master Plan. We are excited that our colleagues from Alameda County – Janny Castillo of St. Mary’s Center and Marty Lynch of LifeLong Medical Care – are members of the committee, along with Justice In Aging’s Kevin Prindiville.

For a roster of Committee members, click here to go to the state’s Master Plan web page. Check the page for information on attending or listening to the Committee’s meetings, or to fill out a “pledge for action” or join the email list