‘Master Plan on Aging’ Bills Take Effect

For California’s older adult population, the aging-in-place floodgates are about to burst, as a series of aging-related bills take effect in January.

In June, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order that called for the creation of a “master plan on aging.” The plan was meant to serve as a blueprint for state and local government, as well as the private sector, according to a June press release from the Office of the Governor.

With its senior population expected to increase by 4 million people by 2030, the state has a major incentive to prioritize aging and in-home care.

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“An aging population will introduce new opportunities for economic and community growth but [it] also drives increased health and long-term care costs,” Gov. Newsom said in June. “We need a plan that brings everyone to the table – local communities, labor, private sector and philanthropy – to help us understand what’s coming and guide us toward taking better care of older Californians.”

As part of the plan to tackle the issue, a number of the aging-related bills drafted by California legislators last year took effect on Jan. 1.

Among the legislation is AB 567, a bill that would set up the Long-Term Care Insurance Task Force in the Department of Insurance. The group will be comprised of specified stakeholders and representatives of government agencies and tasked with designing a statewide long-term care insurance program.

The bill notes that the cost of long-term care is a growing concern across all income levels. In fact, 63% of Californians surveyed are apprehensive about being able to afford long-term care, according to research cited in the legislature.

Several other states have similarly taken on the challenge of making long-term care more affordable for residents.

Washington’s Long-Term Care Trust Act, which was signed into law last May, requires state residents to pay into a long-term care program through an employee payroll tax. The program gives certain individuals access to funds for things like in-home care.

SB 280 — a bill addressing building standards and fall prevention — also took effect at the beginning of the year. The legislation requires the Department of Housing and Community Development to investigate changes to the building standards in the California Residential Code related to aging-in-place design.

In general, the preference that seniors have for aging in place has led to the growing popularity of home modification.

Another bill that went into effect Jan. 1 is AB 1287. The bill calls for the master plan for aging to consider the efficacy of utilizing a “No Wrong Door System,” which aims to help older adults gain access to information and referrals to community services and supports.

Additionally, SB 314 — the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act — provides attorney’s fees and damages to plaintiffs when the defendant is proven liable for physical abuse, neglect or abandonment.

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