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State's new Plan for Aging lays out needs in transportation, home care and more

By - Last modified: November 1, 2012 at 11:48 AM

Pennsylvania's new four-year State Plan for Aging has been approved, and some of its main focuses are improving housing and transportation infrastructure for the elderly.

“Studies have shown that many older Pennsylvanians wish to stay in their communities as long as possible but may lack access to comprehensive and coordinated services to support living and participating in the community,” the plan says. “The Department is committed to ensuring that this is an attainable objective.”

Strategies the plan suggests include:

• increasing public awareness of resources currently available

• strengthening networks for transitions between home, hospital and nursing facilities

• improving long-term living support systems for individuals discharged from hospitals

• a statewide survey to identify gaps in the current transportation system

• partnerships between state agencies, home and community-based service providers, local governments and private organizations to encourage communities in which Pennsylvanians can age and live well, and

• exploring tax credits for businesses that hire older workers.

According to the plan, Pennsylvania is the fourth “oldest” state in the nation, with nearly 2.7 million people — more than 20 percent of the population — age 60 and older. By 2030, that number is estimated at 3.6 million, or nearly 28 percent of the population.

State and federal law require the plans, which are developed every four years in conjunction with Area Agencies on Aging.