California’s Department of Aging recently released a 10-year “Master Plan for Aging.” The blueprint aims to guide state and local governments, the private sector and charitable organizations toward improved housing, healthcare and caregiving for the state’s older residents. Among the recommendations are making home care more services affordable and providing incentives to attract home caregivers. 

In addressing today’s home care challenges, the Master Plan notes: “As more Californians live longer, more people will seek home or community care to live well within [their] homes and communities of choice. These services are often unaffordable for middle income older adults covered by Medicare only. To provide the care needed for optimal health and choices as we age, medical services and nonmedical supports can be integrated and made accessible to people living both in home and in community.”

The Master Plan also includes three strategies for accomplishing “caregiving that works.” The strategies:

• Step up support of family and friends caregivers to include paid family leave, multilingual training resources, virtual care options, and respite;

• Provide training and professional development opportunities leading to attractive caregiving jobs that provide livable wages; and

• Expand virtual care using new technologies, innovations in personal devices, smart home and smart community designs and telehealth advancements.

The number of Californians aged 60 and older is projected to grow to about 11 million by 2030, accounting for one-quarter of the state’s population. 

The Master Plan serves as a living framework for new ideas and proposals, according to Kim McCoy Wade, director of California’s Department of Aging and leader of the project’s task force. She said she hopes that it will evolve into a destination for Californians looking for programs or support, as is the case with the state’s First 5 website for caregivers of young children.