“Aging services in Pennsylvania are carried out through a robust network made up of Area Agencies on Aging, senior community centers, adult daily living centers, and the PA Link to Aging and Disability Resources. This network is vital to ensuring the effective provision of services so that older Pennsylvanians receive the support and services they need.”
“Pennsylvania’s Aging and Disability Resources Centers are known as PA Link. They are dedicated to improving access to long-term care supports, expanding the use of community-based solutions, promoting consumer-directed decision making through person-centered counseling, and improving the quality of services regardless of an individual’s age, physical or developmental disability, or ability to pay. PA Link functions are coordinated with other core Older Americans Act services and discretionary grants. Fifteen regional Links are made up of AAAs, Centers for Independent Living, county assistance offices, and other local partners.”
The Pennsylvania Department of Aging’s 2016-2020 State Plan on Aging was recently reviewed and approved by the United States Health and Human Services’ Administration for Community Living (ACL) and is effective October 1, 2016 through September 30, 2020. The plan carries out the complementary objectives of the Older Americans Act (as amended and reauthorized in 2016), ACL, the commonwealth, and the department.
“With a growing population of over 2.9 million adults over age 60, Pennsylvania must be prepared to effectively serve diverse communities with varying needs,” said Secretary Osborne. “This plan recognizes the department’s responsibility to serve as an effective and visible advocate for older Pennsylvanians and to coordinate all state activities related to the purposes of the Older Americans Act, while solidifying the commonwealth’s continued commitment to provide and improve services in a way that enables older Pennsylvanians to age in place with the dignity and respect they deserve.”
Development of the 2016-2020 State Plan on Aging began in the fall of 2015, when the department developed core principles to guide the operation of the organization over the course of the next four years. PDA then held seven community listening forums and three public hearings across the state to solicit input from a diverse spectrum of stakeholders.
“The department sought to create a document through an approach that is both responsive and responsible. A plan that considers the needs of the people we serve, and continues to incorporate their feedback,” said Secretary Osborne. “The combined diligence, experience, and hard-work of our staff and stakeholders has created a unified and goal oriented movement within our organization that will allow us to evaluate the progress of our efforts and recalibrate as the landscape of aging services in Pennsylvania evolves.”
There are four state plan goals:
- Promote existing services
- Improve access to services
- Enhance quality of services
- Empower the workforce
These goals are designed to encompass all initiatives that the department will undertake to improve aging services in Pennsylvania. As conditions change, the department may find it necessary to retool its approach to certain services. An objective may need to be reshaped, or some strategies may not work and will need to be replaced by new ones, but the goals are comprehensive and will provide a lasting way of thinking about the department’s initiatives.
“Within the state plan, a number of objectives and strategies address ways to maximize and leverage financial resources,” said Secretary Osborne. “These include developing a robust and diverse volunteer network across all program areas, promoting collaboration and communication throughout the aging network and among stakeholders, implementing evidence-based programs, securing sustainable grant funds, and eliminating redundancy in program administration through improved data, information collection and quality assurance protocols.”
PDA coordinates its comprehensive array of services through a network of 52 local Area Agencies on Aging (AAA). Like the Department of Aging, AAAs developed area plans to carry out the philosophy of the 2016-2020 State Plan on Aging.Over the next three weeks, Secretary Osborne will be holding five regional roundtable discussions with AAA directors and staff to discuss the implementation of area plans and the continuous improvement of aging services.
For more information or to view the 2016-2020 State Plan on Aging, visit aging.pa.gov .