By 2030, California’s older adult population is expected to double. When Governor Gavin Newsom asked experts to plan for this change, he tapped UC Davis Health to contribute to the conversation.
Heather M. Young, professor and dean emerita of the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis, serves on the stakeholder advisory committee for the California Master Plan for Aging. This week the group released its blueprint for tackling the growing older-adult population in California.
The plan maps out systemwide change that equitably uplifts older adults, people with disabilities and their family caregivers. It outlines five bold goals and 23 strategies to build a California for all ages by 2030.
“The goals of the Master Plan are powerful because they provide solutions for all Californians in a holistic way, promoting health and well-being physically, emotionally, financially and socially,” Young said. “The work we are doing at UC Davis to advance quality care for older adults and their family caregivers, as well as innovations in technology-enabled care are highly aligned with the Master Plan.”
The five goals of the plan are:
- Houses for all stages and ages
- Health reimagined
- Inclusion and equity, not isolation
- Caregiving that works
- Affording aging
David Lubarsky, UC Davis Health CEO and Vice Chancellor of Human Health Sciences, served on the Governor’s Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention and Preparedness, along with UC Davis Health neurology researcher Oanh Meyer. In November, the group is issued a report detailing its recommendations about how communities, organizations, businesses, governments and families can prevent and prepare for the expected increase in Alzheimer’s cases.
“Our region and our state face unprecedented challenges both from our aging population and the long-term health, social and economic effects from this pandemic,” Lubarsky said. “In order to fully understand this disease, we need to dedicate the necessary resources, including the brain power here at UC Davis Health, to understand both the opportunities and the vulnerabilities in our health systems statewide. Our aging population and those who care for them are depending on us.”
Both the Master Plan and the Alzheimer’s Disease task force recommendations align with efforts at UC Davis Health to create the healthiest and highest functioning older-adult population in California. Those include:
- UC Davis Health Healthy Aging Initiative: promoting healthy aging through an integrated approach across the lifespan and all care settings through clinical care, research and innovation at UC Davis Health.
- Healthy Aging in a Digital World initiative: UC Davis has a vision to use technology to provide a bridge between independent living and access to health care across a person’s lifespan.
- Family Caregiving Institute: supporting the millions of individuals who provide care to aging family members or friends through provider and caregiver education, along with research for best practices.
This demographic reality touches everyone and affects the ability to provide and pay for the range of services and supports needed for this population. That is evident in how the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately harmed older adults, and strained aging and disability services like never before.
“I am excited that the Governor and cabinet have embraced these issues beyond the Department on Aging, to include all sectors of government, facilitating necessary policy change to drive meaningful implementation,” Young added. “I look forward to the opportunities we will have to bring the recommendations to life at UC Davis Health.”