Officials release a new plan for meeting older adults’ needs

By PAUL CUNO-BOOTH

New Hampshire Public Radio

Published: 10-03-2023 6:17 PM

A third of New Hampshire’s population is expected to be 65 or older by 2030. In a newly released plan, state officials are outlining how they intend to better support older adults in the coming years.

The updated State Plan on Aging took effect Oct. 1 and runs through 2027. The federal government requires states to update those plans every four years.

The new plan calls for more funding to strengthen the long-term care sector, at a time when many nursing homes and in-home care providers are understaffed and have people on waitlists.

A key focus is expanding access to home- and community-based services.

An analysis last year by the New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute estimated that the state underfunded home- and community-based care by more than $150 million over the previous decade. While lawmakers increased Medicaid funding for those services in the current state budget, home health care providers have said more investments will be needed to actually meet the need.

“While NH has one of the fastest growing number of older adults in the country, we are nearly last in offering a balanced system of care,” the updated plan states.

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The state also intends to make those services easier to navigate, and make sure people caring for family members have the information and support they need.

Other priorities in the new plan include guarding against abuse and exploitation, and ensuring services meet the needs of diverse populations, including people of color and LGBTQ+ older adults. The plan also highlights the need to make communities more livable for older adults, through investments in transportation, housing and opportunities for social connection.

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