Friday, January 25, 2008

PA Aging Plan "Discussion Guide" Now Available

The PA Department of Aging recently posted its "Discussion Guide" (PDF, 9 pages) as an agenda for the public conversations about the next four-year State Plan on Aging to occur during the seven "Town Meetings" scheduled around the Commonwealth, beginning January 31st & concluding March 28th.

For background about the 2008-2012 PA State Plan on Aging and the Town Meetings scheduled to discuss it, view the PA DoA's web page, which contains an explanation, resources, and further links. See also: PA EE&F Law Blog posting
Town Meetings for PA's "Plan on Aging" (12/28/07).

The Discussion Guide lists four central "goals", each with "key items for discussion". These goals are:

  1. Empower older Pennsylvanians and their families, including those from diverse communities, to make informed decisions on their health care and long-term living options.
  2. Enable older Pennsylvanians, including those from diverse communities, to remain in the setting of their choice, improve their quality of life, and to take individual economic responsibility via the development of needed infrastructure and provision of home and community-based services, including supports for family caregivers.
  3. Empower older Pennsylvanians, including those from diverse communities, to stay active and healthy.
  4. Ensure older Pennsylvanians, including those from diverse communities, are free from abuse, neglect, exploitation and abandonment. [Emphasis added.]
"Key items for discussion" are listed under each goal:
  • Goal #1 Issues:
1. Health care options
2. Long-term living options
3. Health insurance
4. Public awareness
5. Cultural inclusion
6. Advance Directives
  • Goal #2 Issues:
1. Ability to live where you choose
2. Quality of life
3. Individual economic responsibility
4. Infrastructure (transportation, housing, etc)
5. Home & community based services
6. Family caregivers
7. Developmental disabilities
8. Cultural barriers
  • Goal #3 Issues:
1. Healthy living, exercise & fitness
2. Volunteerism/Civic Engagement
3. Socialization/Senior Centers
4. Senior Employment
5. Healthy Brain Aging
  • Goal #4 Issues:
1. Abuse
2. Neglect
3. Exploitation
4. Abandonment
5. Behavioral Health
6. Suicide
7. Emergency planning
8. Supports for family caregivers
9. Grandparents raising grandchildren
To prime the pump for discussion, the Discussion Guide provides information in three subsections:
  • Facts
  • Did you know?
  • What we have already heard about this goal
Then under each goal are seven or eight stated "Questions for discussion".

This "
Discussion Guide" is a basic list of aging & elder law topics, viewed both from an individual & the collective viewpoints. It should be read by all who are involved with senior citizens, even if you won't attend a Town Meeting.

In a Press Release, dated January 24, 2008, entitled "
Department of Aging to Host Town Meeting in Elizabethtown to Gather Public Input for its State Plan on Aging", the PA DoA urged attendance at the first Town Meeting session, to be held on January 31, 2008, from 9:00 a.m. to noon, at the Deike Auditorium, in the Freemason's Cultural Center, Masonic Village, Elizabethtown, Lancaster County, PA:
“I invite older adults and their advocates to share ideas that will help us to develop new services and enhance existing programs for older Pennsylvanians,” said Secretary of Aging Nora Dowd Eisenhower.

“We are seeking input to make sure our priorities accurately reflect needs.” * * *

“Public participation is absolutely essential to the success of our town meetings,” Dowd Eisenhower said. “We are encouraging organizations involved in our statewide aging network to spread the word and encourage their members to make their voices heard.” * * *
The Press Release concludes by offering alternative means for offering public comment on the developing State Plan of Aging:
  • Written comments may be submitted to the Department of Aging, c/o the Division of Systems Planning and Consultation, 555 Walnut St., 5th Floor, Harrisburg, PA 17101;
  • Via Click on the link to the State Plan on Aging and then click on the link to the State Plan on Aging Opinion Survey to provide the department with instant feedback regarding State Plan issues; or
  • By contacting your local Area Agency on Aging.