As baby boomers enter their golden years, the over-60 population in the United States is soaring. Higher life expectancies and lower birth rates are increasing both the numbers of individuals in or entering retirement and the proportion of elderly to working-age adults. Enter California’s Master Plan for Aging.
In California alone, the over-60 population is projected to increase by more than 10 million by the year 2030. To maintain the quality of life for this aging population and also reduce the economic and social strain required to properly support them, California Governor Gavin Newsom created the state’s first ever “Master Plan for Aging”, a 10-year blueprint for improving the support of the state’s aging residents.
This executive order will carry implications for industries serving residents that are retired or planning their retirement. It may also impact how trustees manage assets, account for government entitlements, and prepare for living costs associated with retirement or end-of-life planning.
Here’s a brief overview of this comprehensive plan and its implications for trustees.
California’s Master Plan for Aging
Overall, California’s Master Plan for Aging is a sweeping strategic document consisting of five primary goals, 23 strategies to achieve those goals, and more than 100 initiatives planned for launch within the first two years of implementation.
This master plan is aimed at both private and public entities to prepare them for the growing needs of elderly individuals across a wide range of sectors, including healthcare, transportation, long-term care, housing, financial services, and other key sectors in which elderly populations have been historically underserved.
In anticipation of the rising costs of healthcare and other age-related needs, this new infrastructure will offer guidance and preparation for institutions that will need to both support aging individuals through adequate services and resources and alleviate the financial stresses that can come later in life.
Breaking Down the Plan’s ‘Five Bold Goals’
The top objectives of California’s Master Plan for Aging are broken down into five broad categories that represent goals the state is trying to reach by 2030. These objectives include:
Housing for All Stages & Ages
As populations age, their housing needs evolve. Elderly individuals need access to a wide range of specialized housing, including housing that serves individuals who have disabilities or dementia, who require assisted care, or who have other specialized needs. There must also be adequate housing to provide emergency shelter for individuals displaced by climate emergencies or other disasters.
Quality healthcare is an essential service for elderly individuals, yet many lack appropriate access to the healthcare they need. There is also inequity in this access for underserved populations, including aging Black, Latino, and other minority individuals. The Master Plan for Aging seeks to address these inequities and raise an overall standard of care that improves outcomes and increases life expectancies across the board.
Inclusion and Equity, Not Isolation
Systemic inequality isn’t limited to healthcare. Inequity and non-inclusion can become more exaggerated as individuals age—particularly as their physical and cognitive constraints contribute to isolation and other forms of marginalization. Community-based initiatives will develop inclusive programs that foster connection and inclusion, and provide a greater sense of purpose for individuals in any stage of life.
Caregiving That Works
To improve the quality and access of care among its aging population, California will launch new initiatives to create one million caregiver jobs.
Cash-strapped aging individuals are meeting rising living costs, and these financial shortfalls can limit access to necessary healthcare, housing, and other services. Efforts to improve economic security for aging individuals will ultimately improve the overall economy for both their communities and the state.
Understanding the Impact on Trust Management
Although the Master Plan for Aging doesn’t carry any short-term implications for retirement planning and trust management, trustees should be aware of how this strategic blueprint could impact several aspects of trust management and retirement planning in the future.
For example, investments into elderly healthcare infrastructure—which includes everything from expanding geriatric care services to improving nursing home facilities and operations—could improve quality of life for elderly individuals. Similarly, expanded and upgraded housing for elderly and/or disabled individuals could result in more attractive housing options for individual beneficiaries of a trust.
As these initiatives are implemented, trustees should pay close attention to new services and opportunities that may offer better support or care than what beneficiaries are currently receiving.
Although the full impact of this master plan will require years of implementation to achieve, many aspects of this comprehensive strategy could carry implications for fiduciaries and individuals managing a trust. Contact us today for expert insight on how to account for aging in your long-term trust planning and management.