Pennsylvania has the third largest older adult population in the country, behind only West Virginia and Florida, and it is projected to continue growing through 2020. A large majority of these older residents desire to age in place within their homes and communities, for as long as possible. For this reason, The Pennsylvania Department of Aging prepared this state plan, in compliance with the Older Americans Act, to serve as a guide to improve programs and services for older adults to help them remain active, independent and healthy.
This plan on aging focuses on improving in-home and community-based services for older residents. Currently, Pennsylvania spends 80 percent of its long-term care budget on institutional care and only 20 percent on in-home services. In order to help older Pennsylvanians stay in their current homes and communities, the state will need to increase spending on home and community-based services that ultimately create viable alternatives to institutional care. Specifically, top priorities identified include housing, transportation, family caregivers, wellness and fitness programs, public awareness, community partnerships, senior centers, legal assistance, and institutional care options.
Other key report findings include:
- Pennsylvania has one of the largest rural populations in the nation, with 48 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties considered rural. This represents 28 percent of the state’s residents. Of which, 16 percent are age 65+. Older adults living in these rural areas have greater difficulty accessing information and becoming aware of services and programs.
- According to a survey conducted in 2008 with over 240 respondents, the three most effective ways to inform older residents and their caregivers is through senior centers, home visits by counselors and health care practitioners offices.
- With the growing demand for services and the limited funds available, it was noted in the plan that Pennsylvania needs to focus on efficiently providing existing services to those with the greatest need for them.
How to Use
This plan on aging not only presents goals, objectives and strategies to improve the lives of older adults in Pennsylvania, but also serves as an educational tool for providers, public officials, advocates, caregivers and consumers. For community officials and planners, this plan on aging emphasizes the need to educate older adults on planning for their future needs, as well as the services and programs available that will help foster independence.
View full report: Pennsylvania State Plan on Aging – 2008-2012 (PDF – 4.1 MB)