2023 Local Master Plan for Aging Released

 

Last updated 5/2/2024 at 11:24am | View PDF

The 2023 Local Master Plan for Aging: Kings and Tulare Counties has been completed and is now available for viewing or downloading at ktaaa.org/resourceslinks/2023-local-master-plan-for-aging.

The plan complements the California Master Plan for Aging, a 10-year blueprint for promoting healthy aging and supporting the quality of life in the state.

The 12 members of the Kings/Tulare Master Plan for Aging Advisory Committee that produced the master plan represented various organizations, non-profits, governmental and county agencies, as well as county officials.

"We first collected data from various organizations – the Alzheimer's Association, Valley Caregiver Resource Center, the United Way, the Kings County Commission on Aging, the Kings and Tulare County Housing Authorities, and Community Services Employment Training – who provided information on the numbers of older adults served and the types of needs and requests they received," said Helen Miltiades, Ph.D., a consultant to the committee.

"This allowed us to narrow our focus into the main concerns surrounding caregiving, housing, food insecurity, transportation and lack of knowledge of available resources.

"We had 54 people participate in interviews to discuss their concerns regarding services and to provide ideas on how services/resources for older adults and persons with disabilities could be improved," she added.

The Kings/Tulare Master Plan for Aging Advisory Committee initially presented its findings at a large gathering at the Wyndham Visalia Hotel on October 19th.

"At our event in October, we continued to solicit recommendations from persons in the community," said Miltiades. "In total, you could say we had 126 individuals who participated either by commenting or in the full community survey."

The committee members worked to consolidate the recommendations provided by community members through the survey process and the open comment period. The committee also analyzed the data provided by the agencies and organizations that serve seniors in the South Valley.

"We were surprised to learn how many older adults were not aware of existing services they qualified for and could benefit from," said Miltiades, who also noted that, "Adult children and other family members, especially in rural communities, are the supportive backbone for many older adults. The family network is critical to helping older adults and persons with disabilities thrive."

The Master Plan for Aging committee found that the main service needs of rural seniors in Tulare and Kings Counties were caregiving, housing, food insecurity, transportation and outreach.

"Unfortunately, funding and budgets impact elder services," said Miltiades. "I am hoping various agencies that serve older adults will look for and apply for grants to cover additional services. I hope a concerted effort is made to connect social and health service providers with the goal of providing a more comprehensive network of services.

Now that the committee's report is complete, it is up to others to deal with its recommendations.

"The advisory group has taken up the reins for implementation, which is as it should be, given they all represent various agencies that serve older persons and persons with disabilities," said Miltiades. "I know they are really focusing on the outreach part, especially in developing a roundtable, and have already held several meetings."

"For the past two years, I've had the privilege of co-leading the development of a local Master Plan for Aging alongside community leaders from both Kings and Tulare Counties," said Dayna Wild, Tulare County Health and Human Services Agency division manager and director of the Kings Tulare Area Agency on Aging. "This experience has proven invaluable, as it allowed us to forge new partnerships with numerous organizations dedicated to serving older adults and individuals with disabilities.

"We've come to realize that we cannot effect meaningful change in isolation; it truly takes a collaborative effort from the entire community to create an environment where older adults and persons with disabilities can age on their own terms and in their preferred locations.

"We have several crucial goals to achieve, with our initial focus on outreach," Wild continued. "During the survey process, many older adults expressed their challenges in navigating a complex system. To address this, we've established a roundtable group that convenes monthly. Together, we're diligently working towards creating a coordinated care system that will significantly enhance access to services and support for older adults."

To get involved, e-mail KTAAA@tularecounty.ca.gov or call (559) 624-8061.

 

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