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Senator Kirsten Gillibrand outlines Master Plan on Aging during St. Regis Mohawk Tribe visit

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (file)
Pat Bradley/WAMC
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (file)

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand visited the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe recently to outline a five-point Master Plan on Aging her office is developing.

Senator Gillibrand’s office cites data that by 2034 the number of adults age 65 and older will be greater than the number of children under 18 for the first time in the country’s history.

The Democrat visited the reservation located along the St. Lawrence River in northern New York to unveil the plan she says would ensure aging rights and financial security.

“We have been talking about our challenges that seniors have been facing for a long time," Gillibrand said. "We understand that for older Americans there are a lot of impediments to aging in place to getting the services you need, to making sure you have food security, to making sure that you get the health care that you need when you need it. And so I have been working over the past few months on a Master Plan on Aging. And the purpose of this master plan is to make sure we have legislation to solve each of these problems and to really show our older Americans that we not only care about them but we want them to not just survive, we want them to thrive.”

Gillibrand, a member of the Senate’s Special Committee on Aging, outlined the points in her plan and how each would help seniors as they age.

“The first one is to make sure they have access to affordable and healthy meals," the senator explained. "Second, we want to make sure that our seniors have access to reliable health care. Third, we’re going to make sure that older adults have economic security in their retirement. The fourth idea is to make sure people can age in place. And then the fifth thing we want to do is be able to have affordable housing, to be able to have a good transportation infrastructure. And then last making sure that seniors can actually be in the workplace if they want to be. So these are just a few things that I think will make life better for our older Americans.”

St. Regis Mohawk Tribe Senior Center Director Lora-Lee La France is thrilled to hear there are efforts at the federal level to enhance and meet the needs of elders.

“I am a member of the New York State Stakeholders’ Committee which is currently developing a New York State Master Plan for Aging. And one of the important things we need to realize with the master plan for aging is that it is not only for our older adults that we serve now," La France said. "But it’s also to ensure that older adults in the future also have the resources so they can live a long, healthy, happy, enjoyable life.”

Association on Aging Executive Director Becky Preve represents the 59 Offices on Aging across New York. She noted the state is fourth in the nation with a population over 60.

“We’re working really closely with Department of Health and New York State Office for the Aging on a New York State Master Plan for Aging to be inclusive and combat ageism," Preve said. "I can’t thank the Senator enough, her team, her staff. They are taking a thoughtful process to look at the Older Americans Act and how we can make changes and they’re facilitating input from community members.”

Gillibrand wants funding increased in the Older Americans Act, which includes social and nutrition services. She is also advocating passage of numerous bills including the Senior Hunger Prevention Act, the Prescription Drug Price Relief Act, the Social Security Expansion Act, and the Senior Financial Empowerment Act.