The Ohio Department of Aging develops a strategic framework, required by the federal Older Americans Act, to provide leadership that improves and promotes quality of life and personal choice for older Ohioans, adults with disabilities and their families and caregivers. The most recent framework, or state plan, covers federal fiscal years 2023 through 2026.
Ohio’s 2023-2026 State Plan on Aging implements a collaborative approach that stands out from other aging plans across the country. The plan calls on all Ohioans – including state and local partners in both the public and private sectors – to join forces to help Ohioans live longer, healthier lives with dignity and autonomy, and to eliminate disparities and inequities in aging.
Why is the State Plan important?
As Ohio’s federally designated State Unit on Aging, the Ohio Department of Aging (ODA) is required to periodically submit a state plan on aging to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Community Living (ACL). Approval of the state plan affords Ohio the ability to draw down federal Older Americans Act (OAA) funding to support critical programs and services administered by ODA and the state’s 12 Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs), including home-delivered and congregate meals, transportation, home modification, chore services, adult day services, respite, and caregiver supports.
ODA develops a strategic framework to provide leadership that improves and promotes quality of life and personal choice for older Ohioans, adults with disabilities and their families and caregivers. The most recent framework, or state plan, covers federal fiscal years 2023 through 2026.
What is the goal of the State Plan?
All Ohioans live longer, healthier lives with dignity and autonomy, and disparities and inequities are eliminated. To achieve this, ODA will monitor progress on the objectives detailed in the State Plan.
What are the core priorities of the State Plan?
Guided by core principles of elder justice and equity, Ohio’s 2023-2026 State Plan on Aging focuses on addressing the following priorities:
- Community Conditions – improving financial stability, access to housing, and access to transportation
- Healthy Living – improving nutrition and physical activity
- Access to Care – improving healthcare coverage and affordability, home and community-based services, workforce capacity, and caregiver supports
- Social Connectedness – improving social inclusion and volunteerism
- Population Health – reducing cognitive difficulty, hypertension, and depression
- Preserving Independence – improving chronic pain management and falls prevention
How does Ohio’s State Plan fulfill federal priorities?
Prioritizing upstream investments and changes earlier in life, and in the right places, can make healthy aging a reality for all. Ohio’s 2023-2026 State Plan on Aging priorities reframe how we view aging and approach the aging process, and embeds the importance of addressing the social determinants of health. This prioritized plan reflects the strengths and needs of Ohio’s communities and establishes a unifying framework. Using this framework, partners across the state can work together to make Ohio the best place to age in the nation. The plan prompts Ohio to broaden our approaches to policymaking, service delivery, and investment priorities.
What makes Ohio’s State Plan an innovative approach?
Ohio’s new State Plan on Aging implements a collaborative approach that stands out from other aging plans across the country. The plan calls on all Ohioans, including state and local partners in both the public and private sectors, to join forces to help Ohioans live longer, healthier lives with dignity and autonomy, and to eliminate disparities and inequities in aging. The new plan serves as a comprehensive roadmap guiding the state’s aging network on strategies to improve the overall health and well-being of older Ohioans.
How does the State Plan ensure that the needs of traditionally underserved populations are met?
State Plan priority populations are at an increased risk of experiencing personal and environmental stressors, such as discrimination, poverty, and exposure to trauma and toxic stress. Priority populations may also face unique challenges to accessing programs and services, including limited access to public transit, lack of geographic proximity to providers, and inadequate internet connectivity.
To ensure that policies, programs, and services reach and meet the needs of priority populations, the following elder justice and equity considerations will inform the implementation of State Plan strategies:
- Tailored outreach and messaging, language access plans, and translation services to increase access and engagement.
- To reduce program participation barriers, accommodations and modifications are made available to support older adults with disabilities or with symptoms that limit their activities.
- Services and programs are tailored or adjusted to better meet the individual needs of older adults living with chronic conditions, such as HIV/AIDS.
- Providers select locations that are close, convenient, and considered safe by the community to increase engagement and remove transportation barriers.
- Programs are offered free of charge with a voluntary contribution or donation, or on a sliding fee scale, in accordance with OAA cost sharing requirements if funded by Title III, to minimize cost as a barrier to participation.
- Virtual services, as applicable and allowable, to increase access to care.
- Service providers complete cultural competency and implicit bias training to improve knowledge, understanding, and skills for serving priority populations.
- Providers are demographically representative of the communities they service to ensure programs and services are community-sensitive.
- Services and supports are trauma-informed, including using a holistic approach, promoting the dignity, strength, and empowerment of victims of trauma, and incorporating research-based practices.
How can you act on the State Plan?
This comprehensive plan requires a cross-sector response. It relies on collaborative efforts, leveraging community strengths and key partners, and engaging and empowering communities to achieve the goal and vision. All Ohioans, including state and local partners in both the public and private sectors, can implement the State Plan through one or more of these action steps:
- Align with and focus on one or more of the goals, outcomes, and/or priority populations identified in the State Plan.
- Advocate for funding and policy change to address the State Plan priorities.
- Fund evidence-informed strategies identified in Attachment E of the State Plan.
- Implement one or more of the evidence-informed strategies identified.
- Partner and collaborate within and across sectors to improve the State Plan outcomes.
- Evaluate progress on the State Plan objectives and the impact of the evidence-informed strategies.
How was the State Plan developed?
To inform the development of the plan, ODA conducted a multiphase needs assessment process, including an online survey of more than 1,200 older adults, adults with disabilities, and caregivers. The department also hosted a public hearing in March 2022 and three virtual stakeholder meetings to gather input from the public and to identify local priorities outlined by Ohio’s AAAs. The Ohio Advisory Council for Aging, the Health Policy Institute of Ohio, and several other aging network stakeholders also supported the development of the plan.