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NH State Plan on Aging – On Track to Advance NH as an Age-Friendly State!
The NH State Plan on Aging (SPOA) Adobe Acrobat Reader Symbol was approved by NH State leadership in late June and has been submitted to the Federal Administration for Community Living for approval. Before submission to the federal government, the SPOA received signatures of approval from Governor Chris Sununu, DHHS Commissioner Jeffrey Meyers, and NH Legislative State Committee on Aging Chair Ken Berlin.

The SPOA represents a 10-month planning process, coordinated through the NH Bureau of Elderly and Adult Services (BEAS), Department of Health and Human Services, and managed by the NH SPOA Planning Committee, a diverse group of over 30 statewide leaders from the aging service delivery network. The goal of the SPOA Committee was to “develop a four-year plan that helps to guide our state’s efforts in understanding, serving, supporting and celebrating older adults across the state.” The SPOA Committee worked closely with the BEAS Executive Team and the NH Legislative State Committee on Aging (SCOA) on the development of a 29-question survey, and the coordination of 15 community listening sessions. This outreach campaign engaged over 3,500 individuals from a broad array of people in the community - an amazing participation count from older adults, caregivers and family members across New Hampshire – all helping to inform the development of the SPOA. "This is an exciting time for staff in the Bureau and our partners, said Bureau Chief Wendi Aultman of the Bureau of Elderly and Adult Services. “It solidifies months of hard work, and we applaud the collaboration that took place across our state to make this happen.”

The four-year SPOA period is October 1, 2019 through September 30, 2023, and represents an annual budget of approximately $23 million in support of programs that deliver services and supports to tens of thousands of older people, caregivers and family members across the Granite State.

The population of older people in NH is growing and changing rapidly. The aging service delivery system across NH is working hard to respond to and plan for these changes. By the year 2030, it is estimated that over one-third of NH’s population will be over 65 years of age. The increasing number and percentage of older people in the state presents significant challenges and opportunities for State leadership, service providers, community organizers and the aging population to come together to address these issues.

The NH Governor and Legislature has approved a Commission on Aging (COA), which transforms the existing State Committee on Aging (SCOA). The COA builds on the 30-year history of SCOA in advocating for solutions for older adults, while expanding its outreach beyond DHHS. The creation of COA represents an unprecedented opportunity to inform and elevate what has already been accomplished and what is still needed for healthy aging in NH. The Commission includes older adult representation from NH’s ten counties, representation from DHHS and other State agencies, and would report directly to the Governor’s Office, thus providing a stronger voice for older people in NH. Per legislation, the COA will also assist in the implementation of the SPOA.

DHHS would like to acknowledge SCOA for its advocacy and support to older adults over the last 30 years, and applaud their leadership, collaboration and positive spirit in helping to move the work of the State Plan forward.

The SPOA provides core foundation programs of the OAA to older people, caregivers and their families in NH. In addition, the SPOA has identified the following “sustainment and improvement” goals within the State Plan:

  1. Support older people to stay active and healthy;
  2. Promote person-centered thinking and practices;
  3. Ensure the rights, safety, independence and dignity of older people and prevent their abuse, neglect and exploitation; and
  4. Advance age-friendly communities.

BEAS is honored and pleased to present the 2020 – 2023 New Hampshire State Plan on Aging, pending federal approval. This State Plan addresses the opportunity to align, change and strengthen the work of BEAS within the service delivery system across the state, as well as the opportunity to transform how we collaborate with others to accomplish these goals. This State Plan will serve as a roadmap to address BEAS’ continuing planning efforts and strategies to further advance NH’s system of community based long-term care services.

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