By 2034, an estimated one in five residents of the state of California will be age 65 or older. While this won’t lead to a “silver tsunami” when it comes to a flood of housing inventory, the impacts of an aging population are difficult to ignore.
These shifting dynamics are causing the California state government to work to ensure that certain issues that can stem from such a demographic development — particularly for health care, housing and social services — are addressed in a comprehensive statewide initiative called the “Master Plan for Aging.”
An independent review from The Little Hoover Commission — established by the state government in 1962 to investigate its operations and offer policy recommendations — contains advice for how the program and its oversight can be improved. But the commission also offered high marks for the plan’s early implementation efforts.
“In the years since releasing the Master Plan, an enormous amount of work is well underway through hundreds of implementing initiatives,” said Pedro Nava, chair of the Little Hoover Commission, in a December letter. “The Commission applauds these early efforts by the Newsom Administration to drive progress, while recognizing that achieving the Master Plan’s vision will require sustained focus and commitment.”
There is still room for improvement in order to “strengthen forward momentum through improved oversight and accountability,” Nava explained.
First, clarifying leadership responsibilities within the program will help the plan endure through different administrations and budget cycles, the report explained. Ensuring that lawmakers can have “a seat at the table” for the plan’s policy discussions can also assist in this goal, Nava said.
The Little Hoover Commission recommended that “[a]rticulating a clear path forward, with milestone targets and metrics [will] help rally partners and hold leaders accountable for progress.”
The report also recommended that the plan “emphasize initiatives that directly benefit Californians,” which will help to illustrate the plan’s necessity.
“Given the major demographic changes taking place in the state, implementation should be conducted with an urgency not typical of government operations,” the report stated. “The Commission recommends future initiatives emphasize delivering results. It also suggests that the Implementation Tracker be updated to include categories for each initiative’s area of focus rather than producing separate reports containing these designations.”
California is one of six states with dedicated Master Plans for Aging. Others include Colorado, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York and Texas. Roughly 10 other states are mulling their own plans.
Even some cities in California, like Laguna Beach, are developing their own programs dedicated to aging-in-place initiatives.
California is the leading state in the country for reverse mortgage originations, according to data from Reverse Market Insight (RMI). According to January Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) endorsement data, 12 of the top 20 lenders in the space reported California as their leading state for business.