SALINAS VALLEY — Alliance on Aging (AOA) has received a $200,000 grant from the California Department of Aging to develop a local age-friendly action plan for Monterey County, focusing on the Salinas Valley.
The 21-month-long grant — one of 15 awarded across the state — enables AOA, in collaboration with other agencies and organizations, to create a consumer driven blueprint for an action plan addressing the social, medical, transportation, housing and financial needs unique to the Hispanic senior and disabled populations living in the agricultural areas of Monterey County.
The plan also includes families and other caregivers in the planning process and focuses on communities made up of people with lower incomes.
“This is an exciting opportunity for Alliance on Aging to lead this effort to create an action plan that improves the livability of our communities for older adults and people with disabilities,” said John McPherson, executive director of Alliance on Aging.
With the grant, AOA will form an Advisory Committee that will use the California Master Plan for Aging as a guide, focusing on housing, health care, inclusion and equity, caregiving and affordability. The Advisory Committee will include stakeholders and representatives from housing, healthcare, transportation, senior service, education, the faith community, the farmworker community, government and business sectors, and seniors and consumers with lived experience.
After forming the Advisory Committee, AOA will plan the method to conduct a community assessment, identifying target groups and considering tools to be used. The agency will also work to secure the cooperation of local organizations/community leaders, then conduct a community assessment and analyze the results.
The Advisory Committee will use the results to set priorities and goals to be accomplished. AOA will then develop plans to address the identified needs/deficits, in line with its goals and priorities.
The final plan will be approved by both the Advisory Committee and the local jurisdictions that comprise the Salinas Valley. The final plan will be presented to the Monterey County Area Agency on Aging’s Advisory Council and the local Aging and Disabilities Resource Connection (ADRC), with a recommendation that it be adopted and added as a regular agenda item to revisit and review.
AOA has a 52-year history of working on behalf of older adults and the disabled population in Monterey County. It started with a small group wanting to help seniors age safely in their homes with quality of life and dignity. That single program has grown to be the largest non-profit agency serving Monterey County’s older adult and disabled population. AOA has offices in Monterey and Salinas, and outreach to the other areas of the county.
AOA won’t be implementing, evaluating or sustaining the local plan by itself. By using the local playbook as a model, and by securing participation in the entire process used to develop the plan, AOA’s partners will also be interested in the implementation of the local plan and sustaining it.
The goal is for the local plan to be integrated into planning at all levels of organizations, whether they be governments, agencies or businesses.
AOA’s local plan is funded under the Local Aging and Disability Action Planning (LADAP) grant program from the California Department of Aging. The grant program’s goal is to improve community livability and address the current, emerging and future needs of California’s older adults, people with disabilities, and caregivers through cross-sector collaboration and transformational systems change.