For Immediate Release
Sonoma County developing plan to address changes in older adult population, seeks steering committee members
Santa Rosa, CA | April 03, 2023
The County of Sonoma is seeking applicants to serve on a new committee that will shape its response to a major population shift that has dramatically expanded the number of older adults in the county.
The steering committee will provide input on the development of a local Strategic Aging Plan, which will align with the state’s 2021 Master Plan on Aging. The local plan will reflect the county’s unique needs and priorities based on the five goals established by the state: Housing for all Ages & Stages, Health Reimagined, Inclusion & Equity, Caregiving that Works, and Affording Aging.
“This plan will provide a compass for the county to follow as we seek to prioritize and address the needs of our community as we age,” said Supervisor Chris Coursey, chair of the Board of Supervisors. “Developing a Strategic Aging Plan will set up Sonoma County to make the right funding and resource decisions while providing a report for other agencies to reference.”
The number of people in Sonoma County age 60 or older grew 22 percent over the last decade even as the county’s overall population declined by 3 percent, according to the county Economic Development Board. Today, Sonoma County is home to approximately 139,000 people age 60 or older, a group that now comprises 28 percent of the county’s population. While the county’s overall population is expected to continue shrinking over the next decade, people age 60 and older will account for a larger share of the population as it ages, surpassing 30 percent of the county’s population by 2033, EDB projections show.
“Aging is something that we should all be celebrating. Having a plan for how to better meet the needs of this growing population is important to assist people to live in their homes for as long as possible,” said Paul Dunaway, director of Sonoma County Human Services Department’s Adult & Aging Division.
The county’s Aging Together leadership team is seeking 15 applicants to serve on a steering committee that will meet monthly with a consultant over the next 10 months to provide guidance during the creation of a local Strategic Plan on Aging. Applications are due by April 21. To apply, visit www.sonomacounty.ca.gov/health-and-human-services/human-services/boa
Gov. Gavin Newsom released the California Master Plan for Aging in January 2021, outlining five goals and 23 strategies that serve as a blueprint for aging across the lifespan. The plan includes strategies to help older adults age-in-place as independently as possible and to prepare younger generations to live longer than their elders. It seeks to create communities where people of all ages and abilities are engaged, valued and afforded equitable opportunities.
Kristen Font, Communications Specialist
Sonoma County Human Services Department