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Syracuse first stop for state's feedback tour on aging plan

 A white female stands behind a podium.
Ashley Kang
Crystal Collette, the assistant director of special projects for the New York State Office for the Aging, speaks to local representatives of senior care service providers on the state's four-year plan on aging at the Oasis office in East Syracuse on May 22, 2023.

Central New York is the kickoff site for a statewide effort to better support older New Yorkers as officials are seeking the public’s help on an aging plan due later this year. 

Housing, in-home support and digital literacy are some of the top areas of concern among local community members—more than three dozen seniors and advocates turned out to voice their thoughts at a state-led presentation in East Syracuse.

Crystal Collette, assistant director of special projects at the New York State Office of the Aging, said the meeting is the first of several across the state to gather feedback for the office's four-year plan

“That is our set of goals that we lay out for the federal government about what we're going to focus on for the next four years to serve older New Yorkers," she said.


The office’s 95-page draft plan includes a focus on expanding home and community-based services to help people age in their homes longer, improving support for caregivers, aiding recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and boosting equity.


Onondaga County Office for the Aging Commissioner JoAnne Spoto Decker said the plan aims to better inform seniors about existing services and enhance their digital literacy skills to make some resources more accessible.  


“Utilizing resources in the community," she began, "it's that public private partnership. So those are really core foundations of the plan. But this plan ... it's future focused. It's technology focused. It's responding to every community member. So I'm excited about that.”


To gain feedback on the four-year draft plan, seven more public input session will be held across the state. The goal, is to hear concerns and suggestions to better serve New York's seniors, as well as those soon to enter that stage of life. By 2030, three dozen New York counties will have almost a third of their population aged 60 or older.  

Tarryn Mento is an award-winning digital, audio and video journalist with experience reporting from Arizona, Southern California, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic. Tarryn produces in-depth and investigative content for WAER while overseeing the station's student reporter experience. She is also an adjunct professor at Syracuse University.