CONCORD, NH – New Hampshire’s State Plan on Aging (SPOA) has been approved by the Administration for Community Living (ACL) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The four-year plan, coordinated through the DHHS Bureau of Elderly and Adult Services (BEAS), is designed to develop and implement a comprehensive statewide system of long-term services and supports making person-centered care a priority.
The four-year SPOA period is October 1, 2023, through September 30, 2027, 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.
“New Hampshire’s State Plan on Aging will provide us with an opportunity to align and strengthen the work of BEAS within the service delivery system across the state, and transform how we collaborate with statewide partners to accomplish our goals. This plan will serve as a roadmap to move forward in our efforts and strategies to further advance the system of care for healthy aging in New Hampshire,” said BEAS Bureau Chief Wendi Aultman.
One stated goal is adjusting the language used around these initiatives, including the elimination of the word “elderly” from the state bureau’s title.
“One strategy the Bureau will explore in the first year of the State Plan will be to consider changing the name for the Bureau of Elderly & Adult Services (BEAS) to one that both reflects its ongoing commitment to understanding, serving, supporting, and celebrating older people and acknowledges the fact that names matter. Research suggests using inclusive language of aging – as all of us are aging every day – creates a greater willingness by people to support policies and programs we all need to thrive at every age. Unfortunately, evidence suggests words like “elderly” can evoke negative stereotypes and images of frailty, dependence, uselessness, and burden,” Aultman said.
The number of older adults is expected to increase rapidly in the next two decades. The Plan will support core foundation programs of the Older Americans Act to achieve several outcomes, including:
- Increased access to community-based supports and services that provide older adults and their families with help, guidance, support and choice;
- Increased availability of person-centered care and planning, regardless of where they access the system;
- Reduced risk of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of older adults, allowing them to live in safety and dignity;
- Programs and services designed to decrease the risk for loneliness and isolation; and
- Advancing age-friendly communities.
The plan takes effect on October 1, 2023, and will run through September 30, 2027. To read the full plan, click here.