The Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) released the new Virginia State Plan for Aging Services, which examines current and future needs of older Virginians.
Developed every four years by DARS, this plan fulfills federal requirements to receive Older Americans Act funding through the Administration for Community Living and state law requiring a Virginia strategic aging plan. The plan is effective Oct. 1, 2023 to Sept. 30, 2027.
DARS’ multi-method approach included conducting a statewide needs assessment, engaging with stakeholders and soliciting public comment.
DARS conducted the Community Assessment Survey for Older Adults, hearing from almost 9,000 older Virginians about their needs and preferences.
“The Commonwealth is committed to elevating aging services and this plan equips us with the priorities and resources needed to make Virginia a great place to grow older,” said Secretary of Health and Human Resources John Littel.
“This comprehensive plan serves as a blueprint to enhance the lives of older Virginians so that they can comfortably age in their own homes and communities,” said DARS Commissioner Kathy Hayfield. “Serving as the backbone of the aging network, Virginia’s 25 area agencies on aging provide vital services, such as home-delivered meals, in-home services and caregiver supports. Last year, they served 69,000 Virginians. DARS is proud to uplift their work through this plan.”
Virginia Center on Aging at Virginia Commonwealth University held 31 in-person and virtual focus groups and interviews with older adults, caregivers, advocacy organizations, aging and long-term care service providers, universities and state agencies. The center also conducted an analysis on older Virginians needs as evidenced in state and national data, trends and reports.
The University of Virginia Weldon Cooper Center Demographics Research Group compiled demographic data on older adults to assist with updating the funding formula for area agencies on aging and to create a more robust depiction of older Virginians. With nearly two million adults aged 60 and older in Virginia, some emerging findings were:
To access the State Plan for Aging Services and related materials: https://vda.virginia.gov/stateplans.htm
To learn more about aging services in Virginia or to find your local area agency on aging: https://easyaccess.virginia.gov/ or www.dars.virginia.gov or call 2-1-1.