As the Indiana General Assembly has convened to discuss many important concerns, few are as vital and universal in nature as the availability of quality, affordable, robust and reliable services for aging Hoosiers. Every time I meet someone new and they learn who I represent, they always feel prompted to share their personal story of a deeply loved someone who has needed support to manage a health care crisis, make a decision about long-term care or simply thrive in their own home and community as they age. Maybe it was their father or mother, their spouse, their sister or brother, a grandparent or beloved aunt or uncle. Universally, they all wished they had known about the support Indiana has to offer, and that more help had been available to meet their loved ones’ critical needs.

As such, IAAAA applauds Governor Holcomb for prioritizing the advancement of a multisector plan for aging in his 2024 Next Level Agenda. With a renewed focus on collaboration and diligence in identifying and overcoming barriers for aging Hoosiers, Indiana has ample opportunity to make significant progress that will enhance the quality of life of all Hoosiers.

Indiana is an aging state. According to Indiana Business Research Center, which produces Indiana’s official population projections, in just the 10 years between 2020 and 2030, Indiana’s population of older adults age 65+ will increase from 16.5% of the state’s total population to 20.1%, a total of 1.4 million Hoosiers. In the face of this significant increase and the human need it represents, IAAAA’s mission tasks us with identifying and remedying the unique challenges faced by aging Hoosiers—namely, accessing and maintaining comprehensive services and supports allowing them to age in their home and communities rather than in an institutionalized setting. For this reason, we are thrilled to support this crucial step in improving outcomes for older adults through a statewide multisector plan for aging.

The Center for Health Care Strategies, which provides assistance to states in creating and executing multisector plans for aging, defines the plan as a “a state-led, multi-year planning process that convenes cross-sector stakeholders to collaboratively address the needs of older adults and people with disabilities.” The high level of collaboration among state agencies, public officials and the private sector produces a plan for the future that wholly addresses the many challenges and opportunities faced by the aging population. The opportunity before us is historic, and all stakeholders must actively engage in the planning efforts to fully achieve the intended outcomes.

We know that a town, city, state or nation cannot meet its full potential unless all individuals, regardless of age, are thriving. Therefore, we look forward to working alongside other stakeholders to provide support and perspective as we collectively craft a brighter future for Indiana.