Implementing “Purposeful Aging Los Angeles” to Better Serve Seniors
Los Angeles County is home to a vibrant and diverse group of more than 2 million residents aged 60 and older. By 2030, that number will approach 3 million, or 28 percent of the county population. To serve older residents, both the county and city of Los Angeles operate Area Agencies on Aging (AAA). These agencies developed Purposeful Aging Los Angeles (PALA), a coalition of county, city, and community partners working together to create an age-friendly community. For help aligning these services and programs, the L.A. County Department of Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services (WDACS) enlisted FUSE executive fellow Minoli Ratnatunga. She created a cohesive picture of the current and emerging needs of older Angelinos, providing a roadmap for how to best collaborate and offer services that will enable them to age well and live independently.
Minoli performed extensive research, which included surveying more than 1,000 older adults and 35 county and city service providers, as well as gathering information from numerous other stakeholders. Through her research, she identified acute areas of need for AAA support — including help with meals and navigating the complex benefits system — and emerging areas of need, such as housing. Her findings informed the L.A. County AAA’s 2020-2024 Area Plan, which targets needed programs and services for older adults, and helped the PALA working groups coordinate services, advocate for funding, and fill gaps where the AAAs alone cannot meet the needs of aging Angelinos. Continuing to support the PALA working groups, Minoli is helping with implementation plans and creating a report that captures the initiative’s progress. She is also working to recruit more cities in L.A. County to join the initiative, helping the county realize its vision of being a truly age-friendly community.