LA County Takes Steps to Create New Department Dedicated to Older Adults and Adults with Disabilities

Los Angeles, CA—Today, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted to take the first steps toward creating a new County department dedicated to serving older adults and adults with disabilities.

“Right now – older adults and adults with disabilities are served by most if not all of our County departments,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn, who authored the proposal. “All of these efforts are important, but they are fragmented and there’s not enough coordination. Bringing these efforts under one roof will not only allow us to coordinate our work, it would also give us the ability to be proactive rather than reactive to address the needs of older adults and adults with disabilities alike.”

Last year, Supervisors Janice Hahn and Sheila Kuehl proposed creating a new department dedicated to serving older adults and asked for a report exploring the merits and feasibility of this idea. The report, written by Dr. Kathleen Wilbur, determined that a department for older adults is not only recommended, but necessary to properly serving this population.  In addition, the report recognized the overlap between the services the County provides to older adults and to adults with disabilities and recommended creating a new department that serves both populations.

“I am very happy to strongly support having LA County centralize and greatly strengthen the critical systems needed for older County residents to thrive,” said Supervisor Kuehl, who co-authored the motion. “Between 2010 and 2030, our older adult population will double. A standalone department of aging may be the best way to ensure the health and well-being of our current and future older adult populations.”

Los Angeles County’s population of older adults over the age of 60 is already larger than the older adult population of 41 states and is expected to double between 2010 and 2030, from roughly 1.8 million to nearly 3.6 million.

The Board passed a motion authored by Supervisors Janice Hahn and Sheila Kuehl directing the County CEO’s office to take the initial steps necessary to prepare for creating this new department, including developing a budget and funding structure, and report back to the board in 180 days. The County will also create a Leadership Council to coordinate the transition process and improve coordination of the many County departments that serve both older adults and adults with disabilities.

Supervisor Hahn noted during the meeting that amid the pandemic, Los Angeles County does not have the resources to create a new department at this time. However, she noted the importance of starting this groundwork so that when the time is right the County can move quickly to get this department up and running.