New Hampshire passed a law last week forming a commission to advocate for the needs of its aging population. The Granite State has the second oldest population in the country, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Previously, the main voice for elderly residents in government was a small committee in the Department of Health and Human Services, composed mostly of volunteers.
Doug McNutt, the Associate State Director of Advocacy at AARP New Hampshire, a key player in drafting the bill, says the committee didn’t get the support it needed.
“We are not adapting to the issues that will help people age, including work longer, different types of housing," said McNutt. "All those sorts of things, I think we need to do a better job.”
The new commission is replacing the DHHS committee. It will now add representatives from seven state agencies and a full-time director to better support the group’s efforts.
McNutt says the job of the commission is to bring certain issues to the attention of lawmakers.
“I hope that we’ll look at things like how do we keep people in their homes and communities, how do we create a more inviting workforce… come up with some new ideas on housing,” said McNutt.