California Health and Human Services (CHHS) Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly has announced the appointment of Mercedes Kerr, President of Belmont Village Senior Living, to a newly established Stakeholder Advisory Committee. The diverse committee, formed in response to Governor Gavin Newsom’s call for the creation of a Master Plan for Aging, includes 34 experts across public, private and non-profit health, research, social service, and long-term care sectors. The call comes in anticipation of the unprecedented growth projected for the over-60 population segment in California across the next decade.
“The Master Plan for Aging is a vital next step toward protecting and enhancing quality of life for our older adults. I’m honored to be a part of this initiative and to benefit from the perspectives and experiences of this dedicated group,” said Kerr. “As both a long-term care provider and a Californian, our rapidly expanding older population has been a priority throughout my career. This project goes hand-in-hand with the work we do every day at Belmont Village and is very close to my heart.”
Because of lower birth rates and increased longevity, the 60+ population is expected to grow three times as fast as the total population in the state. California’s over-65 population is projected to be 8.6 million by 2030, an increase of 4 million – one in five Californians will be 65 or older. While this growth will create economic and community opportunities, it also brings challenges, specifically in the healthcare, housing and long-term care arenas.
According the Executive Order issued by Governor Newsom, the Stakeholder Advisory Committee will advise the Cabinet Workgroup on Aging and will help develop components of the inclusive Master Plan. The plan, to be developed by October 1, 2020, will be a blueprint for state, local, private and philanthropic organizations to create strategies and partnerships that promote healthy aging and prepare the state for the demographic changes.
CHHP Secretary Ghaly has also announced the launch of Together We ENGAGE, a public engagement campaign created to give all Californians an opportunity to have a voice in developing the Master Plan. Those who want to participate can submit a pledge for action to share ideas and suggestions and sign-up for progress updates.
“This is our time to come together to build an age-friendly California,” said Ghaly. “The Governor has charged us to work across sectors to develop a roadmap that envisions a future where all Californians, regardless of race, economic status or level of support, can grow old safely, with dignity and independence.”
ABOUT MERCEDES KERR
Mercedes Kerr is a well-recognized health care and real estate professional with 20+ years of experience in the seniors housing sector. Prior to joining Belmont Village as President in 2019, she was Executive Vice President of Business Development at Welltower, Inc., where she worked for more than a decade to establish enduring healthcare partnerships to build innovative, wellness-focused care delivery. Prior to that, Ms. Kerr was Vice President of Acquisitions at HCP, Inc. for nearly 10 years. She has served on the boards of leading national and state organizations dedicated to setting policy and standards for seniors housing and care. Mrs. Kerr graduated with honors from the Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara and holds a Master of Real Estate Development degree from the University of Southern California.