Knowing Our History

Knowing Our History, Listening to our Elders: 1900-2020

The Master Plan for Aging would not have been devised without the preceding decades of advocacy from aging and disability leaders across California. As part of the Master Plan, CDA developed a history of aging in California which chronicles the development of aging and disability services, from the early 1900s to today. This document was based on interviews with retired and long-serving leaders of California’s aging network, as well as data related to the history of independent living. While select aging and disability milestones can be found below, a comprehensive timeline can be found in the document.

2010 - present

  • The California Master Plan for Aging launched and implementation activities immediately followed.

  • Governor Gavin Newsom signed Executive Order N-14-19 calling for the development of the California Master Plan for Aging.

  • The California Aging and Disability Alliance (CADA), formerly referred to as the LTSS Exploratory Coalition, began meeting and incorporated a year later.

    • Administration for Community Living (ACL) Caregiver Task Force on Family Caregiving established.

    • Reframing Aging Initiative and Reframing Elder Abuse initiatives launched.

    • AARP’s California Livable Communities Program initiated.

    • Senate Select Committee on Aging and Long-Term Care established.

    • Administration for Community Living (ACL) created.

    • California’s Coordinated Care Initiative (CCI) established.

  • California State Plan for Alzheimer’s Disease released.

  • The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed into law.

2000 - 2009

  • The California Elder Justice Coalition (CEJC) launched.

    • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention established the Healthy Brain Initiative (HBI).

    • The California Aging and Disability Alliance (CADA), formerly referred to as the LTSS Exploratory Coalition, began meeting and incorporated a year later.

  • The Money Follows the Person (MFP) program authorized.

    • Olmstead Advisory Committee established.

    • Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) initiative launched.

  • The Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act, also called the Medicare Modernization Act (MMA) enacted.

    • National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP) established.

    • The Assisted Living Waiver Program (ALWP) created.

1990 - 1999

  • Via the Olmstead Decision, the United States Supreme Court held that people with disabilities have a qualified right to receive state funded supports and services in the community rather than institutions.

  • The California State Independent Living Council (SILC) established as an independent California state agency.

  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) established a clear and comprehensive prohibition of discrimination on the basis of disability.

1980 - 1989

  • Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 created guidelines for long-term care nursing homes that received federal Medicaid and Medicare funding.

  • The Nursing Home Patients Protection Act (NHPPA) signed into law.
    • California Alzheimer's Disease Centers (CADC) established.
    • The statewide network of Caregiver Resource Centers (CRC) established.
  • California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR) signed into law.
  • The National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) founded.

  • Reauthorization of the Older American Act.
  • Formation of the Family Caregiver Alliance.
  • Senator Mello requested the CCoA convene a session of the Silver-Haired Legislature, a forum through which older Californians could develop their legislative priorities. In 1982, the Silver-Haired Legislature became the California Senior Legislature (CSL).

1970 - 1979

    • California Long-Term Care Ombudsman Association (CLTCOA) formed.
    • Services & Advocacy for LGBT Elders (SAGE), a national advocacy and service organization to support LGBT elder issues, founded.
  • Governor Jerry Brown designated Disability Rights California (DRC), then known as Protection & Advocacy, Inc., as the organization within California to advocate for the rights of people with developmental disabilities.

  • The Multipurpose Senior Services Project (MSSP) was legislatively authorized as a federal four-year research and demonstration project.

  • Adult Protective Services (APS) was authorized under Title XX of the Social Security Act.

    • On Lok Demonstration Project (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly/PACE) was authorized under Medicare.
    • The Burton Act for Aging assigned policy making and administrative responsibility for the federal OAA programs and funding to a new State Office on Aging.
    • The federal OAA Comprehensive Services Amendments of 1973 significantly expanded the development of California’s service system for older adults.
    • The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was signed giving protection to people with disabilities.
  • University of California at Berkeley students and community members formed The Center for Independent Living (TheCIL), the first independent living center in the nation.

  • The Assembly Committee on Aging and Long-Term Care was established.

  • The Homemaker Chore Program was added to the Attendant Care Program to provide personal care services.

  • The Gray Panthers were founded in 1970 by Maggie Kuhn in response to her forced retirement at the age of 65.

1960 - 1969

  • Foster Grandparent (FG) and Retired Senior Volunteer Programs established.

  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 forbids employment discrimination against anyone at least 40 years of age in the United States.

  • California Commission on Aging (CCoA) was established within the Health and Human Welfare Agency as the designated State Unit on Aging to receive OAA funds (AB166).

  • President Lyndon Johnson signed the Social Security Act amendments establishing both Medicare and Medicaid and creating the Older Americans Act.

  • The Older Americans Act (OAA) set in motion the creation of the federal aging network.

  • The California Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) was established.

  • The first White House Conference on Aging (WHCoA) was held in Washington D.C.

1900 - 1959

  • California’s first Governor's Conference on Aging convened and created a Citizens’ Advisory Committee on Aging.

  • California established the Attendant Care Program to enable income eligible adults with a disability, who require assistance to remain safely in their own homes.

  • In 1935, the Social Security Act was signed into law by President Roosevelt.

  • The Association of California’s Executives of Public Welfare was established. The name was changed to the County Welfare Directors Association (CWDA) in 1943.

  • First senior center in California was founded by the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles. The center is now operated by St. Barnabas Senior Services.

  • The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) began as a six-member Board of Charities and Corrections.