Greg Olsen is the acting director of the New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA). In this role, he is responsible for the administration of federal and state funded programs that assist more that 4.3 million older adults and 4 million informal caregivers across New York State. Working with public and private partners at the state and local level, Greg is leading the effort to rebrand what aging in New York looks like. Rather than approach aging from the deficit perspective embedded in US culture that depicts older adults as not valuable and a drain on resources, he has aggregated data countering this false narrative that clearly demonstrates older adults’ social, intellectual, and economic capital to their families, their communities, and the state.
Some of his key accomplishments over more than two decades in the field of aging include starting Livable New York in 2005, the pre-curser to age-friendly communities; helping New York State receive AARP/WHO designation as the first age friendly state in 2017; implementing a grant program to expand age-friendly communities across the state; developing a business acumen project to help the aging services network partner with health systems to expand access to home and community services; leading New York State in the expansion of Enhanced Multidisciplinary Teams to address elder abuse and neglect; testing a variety of innovative projects supporting aging in place, combating social isolation, meeting the needs of older adults and their families; and much more.
Prior to joining NYSOFA, Greg served as chief of staff and legislative and policy director for Assemblyman Steve Englebright, former chair of the Assembly Standing Committee on Aging. Before that, he was executive director of the New York State Alliance for Retired Americans, a union supported organization representing hundreds of thousands of union retirees. He also served as executive director of the New York State Coalition for the Aging, a nonprofit membership organization representing over 200 community-based organizations providing non-medical long-term care to the state’s older adult population.
He received his master’s degree in social work with a specialty in gerontology from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School.