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Home Sweet Home: Value of Keeping Older Coloradans in Their Homes

PHOTO: Brothers Redevelopment offers help in retrofitting the homes of older Coloradans so they can remain at home longer. Photo courtesy: Brothers Redevelopment
PHOTO: Brothers Redevelopment offers help in retrofitting the homes of older Coloradans so they can remain at home longer. Photo courtesy: Brothers Redevelopment
August 14, 2014

DENVER – More than 16,000 Coloradans reside in the more than 200 nursing homes across the state.

For many, it's their only option, but this week a group of housing and aging specialists is participating in a summit to develop more affordable housing options for older Coloradans.

Jeff Martinez is president of Brother's Redevelopment in Edgewater, an organization that provides affordable housing and also helps modify homes to maintain the freedom of people as they age.

"Folks don't want to move out of the home, they want to stay in their home,” he maintains. “They're more comfortable. They feel better about being in their home. They're healthier when they can stay in their home."

Martinez and others are touring several affordable housing options today for older Coloradans.

According to AARP, the average annual cost of nursing home care in Colorado is $78,000, while it costs an estimated $20,000 to $30,000 to keep the individual in his or her home.

Ann Norton is an attorney in Golden and also a member of the AARP National Policy Council.

With waiting lists for housing upwards of two years in some places, the organization is concerned about the lack of affordable housing available to people as they age.

Norton is part of the group touring existing housing programs in the Denver area today.

"We're here to learn what folks in Colorado, particularly the Denver region, are doing to address this important issue," she explains.

In addition to providing modified and affordable housing for the state's aging population, Brothers Redevelopment also provides companion services to check in on older populations.

Martinez says his organization accomplishes more than just keeping seniors company.

"You're connecting them to the broader community,” he points out. “You're having someone come into their home and really identify what needs they have and matching them with resources that might exist in the community to help them. "

Improved public transportation also is recommended as a way to maintain the freedom of individuals as they age.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - CO