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Colorado Planning to Lead Nation on Support for Aging

Colorado's Strategic Action Planning Group on Aging is developing a plan to address areas impacted by a growing senior population by November 2016. Credit: Georgia Department of Human Services.
Colorado's Strategic Action Planning Group on Aging is developing a plan to address areas impacted by a growing senior population by November 2016. Credit: Georgia Department of Human Services.
October 20, 2015

DENVER – Colorado, which boasts one of the fastest-growing aging populations in the U.S., is stepping up efforts to support seniors.

The Strategic Action Planning Group on Aging, created in the last legislative session, is projecting the impacts of shifting demographics on everything from health care, housing, roads and the job market.

Kelli Fritts with AARP Colorado is hopeful the group's efforts will make the state one of the best in the nation for people to spend their "golden years."

"If you want to stay in your home or you want to stay in your community, which most people tell us that's what they want, you should have that option," she says. "What can we do in this state to make that easier? Why can't Colorado be the leader in aging?"

Fritts says the 65-plus population in Colorado is expected to grow from just over 500,000 in 2010 to more than 1.2 million by 2030. She says the commission's charge is to collect data and create a strategic vision for Colorado on all aspects of aging by November of next year.

She adds that the report won't just end up sitting on a shelf, noting the commission will continue working to help implement, evaluate and update the strategy.

Bob Semro with the Bell Policy Center says there's not one single issue that has a broader impact on the state than the aging of the population. With the Baby Boomer generation getting older, he says the impact on the economy and state revenue will be huge.

"Most people don't like to think about aging," he says. "We have Baby Boomers who are now taking care of their parents. They're suddenly thinking that, 'Wow, I have to deal with some of this stuff.' It's only by knowing what those challenges are, by getting into some of the details, can you really prepare."

Semro notes Colorado's strategic planning process is the only effort in the U.S. that looks at aging as far out as 2030. He says solutions might not be easy or cheap, but the more time there is to understand the challenges and make plans, the better the opportunity to create a strategy that works for all Coloradans.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO