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Colorado's Strategic Plan for Aging Advances

A new plan to prepare for an aging population hopes to harness years of work experience of older Coloradans who want to volunteer or need to remain active in the workforce for financial reasons. (Pixabay)
A new plan to prepare for an aging population hopes to harness years of work experience of older Coloradans who want to volunteer or need to remain active in the workforce for financial reasons. (Pixabay)
February 25, 2019

DENVER – By 2030, one quarter of Colorado's population will be age 60 or older, and a report released this month lays out a road map for navigating this dramatic shift in demographics.

Christian Itin, chairman of the state’s Strategic Action Planning Group on Aging, says every aspect of our lives as a community is impacted as Coloradans live longer, including transportation and mobility, recreation, health care and housing.

"So there are opportunities and there are challenges that are presented,” he states. “There's a desire for individuals aging to age in their communities, which means we need to think about how do we support older Coloradans."

Itin says health and wellness are big priorities, in part because costs can skyrocket quickly as people near the end of their lives, and funds for long-term care through programs such as Medicaid are limited.

He says investment in wellness programs, to keep people healthy and living independently longer, improves quality of life and also can save money.

The planning group's statewide strategy hopes to build upon age-friendly successes already at work in Arapahoe, Boulder, Eagle, Jefferson, Larimer and Pitkin counties.

Ikin notes that people tend to view aging as a problem, but he says there also are significant advantages, particularly for older Coloradans who want to volunteer, or need to remain active in the workforce for financial reasons.

"Using the wealth and wisdom that comes with years of experience engaged in the workforce to increase our opportunities of serving different populations in different ways," he points out.

The planning group was created in 2015 by the state legislature, and its initial recommendations included protecting seniors from abuse and exploitation, helping more Coloradans save for retirement, and supporting caregivers.

Itin says the new report takes a deeper dive into concrete ways for multiple stakeholders, including state and federal agencies, and the private sector to reach out and work together to build systemic solutions.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO