Colorado's Strategic Plan on Aging Coming Together
DENVER – By 2030, one in four Coloradans will be age 60 or older, and the state is bracing for housing, health care, transportation and other challenges. In 2015, the Colorado Legislature created the Strategic Action Planning Group on Aging, and the team is working to meet its November deadline.
Jim Riesberg, the group's executive committee chair, said the assignment is more complicated than turning in a 'book report' on the situation facing seniors in the state.
"We're supposed to make specific recommendations on things that we think need to be accomplished – some legislatively, some by state department, some by business – in order to begin to meet the challenge and be ready," he said.
Twenty-three people were appointed to the committee by Gov. John Hickenlooper. Five came from state agencies; the rest are public representatives from across the state.
Kelli Fritts, associate state director for advocacy with AARP Colorado, noted that changing demographics also will create new opportunities for employment and economic development, and the report's recommendations will impact more than just seniors in the state.
"You're younger now, but pretty soon you're going to be older, and your perspective is going to change – and most likely you're going to still want to live in this great state of Colorado," she said. "What can we do collectively to make it that great place, for now and in the future?"
Riesberg noted although the plan will be statewide, not all counties look the same. He said many rural areas lack services available in cities, and some counties are seeing younger people replacing seniors.
"We have some counties where the senior population is growing because they're good retirement communities," he added. "So, we can't have a cookie-cutter approach. We have to take these regional differences into consideration."
The committee's report will be submitted to the governor, the Legislature, regional and local governments, businesses, nonprofits and the general public for review. The action plan will be updated in 2018 and again in 2020.