Health and Wellness
For a lot of older people, good, affordable health care is the number one priority. This is not surprising: age increases the risk of chronic and acute conditions, which can limit the ability for self-care and independence. Unfortunately, various barriers exist to good health care for the elderly. These range from a lack of transportation to doctor’s appointments and pharmacies, to inaccessible hospitals, to financial constraints – such as increasing health care costs, limits on Medicare payments to physicians, and managed care restrictions.
Communities can help, by offering transportation to and from health care facilities, health education, free or reduced-cost health screenings, and preventive care options. This approach requires a coordinated effort to include community volunteers who can step in to meet some key needs, such as providing transportation.
The Health and Wellness priority group decided to focus on walking for its first self-directed volunteer team (SDVT). This team developed and implemented a survey asking about barriers to walking in Larimer County. Over 300 survey responses were received. You can view or download their final report here.
Loveland Walk Audit in September: A report to the community was presented on January 27 at 5:30 at the Rialto Theatre in Loveland. On September 29th, a walking audit was held in downtown Loveland, Colorado - assessing for ease of walking, accessibility and safety. Mayor Cecil Gutierrez joined the walk, along with transportation planners and local citizens. In the evening, there was a community report of the day’s events and insights, with commitment from several community members to work with the Downtown Development Authority to further communicate and discuss possible action plans to improve the Loveland community, downtown and into adjoining communities. A full report from the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute (WALC) is now available. Click here to read or download.
A focus on Dementia Friendly Communities began in December 2015. The Health and Wellness priority group established its third self-directed volunteer team to work with the Dementia Friendly Communities initiative to launch its programs in 2016. See the December 4, 2015 article on page C-1 of the Fort Collins Coloradoan for more on this initiative. You can also check out the Dementia Friendly Communities website. Their goals for 2016 consisted of providing dementia friendly training for 30 businesses in Larimer County, establishing Memory Cafes, building and enhancing a website and supporting the B sharp program in Fort Collins. A successful 2016 ended with a celebration on November 30 of their accomplishments so far at the Lodge at MacKenzie Place. They will continue on with their programs in 2017 and beyond.
Beginning in 2017, our next SDVT addressing Resource Connections will begin a project funded by a mini-grant from HDFS - CSU Extension.
Overview from the grant application:
Many aging-related community services are available for seniors in Larimer County. Yet older adults and their family members often do not know where to turn when a critical need or crisis arises. We propose piloting a coordinated, county-wide effort to help connect residents to aging-related resources. The Access Points project will convene a coalition of experts and community members to identify strategies for building a county-wide awareness campaign. We will pilot a “boots on the ground” initiative pairing senior volunteers with CSU gerontology students to further outreach and education efforts.
Members: Deborah Bayliss, Crystal Bloeman, Allyson Brothers, Myles Crane, Manfred Diehl, Don Gaymon, Kelly Haworth, Diane Horak, Patricia Housley, John Kemp, David Lehman, Sue Schneider, Bill Swalling, Jill Taylor