Larimer County is projected to have 20% of it population over the age of 60 by 2020, compared to 13% for the rest of Colorado. By that time, the number of seniors 75 years of age and above will have grown 48%. In addition, the U.S. Census Bureau reports the number of seniors living in poverty in Larimer County is growing 83 times faster than the nation. In an environment of Medicare and Medicaid funding cuts, re-prioritization of Larimer County United Way projects away from seniors' services and, in general, diminished grant aid availability, there will be a collision between seniors' needs and available resources in our county. This extends into health care, support services, housing, transportation, nutrition, and many other basic needs of seniors.
OUR VISION AND MISSION
The Foundation on Aging (FOA) intends to play a key role in addressing this problem. Our vision is to have seniors in Larimer County live and age well in a community that meets their changing needs. Our mission is to make the community aware of the identified challenges facing our senior residents and facilitate solutions to address those challenges.
HOW DOES FOA HELP?
The FOA has a track record dating back to 1986 of extending small emergency grants to seniors who have a short term situation that could turn catastrophic if not addressed. We respond quickly and with minimal paperwork to resolve the problem. Grant recipients have encountered a variety of challenges including:
- A boiler going out in the dead of winter with no financial means beyond a small fixed income to repair it
- An immediate need for an essential prescription while waiting to qualify for a routine assistance program
- Broken eye glasses without the means to afford their repair
- A necessary move incurring unexpected first and last month's rent plus deposit up front
FOA has a track record of building awareness of community based problems and facilitating solutions to them. Currently we are:
- Working with multiple organizations who provide case management services with the intention of developing a collaborative process for providing access to those services to all seniors who could benefit from them.
- Planning a community awareness program that will educate Larimer County residents about the risks and challenges faced by frail seniors and how to connect them with appropriate services.
- Collaborating with an inter-agency group that is reviewing local transportation systems and pursuing solutions that better address the transportation needs of seniors
WHY THE COMMUNITY SHOULD CARE
Larimer County is a multi-generational community with our senior population growing at a faster rate than in the past. Almost 20% of our residents are over 60 years of age and that percentage will continue to grow. Those seniors may be our parents, our friends, or even ourselves. We all want to live and age in a community that can respond to our changing needs in ways that help us remain independent and productive members of the community. We must start now to anticipate those needs and to implement solutions that recognize the challenges of aging and at the same time acknowledge the financial and social value of a physically and emotionally healthy senior community.
WHAT FOA NEEDS TO FULFILL ITS MISSION
To build awareness, FOA needs tools that can inform the community about senior needs, available resources to meet those needs, and additional services necessary to address those needs more effectively. Specifically we need to:
- develop educational videos
- enhance our website
- develop multiple informational brochures and materials
- develop and support community awareness events
- meet and consult with community groups and stakeholders
- provide the means for ongoing collaboration among organizations with complementary goals
- continue FOA emergency grants program to meet emergency needs
In order to achieve all of this, we need funds to support:
- training for presenters and speakers
- consultation from experts familiar with best practices developed in other communities
- community-wide educational events
- multi-media educational tools
- emergency grants
- meeting and presentation supplies
- Salaries for administrative support and organizational leadership
If we can make a difference by building better solutions for tomorrow, we will not only improve the quality of life and health for our community and its senior residents, we will also help reduce costs associated with providing services to those who are isolated, frail, and impoverished.