As with many states, the senior population in Colorado is increasing rapidly, with the 65+ population expected to increase from 9.7 percent in 2000 to nearly 17 percent by 2030. The Colorado Department of Human Services completed this four-year state plan on aging, in compliance with the Older Americans Act, to effectively and efficiently understand and respond to the needs of Colorado’s older adult population.
Colorado’s prioritizes meeting the needs of the growing senior population through access to health care, resulting in reduced risk of disability, support for older adults to remain at home in their communities, and access to meaningful and rewarding work that supports living with dignity. But while they understand the importance of providing necessary services and support, there is little information provided in the plan regarding the demographics of the older Colorado population, and how the plan specifically meets this population’s needs.
Regardless, some key findings to note include:
- Many adults 65+ continue to work after they are able to retire, and desire to do so, which highlights the need for meaningful and rewarding work for these older adults.
- Cancer and cardiovascular disease took the lives of 13,000 Coloradans in 2008, which is something that early detection, prevention and access to affordable health care could help to prevent.
- It is estimated that around 70 percent of Coloradans will require some sort of long-term care during their lifetime. On average, Colorado spends $35,000 annually in support of older adults in nursing homes, but only $9,000 in support of older adults with supportive needs in a community-based setting.
How to Use
Like most state plans, this sets forth goals and outcomes everyone can agree upon: an integrated and coordinated system of care, accessible housing options and nutritional resources, public and private transportation for individuals unable to operate a personal vehicle, and access to supportive services that allow older adults to age in place. However, there is little statistical information to prioritize or even support these needs. Having said that, the plan document itself contains a good listing for local planners seeking additional program resources.
View full report: Colorado State Plan on Aging – 2011-2015 (PDF – 1 MB)