By Jan Wondra
Residents of Central Colorado who love where they live likely share a common goal; to grow old in a place they love. Central to that goal are support services to retain quality of life. Agencies such as Upper Arkansas Area Agency on Aging (UAAAA), senior programs created by Chaffee County Public Health and other non-profit organizations such as A Little Help and Sage Generation, are in place to support efforts to remain active and living where we want, as long as possible.
The influx of active seniors into the central Rocky Mountain counties, called a “silver tsunami,” has become a major economic driver. After a 2016 Community Health Assessment, Chaffee County created a five year (2017-2021) health plan with an entire segment focused on seniors.
“One in five Chaffee County residents is 65 or older, and by 2020 it will be one in four residents,” said Public Health Director Andrea Carlstrom. “We’re trying to position the county – the lead county in a four-county health coalition – for the future. We have Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center here, but we have an expanding need for senior support.”
In 2017, Chaffee County Public Health created Sassy Seniors, a free service led by public health nurse Sandra Morgan. Appointments can be made by calling 719-530-2563.
“It’s a free assessment program; we assess their home’s safety features, assess their health, offer immunizations, recommend home helpers for things they can no longer do, give them a tool kit for thriving at home,” said Carlstrom.
Carlstrom says plugging seniors into a senior network is important.