Foundation on Aging moving to address aging issues and opportunities in the community
Fort Collins, Colorado (March 23, 2010): The recent Larimer County Summit on Aging has set in motion a social marketing campaign to increase community planning and action to ensure “aging awareness” as the county’s senior population grows. The initial step in the campaign is the availability of Summit materials on the Foundation on Aging for Larimer County (FOA) website—audiovisual presentations, background information, and full PDFs of Summit presentations, which provide initial resources for meeting seniors’ health care, support services, housing, and transportation needs.
Those visiting the site at www.foundationonagingforlarimer.org/summit-on-aging-2010/summit-on-aging are encouraged to read, watch, learn, and add their voices to the online discussion and planning process. FOA President Bonnie Shetler, PhD, explains, “By contributing their knowledge and expertise to aging-ready solutions in Larimer County, online participants will build upon the January 22 Summit on Aging. The summit involved group breakout sessions, which engaged community leaders in brainstorming and discussing solutions to the aging-related challenges.” Community members’ and business leaders’ website input will help shape future phases of the social marketing campaign.
The online resources and discussion are focused on key issues that emerged during the Summit on Aging, during which representatives from a wide cross-section of the community cooperated to produce vision statements. These statements will serve as a basis for ongoing development and implementation of strategic solutions to aging challenges and opportunities. Specifically, Summit participants envisioned the following scenarios if Larimer County is to create a livable community in which seniors can be full participating members:
- Health care: Seniors will be aware of, will understand, and will have the financial resources to receive coordinated health care in a community that is both livable and healthy.
- Support services: Innovative solutions will ensure a respectful and “elder-friendly” community.
- Transportation: Safe, affordable, reliable transportation will allow seniors to remain connected to the community.
- Housing: Accessible community housing will allow seniors to “age in place” and to retain connections with people of all generations.
This cooperative approach to creating a livable community for people of every age is not only desirable, but necessary if Larimer County is to remain vital and meet all residents’ needs: Census data project a 54.3% growth in the 60+ population in Larimer County between 2000 and 2012. In addition, U.S. Census Bureau data project that the Colorado population aged 65 or older will more than double between 2000 and 2030—from 416,073 (9.7% of the population) to 956,278 (16.5%). This trend also means that all sectors of the community must be involved in finding and implementing solutions—which is the aim of the FOA social marketing campaign.
The FOA partners with the Larimer County Office on Aging (LCOOA)—an agency that conducts research, offers support, and advocates for seniors—to provide funding to allow the local service provider network to fill gaps in existing services and address seniors’ unmet needs. The FOA is a non-profit, 501c3 community organization. It was formed in 1986, when the number of older residents in Larimer County was growing every year, but federal and state funding was not keeping pace. Since then, FOA efforts have been twofold: to implement and administer an emergency support fund for older people whose needs are not met because of gaps in the existing service network, and to provide community education and increase awareness about aging issues.
For more information, please contact the FOA.
Bonnie Shetler, President
Foundation on Aging for Larimer County, Inc.
P.O. Box 288
Fort Collins, CO 80522