The Mission of Innovations in Aging Collaborative is to convene the community to promote creative approaches that address the challenges and opportunities of aging.
Innovations in Aging Collaborative (IIAC) was founded in 2009 by Barbara Yalich and BJ Scott who convened other community leaders interested in aging issues and the growing senior population in the Colorado Springs area. IIAC was initially supported by a $50,000 grant from Inasmuch Foundation working in collaboration with UCCS Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak, the CU Foundation, and the CU Aging Center and Gerontology Programs.
IAC became a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in December 2012 and formed its inaugural board of directors. Supported by another grant from Inasmuch Foundation and a new grant from the RNR Foundation, IIAC was able to hire its first executive director in January 2013, and the El Pomar Foundation generously provided free office space for IIAC at Columbine Cottage on the Penrose House campus.
In April of 2010, Innovations in Aging Collaborative held its inaugural Summit. Nearly 150 individuals (Champions for Aging) from across the region participated and represented the arts, government, human services, health care, business, and recreation and tourism. The Summit’s goals were to start a conversation on how to make our community a remarkable place to age; to identify existing resources and assets; and to identify innovative ideas that would enhance the quality of life for older adults in the Pikes Peak Region.
Featured were two keynote speakers: Kathryn Lawler, manager of external affairs, Atlanta Regional Commission; and Stan Gryskiewicz, president, Association for Managers of Innovation (AMI). The presentations were followed by focused discussions on:
1) Lifelong Learning
2) Wellness and Recreation
3) Arts and Culture
4) Livable Communities
5) Economic Opportunities
6) Urban Planning and Transportation
IIAC embraced the following two goals after the Summit.
1) Support seniors in being active and mainstreamed.
2) Keep the focus on how and where seniors live.
Two strategies were recommended to accomplish these goals:
1) Maximize new technologies to collect, organize, and disseminate information.
2) Organize resources through private partnerships, public policy, and citizen
In April 2012, IIAC’s work and innovation in aging ideas were the focus of the Association for Managers of Innovation (AMI) conference held in Colorado Springs. At the conclusion of the conference, AMI attendees participated in two more meetings to help explore next steps for our community and IIAC, including IIAC’s second summit held on April 21, 2012. This Summit reconvened stakeholders who attended the 2010 summit to update the community on IIAC’s progress and future plans and to narrow the conversation to preferred actionable future projects. Key concepts of focus coming out of this Summit were:
1) Intergenerational Hubs (iHubs)
2) Workforce Issues—taking advantage of the talent of seniors
3) Connectivity using technology.
In June 2011, IIAC conducted a two-day workshop for community leaders from UCCS, Pikes Peak Community College, Penrose St. Francis Health Services, Peak Vista Community Health Centers Foundation, Silver Key, Chamber of Commerce, Pikes Peak Library, Council of Neighborhood Organizations, PILLAR, Young Professionals, churches, businesses, and other interested stakeholders. The outcomes from the summits and the workshop led the way for the creation for IIAC’s scope of work.
In 2013 Innovations in Aging and Peak Vista Community Health Centers sought to identify what is working and what is not working in the community related to health and “aging in place,” funded by the Colorado Trust’s Convening for Colorado. This effort was called the Convening to Support Aging in Place for the Pikes Peak Region. In doing so, IIAC reached out to individuals and organizations that had been connected to its earlier gatherings and new partners to add a deeper understanding of the challenges. The convening participants were asked to provide feedback on factors affecting the capacity to age in place and to recommend action steps that could be taken collaboratively to address these factors. Over 100 stakeholders participated in the convening process.
The results of the convening validated the quantitative data that both the 2013 Quality of Life Indicators report and the 2011 Aging in El Paso County study had brought forward. By reengaging the community through bringing together senior stakeholders and service providers, Innovations in Aging has initiated the networking of advocates focused on the critical needs of older adults. The project called attention to issues central to the health and well-being of older adults in the Pikes Peak region, thus setting the stage to build a network of health equity advocates. The convening identified recommendations for the community to address to support aging in place and to improve access to health care for older adults, specifically mental health care for older adults.
In 2014 IIAC received funding from the city of Colorado Springs to address the major issues facing the city as the Baby Boomers in our community age and new retirees move into the area. Four convenings featuring thought leaders and regional experts were held to explore trends and models to address aging in the community.
– Encore Careers and Entrepreneurs 55+: New Visions for the “Retirement” Age
– The Business of Aging: Infrastructure, Information, and Institutional Innovation
– Housing Choices and Livable Communities
– Specialized Healthcare and Caregiving for Older Adults
Innovations in Aging Collaborative is a proud member of the Senior Resource Council