Southeast Colorado Springs Seniors and Community Members of all ages are invited to the Active Living Program Open House! Please join us on Thursday, July 18th from 11:00am – 3:00pm to find out more about Silver Key’s “new and innovative ways for people to engage at every age”. There will be lunch and activities.
Innovations in Aging Collaborative is excited to release the results of research conducted by Elevated Insights and funded by the NextFifty Initiative. Come learn about the needs, awareness, and satisfaction of older adults and caregivers in Colorado Springs and how we are using these findings to make Colorado Springs more Age Friendly.
This is a free event and RSVPs are not required.
In a 2018 survey conducted by Elevated Insights, 94% of older residents (60+) said they are likely or very likely to remain in El Paso County throughout retirement. As our older population increases and decides to stay in Colorado Springs, we must find creative and resourceful options to fulfill their demand to age in place. A person can age in place and in community, when their housing options and community accommodate possible changes in ability, mobility, or physical and/or mental health.
Above all, we need to make our city more age friendly and accommodate people of all ages. Anti-ageism activist, Ashton Applewhite, notes that “although they make up only 35 percent of the population, people over 50 contribute 43 percent of the total US GDP — a cool $7.4 trillion.” Colorado Springs is well positioned to entice our residents to stay into retirement, but we need to encourage innovative options for aging in place. One option that increases housing density and encourages aging in place is Accessory Dwelling Units.
An Accessory Dwelling Unit or an ADU is a secondary apartment on a residential lot or within the main home. ADUs are often referred to as mother-in-law suites, granny flats, guest houses, etc. They are beneficial because they increase housing density in an unobtrusive manner. The height and size regulations, already required by the city mean an ADU will blend in with the existing house and neighborhood. Additionally, expanding the code to allow ADUs in single-family zones will increase and diversify the housing stock. These new, smaller units will ease the need for affordable housing and give people greater variety in their housing options.
How do ADUs help aging in place?
Accessory Dwelling Units advance aging in place because they encourage multi-generational living, offer a convenient option for downsizing, and create an alternative source of revenue. ADUs are often termed mother-in-law suites and granny flats because they allow different generations of the family to live in the same lot with privacy. Beyond encouraging intergenerational interaction, ADUs allow people to age in place because of the revenue they can generate. Because many older adults are on a fixed-income, renting out an ADU or the main house provide them financial stability to age in place. Finally, detached ADUs are a great option for aging in place because many have a zero-step entry. As home owners are building ADUs, they have the flexibility to construct the unit with ADA accessibility and Universal Design standards in mind. Universal Design accommodates ADA regulations and encourages other modifications that allow easy mobility throughout a home.
What is happening in Colorado Springs?
The City Planning Commission will present City Council a proposal on expanding ADUs in Spring 2019. ADUs are currently allowed in two-family and multi-family zones. This proposal would allow ADUs in single-family zone districts and reduce the challenges many homeowners face when trying to build an ADU. Click here to learn more about the proposed ordinance and how you can voice your opinion.
As the population continues to grow older, caregivers are a crucial component of helping older adults age in place and age in community. “An estimated 34.2 million American adults served as an unpaid caregiver to someone age 50 or older in the past 12 months” (AARP). Caregivers, those caring for a loved one, and professional caregivers face stress and lifestyle challenges. However, there are a wealth of resources available to help caregivers care for their loved ones and their self.
The Pikes Peak Region has an abundance of resources and organizations who offer support and guidance to caregivers.
- The Area Agency on Aging has a Family Caregiver Support Center, which provides families professional guidance in preparing an individualized caregiving plan and help accessing supportive services. The Area Agency on Aging can be reached online or on the phone: 719-471-2096
- The UCCS Aging Center offers an Aging Families and Caregiver Program. The center offers services, such as caregiver individual therapy and coping with caregiving classes, that assist family and friends of older adults who are experiencing difficulties.
Online Support for Caregivers
Beyond our local resources, there are many online websites that offer help, advice, and support to caregivers.
- AARP has a wealth of resources from financial and legal advice to caregiver basics on their website.
- Caregiverstess.com provides ways to care for yourself while caring for an aging loved one.
- Colorado Respite Coalition strives to improve respite access and awareness across the state.
- Lots a helping hands offers support communities.
National and Government Resources
There are many national websites that provide information and services to help caregivers looking for information for their loved one.
- Alzheimer’s Association is a resource for any questions about dementia and Alzheimer’s.
- The Colorado Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association offers general support groups for caregivers, and support groups for adult caregiver children of parents with Alzheimer’s Disease. You can call 800-272-3900 for all info, including registering for classes and getting info on our support groups.
- Federal government sites offer help and resources about Medicare and Social Security.
Over the past year, Innovations in Aging Collaborative and our Age Friendly partners have diligently worked to make Colorado Springs more livable for people of all ages. Some of our notable accomplishments from 2018 are listed below:
Building on a 2017 walk audit, AARP awarded funding to Innovations in Aging to add a bench and a light on the Sand Creek Trail. These improvements will be built in 2019, and they will advance placemaking efforts in Southeast Colorado Springs.
Launched the BankSafe Pilot
Innovations in Aging, Silver Key and Ent Credit Union led the effort to secure Colorado’s spot as a pilot state for the new BankSafe training. BankSafe empowers front line employees to identify the signs of financial abuse and exploitation of older adults.
Hosted Ashton Applewhite
On August 14, Innovations in Aging hosted Ashton Applewhite, an author and prolific activist against ageism. In collaboration with the UCCS Aging Center, Aging2.0 Denver Chapter and Seniors Matter, Silver Key Senior Services, and AARP Colorado, Innovations in Aging Collaborative presented, “Let’s Talk About Ageism: A Morning with Anti-Ageism Activist, Ashton Applewhite.” Ashton Applewhite is the author of This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism.
Engaged with Plan COS
The Board and staff of Innovations in Aging actively advocated for the addition of Age Friendly initiatives into the City’s comprehensive plan update, Plan COS. Following advocacy efforts, Age Friendly Colorado Springs was included as a partner entity plan in Plan COS. Colorado Springs City Council is in the process of reviewing the final draft and will vote on its adoption in early 2019.
In December 2018, Innovations in Aging published the Age Friendly Colorado Springs Midway Progress Report. This report details the progress IIAC and our Age Friendly partners have made in the past two and a half years. The report also highlights notable accomplishments and next-steps. Read the full report here.
Looking Forward to 2019
In 2019, Innovations in Aging and our Age Friendly partners will continue to work on the 150 plus action items in the Age Friendly Colorado Springs Plan. Looking to 2019, there are a few programs and initiatives we are especially excited about.
Working with Elevated Insights to research older adults and caregivers
In late 2018, we contracted Elevated Insights, a local boutique market research firm, to conduct research on older adults and care givers in the area. Their research will be finished in early 2019, and it will help guide the development and implementation of a senior services online resource portal.
Engaging the Quad to study affordable housing for older adults
Starting the in Spring semester 2019 and running through the Fall semester of 2019, Innovations in Aging, with the support of the RNR Foundation, will engage the Quad Innovation Partnership to study and develop an affordable housing idea for older adults. This project will elevate awareness of the critical need for affordable senior housing and embedded social services in the Pikes Peak Region.
In November 2017, research from the AARP Public Policy Institute found that socially isolated older adults are at greater risk for poor health than their well-connected counterparts. Social participation is a key factor in a person’s health and overall satisfaction. Therefore, the Age Friendly Colorado Springs Plan highlights social participation as one of the eight domains of livability.
Innovations in Aging recently released a Midway Progress Report that highlights the progress and next steps in each domain. Some of the highlights in the social participation domain are the new programs or expanded programs fostered by our Age Friendly partners: Pillar Institute for Lifelong Learning, the Senior Center, and Silver Key.
In addition to supporting local efforts, Innovations in Aging works to communicate changes and improvements made at the national level. One new tool that seeks to promote and provide opportunities to improve the rates of social engagement for older adult is the engAGED website. The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) recently published this new website for the National Resource Center for Engaging Older Adults. The engAGED website has toolkits, resources, and research which advance innovative engagement approaches and programming. The centerpiece of the campaign is a consumer brochure: Doing Good is Good for You: Volunteer! To discover more resources created by the National Resource Center for Engaging Older Adults, click here.