With a rising senior population, organizations like AARP, a group whose mission is to empower people to “choose how they live as they age,” becomes even more important in Colorado. The organization was founded by a retired high school principal in 1958 with the mission of enhancing the quality of life for seniors, to promote independence, dignity, and purpose for seniors, to help determine the role and place of seniors in society and to improve the “image of aging,” according to the organization’s website.
According to Director of Communications of AARP Colorado, Angela Cortez offered, “AARP Colorado is really dedicated to making AARP part of the fabric of the community. We accomplish this by fostering strong community partnerships and creating opportunities for our volunteers and the community as a whole. In Colorado, we have nearly 700,000 members and we work to ensure they are able to age with dignity in their own communities with the services they need.”
AARP does a number of things for the senior community like its insurance plan, financial services corporation, counsel for the elderly and its foundation.
The organization recently pledged $60 million into its new campaign called “Disrupt Dementia.” The campaign will look to find new treatments for dementia, provide education on the disease and to help victims and family caregivers. There are almost 10 million new cases of Alzheimer’s and dementia each year, with no cure in sight.
“AARP’s mission is to empower people to choose how they live as they age, but dementia takes that privilege away from millions of Americans and people around the world,” AARP CEO Jo An Jenkins said in a statement. “The statistics are staggering, and the numbers continue to climb each year. By 2030, there are projected to be 82 million people suffering from dementia. And despite decades of research costing billions of dollars, there is still no cure and few ways to treat symptoms of dementia. With today’s investment in the DDF, AARP and our partners have committed to helping find innovative solutions that can reserve the trend of this health crisis and champion brain health.
Another valuable organization that serves the aging population is Colorado Health Institute, an organization that provides data and research to help improve “access to care for all Coloradans,” released its “Colorado Seniors and Their Health” report in November of 2017.
The report discusses a number of things regarding seniors, and maybe its most interesting piece is the fact that Colorado’s population of people aged 65 and older is expected to increase by 61 percent between 2016 and 2030.
Colorado Health Institute says the top five counties in 2017 with the highest senior population were Jefferson (94,000), El Paso (88,000), Arapahoe (85,000), Denver (82,000), Adams (53,400) and Larimer (51,800).
The organization has four risk factors to determine the vulnerability of Colorado’s senior population. They are age, education, one’s living situation and income. The age factor considers senior’s ages to put them more at risk when they are aged 80 or above. The education factor looks at those who have a high school diploma or less, while the living situation takes seniors who live alone into consideration. The income risk factor looks at seniors who are below the federal poverty level.
Besides the four risk factors, there are other factors that determine Colorado’s seniors vulnerability like physical and behavioral traits. These factors are measured on a senior vulnerability index that determines the vulnerability of Colorado’s seniors. According to Colorado Health Institute, Colorado’s 64 counties average at a 4.9 on the vulnerability index. The highest possible score is a 10, while the lowest one is 1.