Seniors highlight affordable housing, transportation as top local issues
Grand County seniors got a chance to speak out about the local issues that matter most to them Tuesday during a pair of discussion sessions with a representative from the Alpine Area Agency on Aging.
Erin Fisher, director of the Alpine Area Agency on Aging, was in Granby and Grand Lake on Tuesday afternoon holding discussion sessions with Grand County seniors as part of the agency’s four-year annual plan. Every four years directors from the 16 area agencies on aging in Colorado hold a series of informal discussion groups to review the issues and topics regarding elder populations.
The feedback Fisher and other directors receive is folded into the various four-year annual plans. Those four-year annual plans are combined into a single document that is submitted to the federal government, which is then used to determine funding allocations for various programs. The Alpine Area Agency on Aging, and the other agencies, are required under the Older Americans Act to provide specific core services to seniors within their areas, including nutrition services, legal services and ombudsman services among others.
The topics discussed Tuesday are intended to encompass services beyond the core, federally mandated, functions of the Agency on Aging.
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“It is helpful to go to these events and find out what the individual communities need,” Fisher said.
There were 2,347 seniors, those age 65 or older, in Grand County in 2016, according to an analysis from the Area Agency on Aging.
Tuesday’s Granby discussion was held at the Granby Community Center and included around a dozen local seniors who participated in the talk. Seniors who attended the meeting discussed a range of senior priorities from hospice and in-home care services to social interactions among the elderly and physical exercise programs. The two biggest priorities raised by seniors attending the Granby meeting were housing and transportation. Fisher noted those two topics were recurring themes at other talks she has held this year in the multi-county region.
Seniors who attended the meeting said they were very happy with the transportation services provided for them in Grand County, through the Grand County Council on Aging. Seniors repeatedly called for additional support for the senior specific transportation services in Grand County, to allow for more drivers and more transport vehicles.
Meeting attendees also stressed the need for more affordable housing, both for the general public and for seniors, specifically. The Granby Living Senior Homes were highlighted, but, according to attendees, the waiting list period to get into the Granby Living Senior Homes is upwards of two years.
The feedback Fisher received during her two meetings in Grand County on Tuesday will be added to the input she received from Kremmling area seniors last week. All the feedback will be used to develop the Agency on Aging’s four-year annual plan.
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