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The Aspen Club Health and Wellness Services for Older Adults

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  The Aspen Club has been serving an increasing  number of older adults in northern Colorado for close to 18 years.  Through its development of innovative, quality  programs and services for people 50 and above, more than 12,000 adults have become members.  Close  to 100 individuals continue to join each month from Ft. Collins, Loveland, Estes Park, Windsor, mountain and  rural communities.

Why have people joined the Aspen Club? 

•    There is no cost to join the Aspen Club.  It is affordable to all. 
•    Over the years, the staff has been diligent about developing beneficial health services and screenings at low rates or no cost (ie, blood tests, bone density screenings, hearing / vision screenings, etc.).
•    The array and variety of programs have prompted responses from members such as:  “The programs keep good health and exercise as a priority in my life.  Your newsletter, along with the activities, helps keep me active and fills an educational role in aging well.”  Another member commented: “ I think the Aspen Club is covering ‘all the bases’.  The opportunities offered for screenings at low cost are incredible!”
•    Between 1000 – 2000 older adults take advantage of some aspect of our service each month.

In a recent survey to members, the question was asked: “Compared to one year ago, how would you rate your health?”  The response was phenomenal!  Ninety-one percent (91\%) responded that they perceived their health as the same, somewhat better or much better than one year ago.  We would like to think the Aspen Club and its service offerings had something to do with that!

Other ways the Aspen Club has made a difference in the lives of our older citizens is:

•    The Aspen Club was the first to introduce step counters and the 10,000 step challenge.  More than 2,000 members started using the counters and 74\% reported adding more activity in their lives with the help of the counter.
•    From January – March, more than 100 information and referrals calls per day were fielded by staff, helping people tie into community services and helpful information.
•    The Aspen Club has become the lead agency to which seniors and their family members turn when they have questions about Medicare and related health insurance issues.  Trained staff and counselors have helped seniors save money by comparing medigap policy prices; gone to bat for them when they think they were charged unfairly for health services; helped organize mounds of medical paperwork after health procedures or the death of a spouse; and saved many clients money when advised of other options in health care coverage.
•    Through bone density screenings, many women have opened a dialogue about osteoporosis with their physicians.  Fifty-four percent (54\%) who had low bone density readings implemented lifestyle changes as a result of their screening through the Aspen Club.
•    The Aspen Club has made a concerted effort to help its members with the “out-of-sight” cost of medications.  They have worked with local pharmacies throughout the county to bring discounts to members.  Last year, Aspen Club members filled close to 7,000 prescriptions with an overall savings of $43,000.  This averaged approximately $7 per prescription per time.   The Aspen staff has done their best to share information about mail order; pharmaceutical company discounts, on-line pharmacies and more to help members become savvy consumers.

These are just few examples of how the Poudre Valley Health System’s Aspen Club has made an impact on the lives of thousands of older adults through the years.  The Aspen Club also works collaboratively with many community agencies in their efforts of serving older adults. 

This article has been submitted by Jill Taylor of The Aspen Club.  She can be reached at 970-495-8560.