In the Pikes Peak region, the population of 65+ is set to increase by 160%, while the population of 85+ is set to increase 337%. This is a national trend with potentially huge ramifications on the local level as baby boomers age in place, and older Americans move to be with their baby-boomer children.
Innovations in Aging Collaborative was formed with the goal of breaking down silos, spurring substantial conversation around what the “silver tsunami” would mean for the Pikes Peak region, and looking at innovative, collaborative ways to prepare. In March 2016, Colorado Springs was accepted into the network of Age Friendly Cities by AARP and the World Health Organization. By doing so, we have committed to putting in the time and effort to make our city more “Age Friendly.” To be “Age Friendly” means to be a community where the oldest and the youngest community members can live full, engaged, and active lives. For example, the old and young are often unable to drive, which means that they are often stranded in a car-centric transportation system. To connect to community activities, maintain social networks, and perform basic activities to living, they must depend on either a public transportation system, safe walking paths, or other people to drive them. Similarly, as people age, they often want to downsize their home while remaining in their community. Having smaller, accessible housing for this population is part of allowing individuals to age in community and continue contributing in ways that benefit everyone.
We work to affect change by partnering with community leaders in the non-profit, governmental, and for-profit sectors. By doing so, we have managed to incubate several successful programs that focus on aging well in Colorado Springs. One excellent example is the Age Friendly Business Certification program that is now part of the Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado. Look for that badge on local businesses and visit their website to check out the list of certified Age Friendly Businesses. Visit our website to learn more about other initiatives and how you can get more involved in making our city Age Friendly!
Editor’s Note: This article was submitted by Innovations in Aging Collaborative and may be reached at 719-602-3815.