“Communities must respond or miss the opportunity of fully engaging the largest, most educated generation of social innovators in the nations’ history. Tapping into these assets, requires new models and changing the lens through which we traditionally view older residents”
-Dick Goldberg, Director of Coming of Age
About the Program:
Benefits in Action has been facilitating the work of the Aging and Disability Resources of Colorado (ADRC) Steering Committee, Region 12, for the past three years and could not agree more with Mr. Goldberg’s statement. The ADRC steering Committee has been charged to find a way to strategically improve and streamline the distribution of services to older adults, specifically to examine how an organized, funded resource center for aging and disabled older adults could be employed across 5 counties (Summit, Grand, Jackson, Eagle, Pitkin). In this exploration, it became very apparent that there was a discrepancy in understanding services available in the community. Service providers knew what services were available, believed them to be adequate in scope and in capacity, and knew how to access them effectively. On the other hand, community members did not know what services were available to them, their families, or their neighbors, and did not know how to begin to access services. It was clear that older adults, as consumers, had not yet been a part of the discussion, had not been center stage. The Committee knew they needed a clear and better understanding of what the consumer believed was needed to age successfully in place in their own rural mountainous region. The committee recognized they needed older adults to lead and to champion the issues with them. Who better to deploy this information than the “the most educated…social innovators in our nation’s history”. Older adults and older adults with disabilities want a future that allows them a long life with appropriate support while remaining in their own community. In keeping with the integrity of Mr. Goldberg’s statement our project will: Utilize the experience, knowledge, and motivation of older adults and older adults with disabilities in the rural mountain area of Summit County to engage in a one-year pilot project, The Leadership and Community Education Academy.
This innovative, one of a kind academy will:
• Aid in energizing, educating and empowering older adults to be an active part in their own future and to have the services needed to be able to age in place without having to move from their rural homes in their later years
• Increase the number of older adults and older adults with disabilities involved in receiving new and/or expanded services that help them age in place