Sue Schneider, Larimer County Extension
The Board of Larimer County Commissioners has approved a grant awarded to the Larimer County office of CSU Extension for $149,500 from NextFifty Initiative to expand Senior Access Points of Larimer County.
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NextFifty Initative, a Denver nonprofit, seeks to partner with organizations that are working to improve community services for older adults and their caregivers. With NextFifty funding, the Senior Access Points coalition will be able to conduct targeted outreach to connect rural and isolated residents in Larimer County with aging-related resources and services.
This will be accomplished by recruiting and training rural volunteer ambassadors, implementing a countywide marketing campaign, training service providers in rural areas, and building collaborative networks to reduce redundancies and barriers for residents seeking information on aging-related resources.
“Each time a new issue or crisis surrounding aging arises, older adults and their families are often confused about what’s available or where to go,” said Sue Schneider, Larimer County Extension Agent and Senior Access Points program lead. “Larimer County boasts many programs and services to support the needs of aging individuals and their families, but many of them are underutilized because people are not aware that they exist.”
Senior Access Points is a collaborative initiative led by the Larimer County office of CSU Extension, the Partnership for Age-Friendly Communities, the Larimer County Office on Aging, and CSU’s Department of Human Development and Family Studies. The coalition was formed to provide Larimer County residents with simple, clear access to aging-related resources and decrease barriers individuals face in asking for and receiving help.
The pilot initiative began in 2017 when a volunteer team from the Partnership for Age-Friendly Communities conducted a survey and gathered data from over 300 Larimer County residents. The findings showed the top reasons people sought aging-related resources were declining health, caregiver support needs, and home care services. The most common places people looked for aging-related resources included the Larimer County Office on Aging, their doctor’s office, and online searches.
In response to survey findings and input from professionals in aging-related fields, Senior Access Points was formed to develop an information portal at LarimerSeniors.org. The website provides access to local resources on a variety of topics, including transportation, housing, medical care, home care, and support for the caregiver.
The Senior Access Points coalition also organizes community outreach efforts to disseminate information on local resources in partnership with the Larimer County Office on Aging (LCOA), which is the county hub for aging-related information and resources. The LCOA provides information and referral and options counseling services (970-498-7740) along with publishing the Answers on Aging Guide and managing the Network of Care Service Directory.