While the American Aging Act has provided no assistance to Park County Seniors, the Older Americans Act has provided programs in Park County since 1977. Beginning with transportation, and adding programs through the years, this act has been instrumental in assisting Park County residents over 60 years of age to remain in their homes and in Park County.
Each year, the Older Americans Act provides a broad range of services to seniors by making competitive grants available to service agencies. Programs funded in Park County for the 2018-19 grant year included assisted-transportation, transportation, meals, nutrition education, information and assistance, case management, and vouchers for chore, homemaking and respite.
Since 1977, an increasing cost of providing service, increasing population, increased longevity, and an increase in emphasis on evidence-based, self-directed, and protective services, has increased the gap between the services needed and available funding. The State of Colorado has been repeatedly acknowledged nationwide as a leader in providing more than the 10 percent state match required to receive these federal funds, and yet the gap grows and competition for these funds grows.
Those who drafted the Older Americans Act and its revisions developed protections for rural populations, while regulations intended to improve accountability, efficiency, and quality of service have added administrative burdens that penalize small populations and absorb resources that would otherwise be available for services.
While the Older Americans Act has increased efforts to address the needs of seniors in America, additional supports are necessary to serve a growing population of seniors, while continuing to serve those who have the greatest need.
The work being done by the Seniors Alliance of Platte Canyon highlights the need for a strong community of providers to come alongside the network that currently exists, increasing capacity and serving a broader scope of needs for a growing population.
Bobbi A. Gore
Executive Director, Park County Senior Coalition