Published 2017 Senior Master Plan outlines priorities, strategies for improving senior health and well-being

April 23, 2018 – Lake County Public Health Agency and Lake County Build a Generation have published the 2017 Lake County Senior Master Plan.

The Senior Master Plan (SMP) is the culmination of a year-long, comprehensive assessment of the health issues concerning Lake County seniors. The needs and recommendations outlined in the report were informed by more than 100 hours of interviews with Lake County seniors as well as extensive research on best practices for supporting senior health and well-being.

“The goal of the Senior Master Plan process was to understand the unique challenges Lake County seniors face as they age,” said Colleen Nielsen, director of the Lake County Public Health Agency. “When we understand the needs that exist, we can better advocate for resources, programs and policies that promote optimal health for seniors so they can age well  in our community.”

The SMP identifies and prioritizes eight barriers to health for Lake County seniors, including: access to care; home health care and services; transportation; support for caregivers; social and community engagement; housing; preventive care; and information and education.

For each health issue, LCBAG and LCPHA have outlined target outcomes as well as identified three years of key strategies to reach those outcomes by the end of 2020.

One key strategy, the creation of an Aging Well project, is already underway. The City of Leadville has contributed $5,000 and Lake County Government has contributed $55,000 to fund the creation of an Aging Well project under LCPHA. LCPHA has hired an Aging Well Coordinator who will supervise senior services staff and carry out strategic initiatives that address the eight health issues identified in the SMP. These strategies may include refining and further developing the senior transportation program, as well as developing a short-term and long-term plan to improve the Senior Center facility and the services it is able to provide. The Aging Well Coordinator also will work closely with local and statewide entities to increase support services for Lake County seniors.

Another early output of the Senior Master Plan is that the Lake County Senior Center was recently awarded a $42,870 grant from the Colorado Department of Transportation to purchase a new van with a wheelchair lift.

“Once we were able to catalogue the resources that exist, prioritize gaps and needs, and research opportunities to fill those gaps and needs, it became clear that we were overlooking opportunities such as CDOT’s Capital Grant Program,” said Katie Baldassar, director of Lake County Build a Generation. “The new van is a great example of how the Senior Master Plan will help us better utilize regional, state and federal resources for Lake County seniors.”

The final Senior Master Plan and executive summary can be found at online at lcbag.org.

Lake County Build a Generation is a project of Lake County Public Health Agency that specializes in planning, community engagement and evaluation to build a movement for health and well-being in Lake County. To learn more about Lake County Build a Generation, visit lcbag.org or call 719-486-4114.