Throughout recent years, Douglas County has made moves to address projections that the nation's senior population will boom over the next decade.
The Partnership of Douglas County Governments (PDCG) in 2012 created the Senior Initiative Project to address changing demographics in the county, where the State Demography Office projects one in four residents will be 60 or older by 2030.
The PDCG was established in 2002 and aims to promote close relationships between local municipalities and their governments. In 2013 the Douglas County Senior Initiative produced a report called the "Living Well and Aging Well Project."
Through an online and print survey, the Initiative gathered data from 648 Douglas County seniors, caregivers and people planning to retire in the county — most 56 or older. They also hosted listening tours in 13 locations, through which approximately 260 people participated, and surveyed 68 senior providers to gauge how well they communicated with each other and with seniors.
Overall, the surveys and listening tours found respondents felt there is a good variation of services, products and resources in Douglas County, but that some gaps remained. All three determined affordable and accessible housing and transportation were the most lacking.
A University of Colorado Denver consultant analyzed the results and made four recommendations to a PDCG Senior Advisory Committee charged with developing the Initiative.
The first was to share survey results with PDCG members to inform their public-policy decisions.
Second was to launch a Senior Interactive Website as a one-stop shop for senior resources — 90 percent of the senior survey respondents said they would use a website with information important to people 60 and over.
Third, the consultant recommended creating a consortium of providers to promote greater networking, information sharing and partnering among them. Roughly 25 to 40 pairs of 68 providers surveyed worked together frequently at the time of the survey.
Lastly, they recommended working with Douglas County Transit Solutions, the Douglas County Housing Partnership and similar organization to address the housing and transportation issues.