JFS Perspectives

Monday, August 21, 2017

Seniors Matter: Serving a Growing Demographic



Seniors Matter: Serving a Growing Demographic

I have spent my career dedicated to improving the lives of older adults. For me, there is nothing more important than honoring our elders by ensuring they have dignity, respect, choice, and autonomy as they age. As I entered my role at Jewish Family Service nearly a year ago, I did so with great excitement—knowing that the array of services we offer to older adults improves their quality of life.

However, I also knew I would face a great challenge presented by the anticipated growth in the population we serve.Nationwide, the number of individuals aged 60 and greater is expected to nearly double by the year 2050. Locally, one in four Coloradans will be over the age of 60 by 2030. In addition, thanks to many factors, including medical advances and healthy lifestyles, people are living longer. The Denver metro region will see a 94 percent increase in the number of individuals aged 75 or greater and a 34 percent increase in those over the age of 90 by the year 2030.

The challenge this presents is fairly simple: how do we ensure sufficient resources to serve this growing demographic? While some have the means to cover the costs of care and/or have family members available (and willing) to help them, many require assistance covering these costs. For those individuals, it isn’t always a lack of ability or attempt to save for their retirement, but rather a reality that care in our later years can be quite expensive. Many simply did not plan on living as long as they have and have outlived their savings/retirement funds.

At JFS we have faced these challenges head on as we work to be proactive and innovative in how we care for older adults. We provide consultation and care management services that address current needs and can also help individuals prepare and plan for future needs. We provide homemaker assistance that can help people avoid more costly care. And we offer educational programs designed to keep older adults engaged in their community and offer tips for aging well.

We are fortunate to have support from a variety of foundations, donors, and government entities that help us provide these vital services at reduced rates and/or at no charge. However, we must continue to pursue partnerships that will allow us to expand services to keep up with demand and achieve our mission of serving those in need.

Contact the JFS Senior Solutions department at 303.597.5000 for more information on how we can help you or a loved one.

Chandra MatthewsBy Chandra Matthews, MSW
Jay and Rose Phillips Senior Solutions Center Director

Chandra Matthews, MSW, is director of the Jay and Rose Phillips Senior Solutions Center, where she is responsible for providing leadership, vision, strategic direction, and program development to all JFS programs serving seniors.



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