DENVER — Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018 — Colorado received top honors from AARP today, becoming only the third state to be designated an age-friendly state and to join AARP’s Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities. The recognition comes as part of the state’s introduction of Lifelong Colorado, an initiative that addresses the challenges of a growing population of older Coloradans. It aims to significantly increase the number of cities and counties that are “age-friendly” in Colorado.
“Every Coloradan should know they have a forever place to call home as they age,” said Governor John Hickenlooper. “Lifelong Colorado demonstrates our commitment to making the necessary improvements and provide appropriate resources to strengthen families and our communities. We so value that partners like AARP recognize our efforts and support our vision.”
Lifelong Colorado is a growing collaboration among Colorado’s Governor’s Office, the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA), the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG), AARP, Colorado Counties Inc., the Colorado Municipal League, and several communities around the state. It will be co-chaired by Colorado’s Chief Operating Officer and Lieutenant Governor Donna Lynne and John Suthers, mayor of Colorado Springs.
“Public awareness and engagement will be critical to the success of Lifelong Colorado,” said Lieutenant Governor and Chief Operating Officer Donna Lynne. “With the right resources and public and private support, we can ensure a better quality of life for older Coloradans.”
Colorado has a good start on this effort thanks to programs in over 25 local communities, including Arapahoe, Boulder, Eagle, Jefferson, Larimer and Pitkin counties as well as Arvada, Bennett, Broomfield, Centennial, Colorado Springs, Denver, Englewood, Federal Heights, Fruita, Idaho Springs, Lakewood, Littleton, Longmont, Lyons, Manitou Springs, and Sheridan, Thornton, and Wheat Ridge. Frederick and Dacono also have partnered on a joint program.
These efforts have been facilitated either by AARP through its Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities or by DRCOG through it’s “Boomer Bond” assessment process.
“Colorado Springs has benefited tremendously from our age-friendly initiative,” said Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, “I am excited to help bring the lessons we’ve learned to the rest of Colorado. Seventy percent of disposable income in the country is in the hands of those over 60, so in addition to improving our quality of life there are great economic development opportunities as well.”
The statewide initiative will build upon the success of these programs. Gov. Hickenlooper challenged Colorado to add at least 20 more communities to the Lifelong Colorado network by the end of next year and 100 more in the next five years. Each community customizes the support needed for its citizens.
“We congratulate Governor Hickenlooper on his decision to create Lifelong Colorado, the launching of a holistic, cross-disciplinary approach to the challenges and opportunities presented by the aging of our state,” said AARP Colorado State Director Bob Murphy, who presented the age-friendly designation to the Governor.
“Age-Friendly states and communities foster respect and intergenerational inclusion,” Murphy said. “We are very proud of the number and quality of Colorado communities that have earned the age-friendly designation, and are thrilled with Governor Hickenlooper’s decision to designate the entire state as “Age-Friendly.”
Lifelong Colorado will provide a statewide umbrella of resources for communities, identify and encourage best-practices, empower and facilitate local and regional efforts, and coordinate common public information strategies. The state’s Senior Advisor on Aging will assess the efforts and advance the initiative so that it is sustainable in the years to come.
For more information about Lifelong Colorado, click here: http://bit.ly/2QDqjf0