What is Lifelong Boulder?
Colorado is the second fastest aging state in the nation and our state demography office projects that Coloradans aged 60+ will outnumber those aged 18 and younger as soon as 2023. “Now is not the time to balk at this emerging reality, but it is a time to plan, prepare, and invest in our communities, so that quality of life is retained across the entire lifespan,” shared Colorado Governor Jared Polis.
Lifelong Boulder is part of a statewide initiative called Lifelong Colorado which aims to ensure all Coloradans will be able to live and fully participate in their communities for as long as possible.
A community that is well adapted for aging is one where all individuals can thrive. Age-friendly communities foster economic growth and make for happier, healthier community members. Many cities across the nation are taking steps to ensure their communities are age-friendly and Boulder is no exception.
In 2020 the Housing and Human Services Department convened a workgroup of staff members from various city departments and other stakeholders to create a set of recommendations to ensure Boulder can truly be an age-friendly community.
These recommendations, which will guide the city’s work for years to come, cover four main areas:
- Mobility and Access
- Community Living
- Support Services
Older Adult Services
Our mission is to inspire and empower older adults to age well through community connection, learning and play.
Older Adult Services offers all adults 60+ a safe and welcoming environment. Our programs and services are delivered in Age Well Centers that honor the needs and desires of older adults. We are committed to supporting an age-friendly community through our work on anti-ageism, mitigating social isolation and encouraging community engagement. Our staff provides a continuum of services from health and wellness, lifelong learning to case management and supportive services.
Mobility and Access
As members of our community age, they experience challenges in mobility, including driving, busing, biking and walking. To enable older adults to remain active and fully engaged in their community, these challenges need to be recognized and addressed.
Reviewing public sidewalk systems, public streets and intersections, mobility services, and community engagement. These recommendations could result in barrier-free access, resources for older drivers, and walkability improvements.
A variety of housing types are needed to accommodate longer lifespans in an age-friendly community. As community members age and housing needs change, it is important that suitable and affordable housing options are available to allow older adults to remain in their community.
Creating an adequate number of affordable independent and supportive living options; providing, supporting, promoting and publicizing programs or incentives that support the development of accessible and affordable housing options for older adults; and updating city code to address two key concepts for new and renovated single-family homes, group homes and multi-family homes:
- Universal Design - Design that’s usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design; and
- Visitability - Housing designed in such a way that it can be lived in or visited by people who have trouble with steps or who use wheelchairs or walkers.
Older adults benefit from engagement with the community across a wide range of areas from volunteer activities to meaningful employment. In addition, older adults experience better physical and mental health when engaging in purposeful activities.
Promoting intergenerational social interaction; ensuring safety and accessibility for older adults; providing a mechanism for older adults to volunteer in the community; supporting opportunities for older adults to remain in the workforce by offering equitable and innovative employment options; providing businesses with opportunities to consider the needs of older adults in their policies and hiring processes; and taking a role in the community by providing, promoting, and publicizing safety training programs.
Older adults overwhelmingly respond that they want to remain in their community as they age. Services that support this desire, such as case management, information and assistance, in-home care, chore completion, affordable and accessible legal services, mental health services and adult day care become essential to meeting this need.
The city and other community organizations supporting or providing: mixed-use services in accessible locations; informal opportunities for neighbors to connect; an adequate number of affordable and accessible long-term care facilities that support people living with dementia; programs that support independent living; and meal service programs that can accommodate greater than 75% of the geographic locations where older adults live.
Lifelong Boulder Accomplishments
Developed general recommendations and workbook tools for city departments.
Received designation from the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) as a Boomer Bond City. DRCOG’s Boomer Bond initiative helps local governments around the region create age-friendly physical and social environments allowing older adults to remain in their homes and communities for as long as they desire.
Recognized as a Lifelong Colorado city by the Governor’s Office.