County reaches out to seniors

Listening tour, survey part of process

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As Douglas County prepares for a quarter of its population to be over the age of 60 by 2030, county officials are beginning to discuss the needs of today's senior population from Deckers to Parker and everywhere in between.

The Partnership of Douglas County Governments is putting forth a collaborative effort between all the towns, cities and special districts within the county, along with the school and library districts, to learn exactly what needs are out there and to what extent individuals and families in the county are aware of current available resources.

As part of that process, community leaders and elected officials will have a listening tour lasting a month and a half, starting Aug. 2 in Deckers. The tour has two scheduled stops each in Castle Rock and Parker and will also pass through Roxborough, Larkspur, Castle Pines, Highlands Ranch, Louviers and Lone Tree.

The listening tour is being organized to give residents the opportunity to share their own visions for the community and address with county officials where there are gaps in current services.

According to county spokeswoman Wendy Holmes, Douglas County is the only member of the Denver Regional Council of Governments that is addressing such a situation in this manner.

Part of the reason behind the county's actions, said Commissioner Jack Hilbert, is that Douglas County has the fastest growing senior population per capita in the state and is among the top 10 nationally when it comes to an increase in elders.

“Because of that we have to start addressing this now,” he said. “We don't have, in my opinion, 10 years to get these answers. We need to start getting these answers in the next three to five years to address our current population.”

Part of the reason to address this in a collaborative fashion, he said, is so that services aren't being duplicated. With multiple municipalities working together to solve existing issues among the senior population, it will limit the use of taxpayer dollars.

Hilbert anticipates some of the hottest topics being discussed will be transportation, affordable housing and health care.

“We don't know the level which each will rise to, but we want to make sure citizens are being served and work with the private sector to make that happen,” he said.

In addition to the listening tour, the county also has a survey available on its website that seniors are encouraged to take. In order to complete that survey, one can click here. While there, one can also see all dates, times and addresses for the listening tour.

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