Margaret’s home had several needed repairs including a leaky roof and a sagging floor. At 89 years old and on a fixed income, Margaret couldn’t afford the repairs but didn’t want to leave her long-time home.
As Americans live longer and healthier lives, Colorado’s 65-and-over population is growing – between 2010 and 2015 this group grew 29% (the third fastest rate in the nation). Much of this population growth is and will continue to be along Colorado’s Front Range, with a large concentration in Weld County due to its comparatively affordable housing. According to the Colorado State Demographer, between 2017 and 2030, Weld County will see a 35% growth in the number of 75-84 year olds and a 21% growth in the 85+ year old group.
Nationally and locally, the network of organizations serving older adults is anticipating an increased need for community-based supportive services to help our neighbors live healthy, independent, and productive lives. There will be an increased need for activities such as home-delivered meals, transportation, homemaker and personal care services, case management, and chore assistance, to list a few. According to professionals working in Weld County, transportation and affordable housing are overwhelmingly the largest challenges older adults face today. They also state that there is a gap in services for homemaker and personal care in the rural areas of the county.
The Volunteer Recruitment Initiative (VRI) recognizes the invaluable role that volunteers play in ensuring that organizations serving older adults are able to provide their services to the community. Whether an organization needs administrative or direct service assistance, the work does not get done without committed volunteers. The VRI uses a combination of social media and in-person marketing techniques to reach potential volunteers. The VRI then screens them for their specific interests and skills, and refers the potential volunteers to the best fit organizations.
In addition to recruiting volunteers, the VRI is also open to new participating organizations. Any older adult serving organization that provides service in Weld County is welcome to explore if the VRI is a useful resource to their ongoing work. As more organizations join the VRI, there is a larger pool of opportunities for interested volunteers, helping to increase the likelihood of finding a good fit for community members.
“The work which many older adult-serving organizations do is virtually impossible – and in our case impossible – without extensive volunteer involvement and support. The degree to which the Aging Well VRI has alleviated staff member stress by allowing a shift in focus to onboarding volunteers and directly serving clients is immeasurable.”Janet Bedingfield, Executive Director, 60+ Ride