With a burgeoning graying population in Teller County, with nearly 50 percent of the residents now in the 55 and plus senior crowd, coordinating services is vital for survival.
For example, many need to know details regarding accessing medical assistance, certain medicines or prescriptions, getting help with paying their utility bills, obtaining a ride to go shopping and learning about social gatherings, networking or even informational talks.
Teller is a region ripe with senior services, but some confusion exists regarding what is specifically available and which services older folks can use locally and when. Despite all the talk and jokes about millennials, seniors are the biggest growth segment in the population trends of Teller County. The age group between 55 and 65 is especially booming, according to the latest demographics.
As a result, the Golden Bridge Network, comprised of a variety of local organizations and nonprofits, is spearheading the county’s first ever Senior Expo, dubbed as “celebrating seniors.” The expo will be held Aug. 25 at the Ute Pass Cultural Center in Woodland Park from 5 to 7 p.m. “We are very excited,” said Deborah Idleman, of the marketing department of the Pikes Peak Regional Hospital, and a spokesperson for the Senior Expo. “This is the first time we have done this in Teller County.”
According to Idleman, one of the key goals for the Expo is to offer one-stop shopping for local seniors, when trying to access services and learn about benefits. She said the Expo will feature at least 25 vendors and a variety of exhibition booths.
“Seniors will have the chance to meet with participating vendors and service providers and attend mini-workshops,” said Idleman, who stated that vendors will be available from a variety of areas and service providers. The forum also will include refreshments.
The Golden Bridge Network, formed about a year ago, tries to bridge senior services through enhanced communications and collaboration efforts, according to Idleman. The group is comprised of such organizations as the Aspen Mine Center, the Pikes Peak Regional Hospital, Prospect Home Care & Hospice, the Teller Senior Coalition, Community Partnership-Family Resource Center, Teller County Department of Social Services, Woodland Park Senior Services, Cripple Creek Care Center, the new Forest Ridge Health Center and more.
Idleman said the network has worked well in identifying services and dealing with potential gaps, but sought to have an informational expo forum.
“We have wanted to do something like this for a long time,” added Idleman.
She admits that many seniors aren’t aware of what is available for them in Teller County and the Pikes Peak region. In addition, the Expo could serve as an educational tool for some seniors, when they may need these services later in their life. With a growing senior population, many just don’t expect the inevitable: that they may get old and need essential services.
For more information about the Senior Expo or the Golden Bridge Network, call 719-686-5802.