An 85-year-old woman can no longer drive but she needs to get to her doctor’s appointments — where does she turn for help? An elderly couple received an eviction notice for their apartment and their caregiver wants to understand the legalities involved — but where does he start?
Thanks to a collaborative effort designed and launched 10 years ago through the Foundation’s leadership and funding, Colorado has found a winning formula: Senior Source, which took an exciting step toward national replication in 2015. Over the life of Senior Source, Rose Community Foundation has invested more than $2.5 million in the program, and has helped bring partners together, including Caring for Colorado Foundation, the Colorado Department of Human Services — Colorado Commission on Aging, The Colorado Health Foundation, and the Denver Regional Council of Governments — Area Agency on Aging. Senior Source provides a central and trusted place for older adults and caregivers to find important resources about aging issues. A website, 9NEWS programming, community outreach events, call-in sessions and social media collectively educate and empower individuals to locate resources and access services available in the local community.
“Transportation services, housing options, crisis assistance, and knowing where to go for information and access to services can be a serious challenge, especially for older adults and their caregivers,” explains Therese Ellery, Rose Community Foundation senior program officer for Aging.
Senior Source reaches not one, but two underserved populations,” says Mark Koebrich, recently retired 9NEWS anchor and a 9NEWS spokesperson for the program. “In addition to thousands of seniors anxious for information of every description, Senior Source also reaches thousands of their children who are helping their parents navigate the often troubled and difficult waters of growing older. The program has proven to be a valuable resource for all of them, and I’m very proud of my past involvement in this innovative project.”
Each year, more than 2 million people see the 9NEWS programming that covers important aging topics. Annually, 100,000 people visit the website, and Senior Source distributes 10,000 free resources like the Getting There Guide to transportation options and the Senior Law Handbook (both of which are supported with grants from Rose Community Foundation). In addition, program partners respond to thousands of calls and emails.
“For this to work as well as it does, you need the right people at the table. We have the right people,” says Lynne Valencia, 9NEWS vice president of community relations, speaking about the collaborative group that now guides, funds, and operates Senior Source (9NEWS, Colorado Department of Human Services — Colorado Commission on Aging, Daniels Fund, Denver Regional Council of Governments — Area Agency on Aging and Rose Community Foundation).
In 2015, 9NEWS and its parent company, TEGNA, recognized that other communities around the country could benefit from the program, and decided to make a national commitment to Senior Source, making it available across the country through its 46 stations. Colorado’s program, with 10 years of experience, serves as a model, yet each station will customize the program to best fit its local community.
“No other station has taken the topic of seniors to the forefront,” says Valencia. “9NEWS is invested in this program because we see the value it brings to our community. Now dozens more communities, and tens of thousands more people will benefit from it.”
Rose Community Foundation has been involved with Senior Source since its inception, helping design and launch the collaborative program. We continue to support it annually by serving on the Advisory Committee and through funding support.
Learn more at rcfdenver.org/aging.