With Colorado under a stay-at-home-order for the next few weeks to help slow the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, residents may feel more cut off from society, especially older adults. To help seniors and their caregivers access services and information, Colorado State University Extension has partnered with local aging organizations to create Senior Access Points of Larimer County, a comprehensive website that has become a beacon of hope and help.
Senior Access Points is a partnership between the Larimer County Office of Colorado State University Extension, CSU Department of Human Development and Family Studies, the Partnership for Age-Friendly Communities, and the Larimer County Office on Aging.
The website provides information and services on topics ranging from legal services for seniors, transportation options, resources to give caregivers relief, and volunteer opportunities for community members interested in helping older individuals throughout Larimer County.
Although created before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Senior Access Points of Larimer County has become a lifeline in the past several weeks as older adults and caregivers attempt to better understand the ramifications of how the virus is affecting the older population.
Larimer County seniors can access a wealth of information and connections to services and volunteer assistance through Senior Access Points. Photo courtesy CSU Extension of Larimer County
The site, resources listed, and partnerships with vital service organizations have provided seniors a community of opportunity, research, and service – the foundations of CSU’s land-grant mission, said Ashley Stokes, associate vice president for the Office of Engagement and Extension and deputy director of Extension at CSU. “As our communities grapple with the challenges of this major public health event, CSU Extension is a trusted source of information and science-based programs that have important impacts for these important community members,” she said.
Partners and volunteers
Sue Schneider, a family and consumer science and community development agent for CSU Extension in Larimer County, said more than 30 organizations have partnered with Extension on Senior Access Points and that nearly 30 ambassador volunteers have been trained to conduct outreach and education to older adults and the agencies that serve this population in Larimer County.
Schneider said they are expanding the scope of the site and resources to serve residents throughout the state in light of the pandemic and increased needs among older populations. “We understand that there is a lot of critical information that can be overwhelming to our older residents and we are doing our best to help wade through the information to make sure our older neighbors are getting the best advice and help,” she said.
When she became overwhelmed with caring for both of her aged parents, Crystal Bloemen turned to the Senior Access Points of Larimer County for help. Her advice to caregivers with questions and older residents who may feel isolated and afraid is straightforward: “Don’t hesitate, because people want to help. They don’t want you to suffer. So, find those people, and ask for help. Because it’s there. More so now than ever.”
To learn more about Senior Access Points of Larimer County, go to senioraccesslarimer.colostate.edu
To learn more about CSU Extension, go to extension.colostate.edu