Aging Well in Boulder County

Volunteer Wendell Schuler recently celebrated his 80th birthday and 17th year volunteering with Boulder County CareConnect. He was also honored with the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award of over 40,000 hours of volunteering. | Boulder County CareConnect has opportunities for volunteers of all ages and skill levels. These young volunteers planted flowers for a local elder as part of the YardBusters program. | Lisa Wade was one of several RE/MAX of Boulder agents who volunteered for the YardBusters program last month.

Boulder County CareConnect helps seniors hang on to home sweet home

Turns out golf courses and sunny beaches aren’t what older adults wish for in their later lives.

In fact, according to a comprehensive Milken Institute study, more than 90% of older adults desire simply to stay put and grow older at home, within their communities.

For 43 years, Boulder County CareConnect and its army of volunteers have given local seniors the extra support they need to do just that.

“Some of our clients need only a little bit of help to live safely and independently,” says Julia Stephens, communications director. “For them, something as basic as snow shoveling or a ride to a doctor’s appointment makes a world of difference.”

BCCC delivers its services with 100% volunteer power, and in 2014 more than 1,000 people logged 44,000 hours of service. But the population is getting older everywhere and needs are growing rapidly. Of Boulder County’s 315,000 residents, about 38,000 are 65 and older. That number is going to rise precipitously over the next decade, with 72 million American baby boomers (birthdays between 1946 and 1964) turning 65 at the rate of 10,000 + every day.

“We have waiting lists of people who need help, so we work very hard continuously to recruit more volunteers,” Ms. Stephens says.

pullquoteBCCC offers some of the most convenient and gratifying volunteer work you can find, like helping seniors one-on-one with things like snow shoveling, yard work, grocery deliveries, transportation to medical appointments, and much more.

“Part of what we’re doing is alleviating isolation for our local seniors in their homes, but we’re also connecting generations of people,” Ms. Stephens explains. “It’s good for older people to be around younger people and our volunteers include middle schoolers, young professionals, neighbors, and certainly other seniors. It’s all kinds of people helping all kinds of people.”

Boulder is a sweet spot for senior living for many reasons. The city was named #26 in the small metro category of the Milken Institute’s 2014 report Best U.S. Cities for Successful Aging.  Rankings were based on key factors: safety, health & wellness, finances, living options, employment & education, mobility,  and community engagement.

The study looked specifically at those seniors who would rather “age in place” than uproot themselves in later life.

“Helping seniors stay in their homes happily and safely is a key part of Boulder’s quality of life,” says Ms. Stephens. “We are working to give our older adults more visibility because they are important contributors to the economy, in raising families, and in offering their wisdom and service.”

We will feature the good work of Boulder County Care Connect in this space all month.

Meet Mr. Wendell Schuler, a Louisville resident and BCCC volunteer who has logged more than 40,000 hours of service!