Governor Jared Polis’ attended Colorado Senior Lobby’s Capitol Affair event held on January 27, 2020. This event was held in the Colorado State Capitol. Below are highlights from his speech.

Colorado Demographics indicate that for the first time in history, in about the year 2035, there will be more people over the age of 65 than under the age of 18.

Colorado is on the forefront of planning and innovating for a future of increased demand for acute and long-term care; for more affordable and accessible housing, and several other issues.

As the second-best place to retire in the country (WalletHub), we are attracting more retirees from other states to add to our internally aging population. As an age-friendly state—the third state in the nation to receive this designation— we have an obligation to make Colorado a great state for people of all ages to live, work and play.
This begins with the continued work of the Strategic Action Planning Group on Aging (SAPGA) – established in 2015 to develop and comprehensive strategy and specific recommendations for how Colorado will build on the strengths and address the needs of its rapidly aging population in the 21st century.

My staff, many of our legislators, SAPGA, and organizations like Colorado Senior Lobby help us to ensure that we look at our policies through an aging lens, always mindful of where older adults fit in our vision of a Colorado that works for everyone.

My administration and I remain committed to supporting SAPGA’s recommendations. Included among those are these:

  1. That older Coloradans are able to live and participate in the communities of their choice for as long as possible.
    * Lifelong Colorado is one way of preparing our communities for the aging population. 
    * We are also providing training to regional managers in the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) in the area of age-friendly practices.
  2. Helping older adults to remain or re-enter the workforce or volunteer sector for as long as they want or need.
    * By 2030 – over 25% of Colorado’s workforce will be 55+
    * Focusing on eliminating age discrimination 
    * Our office of the Future of Work and the Colorado Workforce Development Council are working together to ensure opportunities for ALL Colorado workers.
  3. We are supporting efforts to understand and facilitate best practices for the Colorado Above Fifty Employer Strategies (CAFES) project.
    * We are co-sponsoring and participating in the February 27 “Age-Friendly Recruiting and Retaining Experienced Employees” project conference.
  4. Build and maintain the talent pipeline to ensure there will be enough educated, trained and skilled workers to meet the needs of service providers and older Coloradans.
    * While shortages are projected, those shortages are based on the way we do things today; we can do better; we can and will innovate to overcome those shortages.
    * One identified shortage is in the area of geriatric trained medical service providers, an issue being addressed with SB20-022. 
  5. Improve the financial security and preparedness of older Coloradans and their families to meet the challenges of aging.
    * One positive step in 2019 was the creation of the Colorado Secure Savings Board to study innovative, positive, approaches to increase the amount of retirement savings available to current and future generations who have no workplace savings plan and to build in secure portability between employers. 
    * Late last year, and continuing into 2020, the Attorney General, in partnership with our state Treasurer, set up a citizen Financial Security Coalition Task Force aimed at developing a statewide Consumer Protection Initiative to support financial security and protections.
  6. Coloradans must be prepared for the challenges of caring for aging loved ones without endangering their own health and well-being.
    * The crux of this recommendation is the paid family leave program debate and discussion initiated in the General Assembly last session.  That discussion continues today. We ask your help in making this a priority.

In conclusion, I thank you for your advocacy efforts here in the Capitol to help us make Colorado and even greater place to innovate and thrive as citizens of our great state.