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Aging advocacy & support

A racially diverse group of four older adults sit on a couch from left to right of man, woman, man woman. Two older adults stand behind the couch in the order of man and woman.

Understanding the challenges faced by older adults and people with disabilities in the region is crucial for elected officials tasked with creating legislation that governs their lives.

The Area Agency on Aging collaborates with organizations like the Older Americans Coalition, the Senior Lobby, the Alliance of Retired Federal Workers, AARP and the Colorado Association of Area Agencies on Aging to protect and increase state funding for older adults and people with disabilities. By forging partnerships with community service providers, the agency has effectively showcased the detrimental impact of cuts to the Older Coloradans Fund on individuals.

As mandated by the federal Older Americans Act, advocacy is a primary function of the Area Agency on Aging.

The agency is actively expanding its outreach and advocacy efforts to encompass people with disabilities and the organizations that advocate for them. Moreover, the Ombudsman Program offers support to individuals and provides systemic advocacy for residents living in long-term care facilities.

The agency's advocacy endeavors facilitate the aging process with dignity for older adults and empower people with disabilities, their families and caregivers to make well-informed decisions regarding their care. Through the Aging and Disability Resources Center for Colorado, older adults and people with disabilities gain access to valuable tools for making informed choices about their care. Additionally, they receive assistance accessing long-term services to maintain independence within the community.

Caregivers, family members, and friends can call 303-480-6700 to make inquiries and referrals.

Ombudsman Program

More than ever, people living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities need support, protection and advocacy. Improvements in and access to community services mean care facility residents are often more frail, suffer from cognitive issues like Alzheimer's and dementia, and are very ill. The Denver Regional Council of Governments Ombudsman Program serves thousands of residents living in more than 400 facilities across the Denver region. It ensures the rights of nursing home and assisted living facility residents are respected and met. This federally mandated advocacy service is free for nursing home and assisted living facility residents in the Denver region.

DRCOG also houses the Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly Ombudsman. The ombudsmen role is to advocate for participants in programs outside of a long-term care facility situation and assist participants in resolving issues related to care, health, safety, or the participants' rights. Programs of All-Inclusive for the Elderly Ombudsmen strive to resolve complaints that range from simple quality of care issues — such as a participant's preferred time to receive care — to very serious, sometimes life-threatening concerns involving abuse and neglect.

Area Agency on Aging staff visit facilities regularly to visit residents and monitor conditions. Working as advocates for residents, ombudsmen investigate complaints, assist facility staff in solving or mediating problems, and provide education about long-term care communities and residents' rights. Ombudsmen also provide advocacy for system improvements in the long-term care industry. An ombudsman is assigned to every long-term care facility in the region and can help individuals and families choose a long-term care facility or resolve any concerns facility residents, family members, facility staff or administrators may have. 

Browse the Ombudsman Program brochure for more information.