Denver Commission on Aging Meeting – August 20th, 2020

Subjects covered:

Denver Connect paid through DRCOG is still covering funds for transportation of elderly. Transition from Senior Resource to Via Mobility Services is slow going–trouble hiring. Transportation from a neighborhood to a bus line or light rail is a problem. Discussion of gaps in services. Getting from city to rural or vice versa is also a problem. RTD as well as the City of Denver has huge budget cuts into 2021.

City Recovery Plan went to the Mayor 8/14 – covering such issues as food insecurity, homelessness, evictions (working with Office of Financial Empowerment on the eviction issues). City workers, when they return to offices, will be on an Orange/Blue team rotation, and the Office on Aging is moving from the 2nd floor to the 7th floor in much tighter spaces.

AARP Colorado brought up some items that might be on the 2021 legislative agenda – i.e.  Security Savings Plan which gives everyone the ability to save through workplace as social security is not ample- – $2 billion cuts for 2021. Medicaid could get cut substantially. Medicare recipients must apply for Medicare once they turn 65 – some aren’t or don’t know they need to do so. Affordability Board working with drug companies to bring down drug costs. Working on public option to make available by insurance companies to offer more affordable insurance. Bell Policy Center is working on/investigating age discrimination bill. There is also money available in the Cares Act.

Independent Institute is placing a referendum on the ballot to cut income tax. Paid Family Leave is slated to be on the ballot too.

There was much of discussion of getting older adults to vote. AARP is doing a flyer and a billboard about voting. County Clerk’s office is allowing volunteers to collect up to 10 ballots to be dropped at voting boxes or sites such as recreation centers or libraries. There are also going to be 4 different radio spots covering voting and drop places for ballots.

Advocacy Committee is focusing on 4 areas 1) Workforce and ageism; 2) Resources and Budgeting – support older adults, Homestead exemption, Telehealth and accessible resources; 3) Transportation improvements – medical and non-medical resources, friendly bus routes, etc;  RTD cuts to service were arbitrarily/ priorities set last June; 4) Intersection of Ageism/ Racism – legislation that benefit BIPOC

Need to monitor not only what Colorado Legislature is doing, but need to include what City Council is proposing, so that the Commission can advise the Mayor, too.

Outreach Committee- Denver Connect van goes into neighborhoods with information about what is going on in city, resources available to citizens, etc, i.e., SNAP, LEAP, and mentioned Center for African American Health. Olga Garcia will re-institute a calendar of events beginning September.

Denver Human Service has funds available to help older adults when they don’t have or qualify for Medicaid.

The City wants to hear from the Commission if they know/learn of any city facility, i.e. recreation center, park, etc., that may have a name connected to it that is inappropriately named in violation of human rights objections.

Vaccines, when available– what will the priority structure be –, i.e. first responders, etc.  Also, will there will be a charge for the vaccine or is there no charge? AARP is working with Medicare to add the vaccine as benefit – no charge.