State of Aging: Quality of Life

State of Aging: Quality of Life

Though intangible and difficult to measure, overall quality of life is an important metric in assessing the well-being of older Coloradans. While a multitude of factors contribute to quality of life, issues around safety, connectedness, and value are especially important. When speaking with community partners and older Coloradans, these issues are repeatedly called out for their general importance, but also for their connection to physical and emotional well-being. Importantly, by investing in infrastructure that supports a high quality of life and connection to others, we can prevent the need for costly interventions in the future.

The Data

Self-assessments are the most direct way to understand how older Coloradans view their quality of life. As seen in the chart below, Coloradans 60+ assess their life differently based upon both demographic and geographic factors.

Beyond the Topline

While a variety of issues play a role in quality of life self-assessments, we believe several of the most important factors (not covered in other parts of this project) relate to safety, community connections, and value. We examine a variety of issues as it relates to these factors in the chart below.

Major Takeaways

Fraud and scams are a concern for many older Coloradans. Nearly 20 percent of older Coloradans believe fraud and scams are at least a minor issue in their community. Research shows these concerns are rooted in reality, as scams are both prevalent and can have especially detrimental impacts on the lives of older adults. These findings point to the value of providing older Coloradans with the resources and supports to identify and act on fraudulent activities.

Hispanic older Coloradans self-report a lower quality of life. Most older Coloradans report a fairly high quality of life in the indicators highlighted within this section. However, upon closer examination, older Hispanic Coloradans have persistently lower quality of life ratings and are more likely to have concerns about available opportunities,  community inclusion, and connection to others.

Systems & Levers for Progress

Within this broad category, there are a variety of ongoing efforts supportive of better quality of life outcomes for older Coloradans. We explore two of the most important below: Colorado’s Area Agencies on Aging and Adult Protective Services.

Area Agencies on Aging: Colorado’s Area Agencies on Aging serve as local, centralized hubs for older adult services and supports. As a result, this preexisting network of community providers is key to offering both the opportunities and information necessary to foster higher quality of life outcomes for older Coloradans. Importantly, the services offered within this system are local and derived directly from community-identified needs, allowing for tailored area-specific solutions. We talk more about how to better support this lever on the Community of Choice page.

Adult Protective Services: Adult Protective Services (APS) is responsible for investigating various types of abuse (including physical, emotional, sexual, and financial) against at-risk adults. As seen in the graph below, our state has seen a growing number of APS cases over the past several years, which have, notably, outpaced program funding.

Concerningly, a historic lack of funding for APS services has been cited as a problem in our ability to keep up with reported need. In the coming years, we can assess the strength of this system, in part, by examining how funding keeps up with our demographic changes and the number of reported APS cases.

Skip to content