Rocky Mountain Towns Keep Residents Informed, Nourished and Engaged

May 19, 2020

By AARP

The Response 

When in-person senior programs were canceled in March, the Aging Well Initiative shifted their information services to local newspapers and social media along with launching the  COVID-19 community monitoring dashboard — a one-stop-shop for accessing the county’s current case count and reporting symptoms. People can track how COVID-19 is spreading locally with the latest information by town, age group, and onset date of symptoms. This innovation has been replicated across the nation. 

When the town of Vail heard older residents were feeling out of the loop, they partnered with the Aging Well Initiative to create an informational postcard (pictured below) specifically tailored to older adults’ needs and questions. It describes food access programs — such as help with grocery shopping —and provides contact information for resources in the region.  

Eagle County Healthy Aging Postcard
The Town of Vail sent these informational postcards to all residents 60 and older. The cards were distributed during senior shopping hours at grocery stores and shared with other Eagle County communities

The Aging Well Initiative also created a  Transition Trail Map to help everyone understand the county’s gradual approach to reopening during three phases of restrictions. 

To address food insecurity, the number of meals available for older residents has doubled. Hot meals served twice a week at the senior center are now available for pick-up or home delivery along with two weekly frozen entrees prepared by a local caterer. In addition, they partnered with school districts to extend the grab-and-go lunch programs for students families to anyone in the county age 60 or older.   

Other services have also been modified. A senior transportation bus continues to run on a limited basis using social distancing measures. The popular exercise classes, which drew as many as 50 participants at a time, now happen via Google Hangouts. 

This story is being shared through the AARP-NLC COVID-19 Older Adult Response Initiative.  Share your story with NLC and AARP here.

The Results, Thus Far 

“We received a flood of offers from community members interested in helping older adults during this time,” Rietman says. They deliver groceries, pick up medications, bring mail back from the post office, and do other errands. Local publications have gladly circulated important information for older residents, and the on-line exercise classes have been well-attended. 

full-length interview is available on AARP.org/Livable at this link.  

Response Partners 

Eagle County
Alpine Area Agency on Aging
Local municipalities, small business owners, community volunteers and senior programs from neighboring counties 

A full-length interview is available on AARP.org/Livable at this link.

Reporting, writing and editing by AARP (Shoshana Preuss, Melissa Stanton, Jay Walljasper, Mike Watson)

This story is being shared through the AARP-NLC COVID-19 Older Adult Response Initiative.