Danielson: Critical Services for Senior Citizens

By State Rep. Jessie Danielson

Colorado has one of the fastest growing populations of senior citizens in the entire country. It is estimated that by the year 2021, our state will have more than 1,350,000 citizens aged 60 or older. Here in Jefferson County, the elder population is one of the highest, and is growing steadily. We must continue to provide critical services for older Coloradans so that they are able to live at home and independently. This includes the right to a safe and secure retirement.

During the 2015 legislative session I sponsored several bills that promoted the rights of senior citizens. The CARE Act (HB 15-1242) assures hospital patients the right to have a caregiver present with them both throughout their stay in the hospital, and when receiving critical instructions upon release. I also sponsored legislation to combat elder abuse that unfortunately was opposed by the Republican leadership in the state senate. I was recently asked to speak at the Jefferson County Senior Law Day because of my commitment to end elder abuse. This annual event, sponsored by Jeffco’s District Attorney’s Office, includes educational seminars and workshops designed to help our neighbors with issues and challenges we face as we age. Elder abuse prevention was one of the topics covered, and I appreciate the DA’s office putting on such an important event. More than 600 residents participated, showing our community is committed to helping seniors.

I will continue to work with stakeholders across Jeffco and in the legislature to reduce elder abuse – both physical and financial. That is one critical way we can work to provide a safe and secure retirement for older citizens.

As Coloradans live longer, they have more time to grow our economy, develop and enhance our communities and spend more time with their families. It also means we need new ways of thinking about the challenges of economic security for retirees. A new report reveals that nearly 1 in 3 Americans don’t have access to workplace retirement benefits. It’s a problem that will only get worse unless we work on ways to help Coloradans save for the future.

One obstacle to progress is the fact that 45 percent of Colorado’s private sector workers have no retirement savings plan available through their employer. One way to help promote retirement security is to establish state-based retirement savings initiatives for these employees.

Creating the opportunity to save means a more secure future for Colorado’s retirees, and will help save taxpayer dollars by reducing stress on our social safety net.
During the next legislative session, I plan to work on expanding retirement savings options for employees who might not otherwise have access to a retirement saving plan. This is how we help plan for a brighter future, create more opportunity for economic security for Colorado retirees and tackle the challenges facing an aging population.

State Representative Jessie Danielson represents Northern Jefferson County at the State Capitol. To reach Rep. Danielson or for information about upcoming Town Hall events, please call her at 303-866-5522 or visit www.jessiedanielson.com.

op-edRachel Caine