Garfield County Council on Aging can help seniors be heard |

Garfield County Council on Aging can help seniors be heard

Heidi Rice
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

RIFLE, Colorado ” Seniors in the valley who have issues they would like addressed are encouraged to come to the next Garfield County Council on Aging meeting on Sept. 30.

The council has been around since 1968 but would like to see more seniors get involved.

“We’re looking for people to come to the meetings,” said Mary Jane Hangs, who is chairperson on the council. “The main purpose of the council is to be the eyes and ears of the seniors in our community. People need to get involved today if they want to make any changes.”

The Older American Act defines seniors as people older than 60. The Garfield County Council on Aging wants to look out for the interests of seniors, but also the future of younger seniors.

“We’ve got a booming aging population,” Hangs said. “”We need people to come and tell us what they think. They don’t have to come to every meeting, if they want, they can be put on the newsletter list.”

Mickey Neal is a member of the council and a former co-director of Senior Programs, of which the transportation and nutrition programs were recently taken over by the county from Colorado Mountain College.

“We want to know the concerns of seniors in the county and what their nutrition and transportation problems are,” Neal said. “But we also have a local political arm in the Senior Matters group in Carbondale.”

The county is currently in the process of forming a board for seniors, which will have representatives from each of the municipalities, as well as the Garfield County Council on Aging, CMC, the Rifle Senior Center and the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority.

“Basically, this board will give great advice to the commissioners on what seniors need,” Neal said. “The board will voice concerns from an area of the population that doesn’t sometimes speak out and have a good voice.”

Judy Martin, the new director of Senior Programs, says they are also intertwined with the council on aging.

“We’re separate entities, but we work together closely,” Martin said. “I want to make sure we service the seniors in Garfield County and provide them with what they want and need. But we need to hear from them concerning what programs are working and what’s not working.”

The next meeting will be held at 9:30 a.m. on Sept. 30, at the Rifle Senior Center.

“I know for some people, coming to a meeting is not their favorite thing to do, but even a phone call is OK or an e-mail,” Martin said.

And for those who don’t have transportation, a ride can even be arranged.

For more information about the Garfield County Council on Aging or to submit comments, contact Hangs at 876-2271, Neal at 625-3393 or Martin at 945-9191, ext. 3061.

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