Tuesday, May 20, 2008


As part of Older Americans Month, Gov. Bill Ritter signed three bills into law today that enhance services for older Coloradans and people with Alzheimer's disease.
"Colorado's senior population is growing quickly, and the demand for services is rising as well," Gov. Ritter said. "The older-adult population is projected to double, from 561,000 in 2004 to 1.2 million in 2020. Almost one of every 10 Coloradans is 60 or older; by 2020, that figure will grow to one of every five Coloradans. The bills I'm signing today will help us keep our promises to older Coloradans, enhance their quality of life, and provide funding for vital community and in-home services."
House Bill 1108 (Riesberg/Morse) will increase state funding to the Older Coloradans Fund by $3 million. These funds pay for community-based services through 16 area Agencies on Aging all around Colorado such as Meals on Wheels, transportation and in-home medical services.
"Because of our changing demographics, we can't afford to fall behind," Rep. Jim Riesberg said. "This funding is necessary to ensure we continue to move forward with services to enhance the quality of life for all seniors."
"This bill is so important not only because it makes fiscal sense, but also because it is just the right thing to do – keeping seniors in their own homes," Sen. John Morse. "It makes the most sense for the seniors, their families and for taxpayers."
Senate Bill 131 (Morse/Buescher) increases funding by $2.1 million to the state's Old Age Pension Fund. The additional dollars will be used to increase and stabilize provider rates and maintain the program's provider network.


SB 58 (Boyd/Riesberg) creates the state Alzheimer's Coordinating Council, which will identify policy and program responses to address the growing impact of Alzheimer's disease in Colorado. Alzheimer's afflicts about 75,000 Coloradans, and the number is expected to almost double by 2025.
"Alzheimer's disease is consuming more and more of our health care dollars in Colorado," Sen. Betty Boyd said. "This bill will help create a road map to the most effective treatment for the disease and provide much-needed support to caregivers."

"The only way we will ever begin to make significant improvements in the delivery of care is for everyone to work together and learn how we can help each other," Rep. Riesberg said.