Resources for Seniors in Colorado
As a state with a slightly higher than average cost of living, seniors who reside in Colorado may encounter occasional financial challenges. To help ease the financial burden, there are many programs across the state established specifically for seniors. These programs, coupled with the beautiful scenery across the state make it a desirable place for seniors.
State Resources for Seniors
The Colorado Department of Humans Services’ Office of Adult, Aging and Disability Services provides elderly residents with access to a variety of resources. The State Unit on Aging provides resources useful to help get support services, legal assistance, senior employment, etc. Apart from access to useful and personalized resources, the Department also funds some programs, thus rendering indirect assistance to seniors. Other programs are directly administered. Seniors can get an overview of services available to them by visiting https://cdhs.colorado.gov/our-services/older-adult-services.
Dental grants/benefits – free dental care
The Colorado Dental Health Care Program is administered by the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, and is designed to help low-income seniors get affordable or free dental services. The program is for seniors over the age of 60 with income less than 250% of the federal poverty level and who are not eligible for dental services under Colorado’s Medicaid Program. A dental procedure guideline, outline costs that each senior is expected to pay for specific services is available at https://hcpf.colorado.gov/sites/hcpf/files/Covered%20Procedures%20for%20SDP%20eff.%207-1-2021_0.pdf. According to the guidelines, most services can be gotten for free, and the most expensive ones are capped at $80, resulting in savings of as much as $794.52 Additional details on this program can be found at https://hcpf.colorado.gov/colorado-dental-health-care-program-low-income-seniors.
The Senior Smiles program is another initiative that provides dental care. This is aimed at seniors living in care facilities. Dental care is provided on site so transportation is not needed. Bills are usually charged to the insurance provider, but in the absence of any insurance cover, procedures are charged at a fixed rate of $150. This includes two free exams and cleanings per year. The Senior Smiles program website is https://www.seniorsmiles.dental/, from here care facilities can book appointments for seniors in their facilities.
Health Care related resources -free health care clinics
Seniors in Colorado can apply for the federal Medicare program. This is a federal funded program dedicated to providing affordable healthcare for seniors over the age of 65. Seniors can begin to process their applications up to 3 months before their 65th birthday. Medicare can cover costs of hospital visits, inpatient care and drug prescriptions. Details of Medicare are available at https://www.medicare.gov/.
Medicare can be combined with Health First Colorado, the Medicaid program of the state. This can help reduce overall healthcare costs for Doctor’s visits, laboratory tests, etc. Seniors can apply for Health First Colorado at https://www.healthfirstcolorado.com/apply-now/.
The Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) is another program that provides healthcare for senior residents. The goal is to help them live in communities where they can socialize with other seniors and get proper attention. Comprehensive medical care is provided for eligible residents over the age 55. Restorative therapy, socialization, personal care and dining services are offered to participants of PACE. The program covers all Medicare-covered services, all Medicaid-covered services as well as several additional services necessary to support each individual participant. Monthly premiums are charged for seniors only eligible for Medicare, however, seniors eligible for Health First Colorado get free access. Additional information on PACE can be gotten from https://hcpf.colorado.gov/program-all-inclusive-care-elderly.
Seniors can also use tools like https://www.freeclinics.com/sta/colorado to find free hospitals and clinics close to their location.
Charities and Organizations that help seniors
Kavod is a charity in Colorado that provides seniors with various essential services. Kavod has assisted living facilities to help elderly residents who require care. Transportation and feeding services are also provided for seniors. Seniors who desire to live independently are also catered for. Dining services are provided, along with housekeep and laundry services, etc. Kavod’s services are for residents over the age of 62. Seniors can visit https://kavodseniorlife.org/ to get more details on the programs and services offered.
The Salvation Army is another popular charity that meets several needs. Seniors can turn to the Salvation Army for feeding assistance, help with accommodation, clothing needs, etc. A comprehensive directory of the services of the Salvation Army can be accessed at https://denver.salvationarmy.org/.
A Little Help is another nonprofit that helps seniors in Colorado live independently. This organization is made up of volunteers around the state who provide necessary services to seniors around them. A Little Help offers a wide range of services including, transportation assistance, care visits, snow removal, etc. Seniors can visit https://www.alittlehelp.org/ to get in touch and request for assistance.
Financial Assistance in Colorado
Residents of Colorado aged 65 and above may qualify Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. The SSI program is run by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and provides monthly payments to income eligible seniors across the country. The funds are intended to be used for the basic needs of food, clothing and shelter, and the amount may vary depending on the senior’s income and living arrangements. More information can be gotten from https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/ssi/#:~:text=The%20Supplemental%20Security%20Income%20(SSI,who%20meet%20the%20financial%20qualifications.
Colorado offers an Old Age Pension (OAP) program for seniors through the Colorado Office of Economic Security. This program is designed to supplement other income benefits that the senior may be receiving. The OAP grant is only available to seniors aged 60 years and above. The grant amount can be up to $821 per month. An information sheet on the program is available at https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Mk6RHryydxNI_1PtCaFm6PHHIu_UeY6A/view.
Food Assistance – free food
The Colorado branch of Volunteers of America coordinates a Meals on Wheels program in the state. Prepared meals are delivered to the homes of eligible seniors. These meals are served along with fruits, vegetables, milk, bread, etc. necessary to meet at least one-third of the recommended daily nutrients. Meals provided are lean and have low fat and cholesterol content to help maintain good health. Seniors are encouraged to make a contribution to the program if they are able, although this is not compulsory and would not affect their service in any way. This program serves only residents who are at least 60 years old. For more details, and to check eligibility, visit https://www.voacolorado.org/gethelp-denvermetro-foodnutrition-mow.
Community Food Share runs a food program for seniors called Elder Share. The aim is to assist low-income or homebound seniors get necessary nutrition by providing them with free groceries. Milk, meat, eggs, fresh produce, shelf-stable foods, etc. are provided twice a month to the seniors for sustenance. Elder Share is only available to residents who are at least 60 years old. Further program information can be found at https://communityfoodshare.org/get-food/senior-food/.
Eligible seniors may also benefit from the Everyday Eats program run the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS). This program provides non-perishable food items to income-eligible seniors in the state. Beneficiaries can get a package with canned food, cereal and diabetic-friendly meals. These items are meant for consumption through the month and are intended to be complete and healthy meals. Seniors can simply visit any of the pickup locations with a valid ID and get assistance. For more information, visit https://cdhs.colorado.gov/CSFP.
CDHS also has other initiatives that deliver meals to seniors in need. Congregate meals are available at senior centers, community housing, senior apartments, etc. Home-delivered meals are also available for seniors who are homebound and unable to access good food. In both of these cases, nutritious cooked food is provided to help meet daily needs and maintain a healthy life. Visit https://cdhs.colorado.gov/our-services/older-adult-services/state-unit-on-aging/nutrition-services-for-older-adults for more information.
Housing – home repair grants
Seniors who live in Bent, Crowly and Otero counties can get assistance for the Tri-County Housing and Community Development Corporation. The organization provides funding which can be used to make repairs or modifications to the home for seniors to live safely, and sometimes fund are provided to assist with down payments when purchasing a new home. Seniors can visit http://www.tchcdc.org/programs.aspx to learn more about the offerings available.
Northeast Colorado Housing serves Logan, Morgan, Phillips, Sedgwick, Washington, and Yuma Counties, providing a wide range of services. Loans are available to cover maintenance and home repairs, down payment on a new home, modifications for medical needs, etc. Seniors can contact Northeast Colorado Housing on their website https://northeastcoloradohousing.org/.
Colorado Springs also offers a home repair program known as Housing Development. This program provides grants for low-income seniors to carry out rehabilitation of their homes and improve their housing conditions. Funds are also available through the Emergency Repair Program. This is aimed at providing financial assistance to remedy conditions that pose an immediate threat to the health and safety of home occupants. The amount gotten depends on the type of repairs that need to be carried out. Overall details of various repair programs in Colorado Springs are available at https://coloradosprings.gov/community-development/page/home-repair-programs?mlid=30896.
Apart from county specific initiatives, the Single Family Housing Repair Loans & Grants in Colorado provides loans and grants to eligible seniors across the state. Seniors under the age of 62 are only eligible for loans, however, those aged 62 and older qualify for grants which can be used to repair their homes or get rid of health concerns around the home. Grants given can be up to $10,000, while loans have a maximum limit of $40,000. To access more information on this program, visit https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/single-family-housing-programs/single-family-housing-repair-loans-grants/co.
Weld County residents over the age of 60 can take advantage of free transportation provided by 60+ Ride. This is an organization that gives transport assistance to seniors, helping them get to appointments and shopping destinations. Services are offered every day, but are subject to the availability of volunteer drivers. For best availability results, seniors are encouraged to book their rides 2 weeks in advance. 60+ Ride does not charge for the transportation service provided. Interested seniors can find more details on https://60plusride.org/transportation-assistance/.
Silver Key provides transport assistance services to seniors who reside in Colorado Springs and the surrounding communities. This is known as Reserve and Ride. Although the services are free, seniors are encouraged to make a donation of up to $3.50 if they can afford it. The transportation provided comes with mobility aids for disabled seniors and seniors can get a ride to various destinations including medical appointments, social events, senior centers, etc. Seniors can visit https://www.silverkey.org/services/reserve-ride/ to get more details on the program.
Denver residents can get discounted fares of up to 50% on buses and trains. Seniors can register under the Regional Transportation District (RTD) to obtain a Special Discount Card. They can then present this card, a photo ID showing their age or a Medicare card to qualify for the fare discounts. More fare discounts can be found at https://www.rtd-denver.com/fares-passes/discount-fares.
Help with Utility Bills
The Colorado Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) is an aid program funded by the federal government to help residents who are unable to meet up with their heating costs. LEAP alleviates the burden associated with paying for home energy costs, along with providing assistance for equipment repair. LEAP beneficiaries do not receive cash, rather, a credit is applied to their energy account. Colorado seniors interested in LEAP can visit https://cdhs.colorado.gov/leap.
Energy Outreach Colorado provides emergency financial assistance for utility bills through the Bill Payment Assistance program. The program helps pay for past-due utility bills to prevent disconnection. Seniors can apply for this assistance through various local agencies around the state. A directory of the supporting local agencies is available at https://www.energyoutreach.org/find-agency/.
Colorado’s Affordable Residential Energy (CARE) program helps reduce utility bill costs by providing energy-efficient upgrades to homes. Seniors who apply for this program can have modifications made to their home to reduce their energy consumption, thus lowering utility bill costs. Interested seniors can apply at https://www.energyoutreach.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/CARE-Application_2020_Fillable.pdf.
Seniors in need of urgent assistance relating to heating can apply for the Crisis Intervention Program (CIP). CIP provides emergency heating assistance in the form of repair or replacement of heating systems at no cost. Seniors can get assistance withing 24 hours. More information is available at https://www.energyoutreach.org/cip/.
Customers of Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) can also apply for Project COPE. This is a program run by the utility company in collaboration with several charities to provide assistant with utility bill payment. Resident seniors can apply at https://projectcopecs.org/get-help/index.html
Grants for Senior Veterans
The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) operates the Unmet Needs program. This is a financial assistance program that provides grants of up to $1,500 to pay for basic living expenses. Payments are made directly to the creditor where possible and can cover things like rent, utilities, etc. Interested veterans can apply online at http://www.vfw.org/UnmetNeedsApplication.
Veterans and their spouses may also qualify for accommodation at one of the Veteran Housing Facilities in the state. These facilities provide housing and medical care to eligible veterans to make life easier for them. Veterans in these facilities have access to short and long-term care services to help them age with dignity. Wheelchairs and mobility aids are also available for disabled veterans at the facilities. Veterans can visit https://cdhs.colorado.gov/our-services/older-adult-services/veterans-community-living-centers for more information