09.21.19

Disabled seniors may feel overlooked in fitness-obsessed Boulder County

Boulder County has a reputation as a great place to age well, with people in their 70s, even 80s, crossing the finish line at the BolderBoulder, cycling local trails or walking the track at rec centers across the county.

Less visible are the 60% of the 65-plus population with a mental or physical disability, according to U.S. Census figures. That compares with 7.8% in the county’s population as a whole.

“They lose their vision or hearing, they lose their mobility,” said Chris O’Brien, director of development and communications for the Center for People With Disabilities in Boulder.

Yet, they may be slow to claim their disability, he said.

“In our ever-young culture, they don’t necessarily want to identify as people with disabilities. Part of our job and mission is to dispel the stigma.”

Circle of Care works to end social isolation in Boulder County through the arts, culture and intergenerational community engagement. That’s particularly important, said Chris Dirosa, a program manager with CPWD, because embarrassment keeps people from seeking support and services that they are entitled to.

“There’s sometimes this mentality that not all disabilities are
viewed equally,” Dirosa said. “Obviously there are varying needs, but disabilities are disabilities. We work hard to make sure people
receive the same amount of support.”
 

by Chris Barge