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Lakewood meeting discusses concerns about senior housing

A town hall meeting recently held in Lakewood allowed senior citizens to discuss questions with lawmakers regarding housing for the elderly. The panel of lawmakers included two Colorado state senators and two state representatives, as well as the director of the Colorado division of housing and a program manager from the Denver Regional Council of Governments. State Senator Andy Kerr stated that he has received a large number of emails and calls regarding senior housing lately and that Colorado citizens seem to be particularly concerned about it.

Topics discussed ranged from senior housing design to long term care planning. The director of the Colorado division of housing discussed matters such as the physical accessibility of senior housing, as well as how to solve the disparity between high housing costs and low income. The panel also discussed the changes that are happening in the industry, as well as how residents of assisted care facilities can be protected. The lawmakers also fielded questions dealing with Medicaid, living center regulations and how to effectively transition between home life and living in senior housing.

The representative from DRCOG discussed her previous work in helping senior citizens find the best facility for them. She talked about how terminology is changing. For example, she stated that assisted living centers are now much more like what nursing homes used to be in the past. Nursing homes now have much more of a hospital-like environment.

As the business of senior care grows and changes, Colorado residents will need to stay abreast of how these facilities affect their loved ones. Whether a person is entering a rehabilitation center or a nursing home, it's important for them to understand how their condition will affect not only their well-being, but their finances and assets as well. It can be beneficial to seek legal guidance regarding an elderly or disabled relative in order to protect them during a time when they're very vulnerable.

Source:  ourcoloradonews.com, "Lawmakers talk senior living" Clarke Reader, Nov. 05, 2013

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