Area of Expertise: Aging

State’s demographic shift can be a boon to those who embrace it

You may have heard: Colorado’s population of older adults (that’s people over age 54 or age 64, depending who you ask) is growing rapidly. This has implications for all of us, but especially service providers, governments and professionals—whether they directly and specifically serve older adults or not. Every industry, from transportation to construction to social services, will be affected by this significant demographic shift. To benefit from it, organizations need to grasp both the big picture and the specific needs and gaps that affect their particular communities. JVA has the vision, the passion, the knowledge and the experience to guide Colorado’s changemakers through this transition.   

Preparation or reaction?

Change is happening, whether we anticipate and prepare for it or are simply forced to react. JVA can help your organization or community to anticipate shifting needs and get ahead of the curve. This way, you can continue to not only meet the needs of those you serve but also remain a leader in your sector.

JVA can give you an edge

How can JVA help with this? If you know JVA, you probably know about at least some of our service areas. But you might not know about our extensive experience applying this expertise for organizations or projects geared toward older adults. For example, you may know that we facilitate strategic planning. But maybe you didn’t know we have done so for Latino Age Wave Colorado, the NextFifty Initiative and Boomers Leading Change (now Experience Engaged).

You might know that we perform various types of evaluation to help nonprofits and other changemakers to measure the effectiveness of their programs and processes. Did you know that we worked with the Larimer County Office on Aging to assess its nutrition program and other services? Or that we spent three years evaluating the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities‘ Second Acts for Strong Communities initiative, which paired older adults with children at human services agencies in 10 cities across the country?

The JVA team has brilliantly and strategically designed an evaluation to measure impact, even creating an easy to read dashboard to help share the success stories and lessons learned. JVA’s creativity and professionalism sets a high bar in Colorado and beyond. It is a pleasure to work with JVA, especially because staff understands the complexities of aging issues in our society.

Therese Ellery, Senior Program Officer, Aging | Rose Community Foundation

At the start of the project, we had a work group of over 40 partners envisioning the project, and JVA was able to synthesize everyone’s feedback and develop a strategic roadmap.  It has enabled us to put our plans and vision into action and make progress toward our outcomes. It says a lot about how JVA understands the older adult services space. JVA has a deep understanding of community and the aging space, and I feel confident that the work we are pulling together with their support and expertise will bring successful outcomes.

Perla Gheiler, Director | Denver Office on Aging

Our other work with organizations and projects serving older adults includes business planning, a seminar on encore careers, community needs assessments and more. You can read more about our specific projects below. We’ve organized them in four categories based on their focus: 2Gen [multigenerational initiatives], Vulnerable Older Adults, Age-Friendly Communities and Older Adults as Assets.

Reach out to us anytime to discuss ways JVA can help your organization establish or maintain its edge when it comes to serving older adults!

Our experience: clients and projects

The Alliance for Strong Families and Communities

In 2016, the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities (the Alliance) and launched the three-year-long Second Acts for Strong Communities (Second Acts) initiative. Through this intergenerational initiative, the Alliance united a cohort of 10 organizations and its greater member network around promising practices and new approaches for engaging and leveraging older-adult talent. This project worked to strengthen the ability of human service organizations to meet the needs of the nation’s children and youth.

JVA’s role: The Alliance (now a part of Social Current) contracted with JVA to create and implement a formative evaluation plan to determine the viability of the Second Acts initiative. JVA designed an iterative approach to evaluate initiative efforts (i.e., process evaluation) as well as positive change affecting those connected to the initiative (i.e., outcome evaluation). The outcome evaluation assessed three levels of change—individual, organizational and sectorwide.

Colorado Governor’s Office Two-Generation Program

In 2017, Colorado’s 2Gen Statewide Conference brought together some 200 people—from local and state government, businesses, foundations, nonprofits and other backgrounds—for presentations, panel discussions and workshops on strategies for addressing poverty that engage all generations of the family.

JVA’s role: JVA authored the 2Gen Statewide Conference Summary Report and Next Steps for the Governor’s Office, summarizing key takeaways and ideas for action emerging from the two-day conference. The report serves as a key source in the state’s continued implementation of multigenerational approaches to enhance Colorado families’ stability and security.

Denver 2GO Together Forward

The Denver Department of Human Services 2GO Together Forward is a multigenerational model for working with the growing number of kinship providers in the county.

JVA’s role: DHS hired JVA in 2018 to conduct a community engagement and research project to better understand the barriers facing, and the needs and strengths of, Denver kinship families. JVA engaged with families, service providers and other community members through focus groups, surveys and interviews. Of the kinship providers participating, 64 percent identified as being grandparents of the children in their care. JVA analyzed the data and provided recommendations on the creation of a 2Gen strategy to better meet the needs of Denver’s kinship families.

Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado

The Alzheimer’s Association sought to train both nursing home staff and families in evidence-informed practices for working, interacting and communicating with people with dementia.

JVA’s role: In 2018, JVA designed and implemented an evaluation using pre- and post-training surveys to measure the effectiveness of and improve dementia training offerings for nursing home staff and families.

DenverConnect (City of Denver Office on Aging)

Just launched in April 2019, the DenverConnect van is a mobile resource designed to serve older adults, particularly those in lower-income neighborhoods, by providing access to resources and services. Its purpose is to enable older adults—regardless of ability, health or income—to age in place with dignity and respect and to thrive and contribute in their community.

JVA’s role: JVA has led the planning process for the first year of the DenverConnect van, facilitating stakeholder meetings to determine appropriate use of the van including resources and services.

Larimer County Office on Aging

In 2014, Larimer County Office on Aging (LCOA) sought to analyze and report on the County’s nutrition programs and services for older adults.

JVA’s role: LCOA enlisted JVA to assess its model of meal delivery based on cost-effectiveness and ability to meet the needs of older adults in Larimer County. Conducting key informant interviewsdocument review, financial analysis and demographic review, JVA analyzed the program and provided a final report including recommendations on service delivery, approach, structure, evaluation and communication.

City of Denver Office on Aging

The City of Denver is seeking to become an age-friendly community, as described by the World Health Organization, by 2020. As part of the planning for this milestone, the Denver Office on Aging (OoA) spearheaded a two-phased approach to identify needs, gaps and areas for improvement in services for older adults.

JVA’s role: The OoA partnered with JVA to conduct the Age Matters Needs Assessment and make recommendations under seven focus areas: housing; mobility and access; workforce; safety; arts, culture and civic participation; support services and communications. Components of this work included surveys of community agencies providing housing services and resources to older adults; surveys targeting older adults living in Denver; a report analyzing the findings; and presentation of the findings.

Adams, Arapahoe, Denver and Jefferson Counties

In 2017, four metro Denver counties—Adams, Arapahoe, Denver and Jefferson—sought community assessments with funding from the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) program.

JVA’s role: JVA was engaged to conduct all four CSBG community assessments. Each assessment was customized to fit the needs and priorities of the individual county, with JVA developing culturally relevant mixed-methods data collection processes to ensure that the process was inclusive. Each county’s data included the percentage of the population age 60 or over, the percentage of older adults living in poverty, and information on the particular challenges older-adult residents faced in each area. Final reports contained key findings highlighting each community’s unmet needs and recommending next steps for each county’s advisory boards in developing community action plans.

Latino Age Wave Colorado

In 2012, Latino Age Wave Colorado sought a multi-year community assessmentstrategic planning and development of a logic model, as well as a comprehensive evaluation system for program outcomes.

JVA’s role: JVA completed the above tasks, developing a diverse toolkit with measures including dashboards, surveys, content reviews and interviews, to ensure the outcomes in the logic model would be met over the upcoming three years, and to build capacity and innovative programs to support the wellbeing of Latino older adults.

NextFifty Initiative

NextFifty is a Colorado-based foundation that seeks, vets and funds game-changing breakthroughs to improve and sustain quality of life for people in the second 50 years of their lives.

JVA’s role: In 2017, JVA designed and implemented a strategic planning process to help this new foundation establish its funding priorities, operationalize what it means to focus on “innovation,” create funding guidelines and consider how to evaluate its impact. JVA’s work included surveys of board and staff, facilitation of a multiday strategic planning retreat and creation of a report and accompanying documents that laid out populations to be targeted, approach to innovation and risk, grantmaking strategy, investment strategy and organization structure.

Kavod Senior Life

Kavod Senior Life (Kavod) is a Denver nonprofit that provides housing and support services for older adults, reflecting the values of Jewish tradition.

JVA’s role: In 2018, JVA led a multipronged strategic planning process with Kavod. It included two facilitated sessions with Kavod’s strategic planning committee, a facilitated session with key staff members, a survey of Kavod’s board of directors, short interviews with key staff members, two focus groups with Kavod on the Road participants, one-on-one interviews with six key partners, and an environmental scan incorporating market research. This research included traditional and nontraditional housing models from across the country, as well as models being implemented across Colorado.

Brothers Redevelopment Inc.

Brothers Development is a nonprofit based in Edgewater, Colorado, that provides housing and housing-related services for the region’s low-income, older-adult and disabled residents.

JVA’s role: In 2016–2017, JVA facilitated strategic planning for Brothers Redevelopment, whose goals include supporting older adults’ efforts to remain in their homes as they age. Prior to the planning session JVA conducted surveys of board members, key staff and other stakeholders.

Boomers Leading Change

Boomers Leading Change (now Experience Engaged) works to empower adults age 50 and over to use their skills, experience, passion and energy to create social change.

JVA’s role: JVA was been involved with Boomers Leading Change (BLC) at its inception, including working with Rose Community Foundation to conceptualize the idea of this organization, creating a business plan and securing funding for the initiative. JVA then developed an evaluation that included key informant interviews, focus groups and surveys with health care providers and volunteers. Results of the evaluation were used to improve experiences for volunteers and community partners, in turn improving access to health care within the community. JVA also partnered with BLC to establish the Colorado Encore Network and facilitated strategic planning to help the board of directors generate ideas for earned-income ventures.

BLC began as Boomers Leading Change in Health (BLCiH), which sought to mobilize adults 50 and over as community volunteers. In 2015, to help BLCiH improve its training and volunteer placement process, JVA analyzed its internal data on potential, current and past volunteers, and this information was used to conduct a survey on the process. In 2015–2016, BLCiH worked with nine AmeriCorps partners to assist with the recruitment, matching and deployment of encore volunteers. JVA was hired to evaluate how BLCiH affected the AmeriCorps partners, helping to document and understand the impacts the AmeriCorps partners had on the community.

Changing the Narrative

Changing the Narrative works to increase understanding of ageism and to shift how Coloradans think about aging.

JVA’s role: JVA researched, wrote and designed a compelling white paper for Changing the Narrative, describing how Colorado can gain an advantage by making its workplaces age-friendly. JVA also designed and implemented an evaluation to measure the effects and reach of Changing the Narrative’s effort to increase awareness of issues related to ageism and aging. JVA employed pre- and post-workshop surveys, a follow-up survey, a media tracking tool to record the number of media stories about the initiative, and a meeting tracking tool to track meetings with stakeholders, advocates and partners. Survey responses were compared by workshop format, age group, urban vs. nonurban residence and grantee status.

Innovations in Aging Collaborative

Innovations in Aging strives to make Colorado Springs and El Paso County an age-friendly community that is inclusive and accessible, where all residents may live a healthy, active and engaged life.

In 2013, JVA partnered with the Innovations in Aging Collaborative to create a two-day seminar for older adults on repurposing their strengths, skills and talents for encore careers in the nonprofit sector. After the seminar, 100 percent of participants indicated in a survey that they agreed with the statement, “I have a greater understanding of the nonprofit sector because of the training.” Participants also rated the training quality, facilitator knowledge and information presentation highly.