Skip navigation

Paying online?

The City of Denver recently implemented a security enhancement to better protect our online payment processing system.  As a result of this enhancement, we are no longer able to accept payments from non-current browsers. If you are using an older browser version, please upgrade your browser to the most current version so that you can access the online payment service.



The Denver Coordinated Workgroup is made up of experts from the field of aging who are committed to creating and sharing information in order to guide people to the services they need to thrive as they grow older. The Workgroup believes everyone deserves access to accurate information so they can make decisions that work best for them. From legal aid to transportation, dental to respite care, we hope these guides give people a place to start in looking for and understanding services.

The Denver Coordinated Workgroup is an initiative of the 2010 Age Matters Report produced by the Denver Office on Aging.


Dental Care

Printable Document 

Taking care of your teeth and gums as you get older is an important part of maintaining overall health. Dental care focuses on prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases of the teeth and gums. A general dentist can provide preventative care and maintenance. If more advanced care is needed, they can refer you to a specialist.


How do I get this?

Medicare – Medicare does not cover routine dental care but may cover disease-related services like those needed to treat oral cancer. You may have dental coverage through supplemental insurance or an Advantage Plan. To find out, call the customer service number on the back of your health insurance card. If you would like to purchase supplemental insurance or an Advantage Plan, call your local Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP) office at 1-888-696-7213. You may only be able to purchase this type of coverage at certain times of the year.

Private Pay - Some people purchase dental insurance – contact your local Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP) office at 1-888-696-7213 to ask about options.  If you have dental insurance, call your insurance company to find out what services are covered.  Also, the front desk person at your dental clinic may be able to help explain your benefits.  Click the link below to see a list of dentists – always check to make sure the dentist accepts your insurance.

Colorado Dental Association - Find a Dentist:

Public – There are public programs that help with the cost of dental care.  You usually have to go through an application process to see if you are eligible. 

●        Medicaid / OAP - Depending on your income, you may qualify for Medicaid to pay for your dental care.  The Colorado Medicaid Dental Program is run through an agency called DentaQuest. Those who receive Old Age Pension (OAP) also receive limited dental benefits through DentaQuest. If you already receive Medicaid or OAP, contact DentaQuest to learn more about your coverage: 1-855-225-1729 -- you will need to have your Medicaid ID handy.  To find out if you qualify for Medicaid or OAP, you can:

○        contact your county Department of Human Services for eligibility guidelines and an application

○        visit to complete an application online

●        The Colorado Dental Health Care Program for Low Income Seniors provides services for older adults who do NOT qualify for Medicaid but who make less than 250% of the Federal Poverty Guideline.  In 2016, you need to make less than $2,475/month for a 1-person household or less than $3,337/month for a 2-person household. Call 1-800-221-3943 for more information and a list of providers in your county. You can also find a list here: -- click on “Grantee Appointment Information by County page”


Veterans - You may be eligible for services. Call your Denver County Veteran Services Office (VSO) at 720-944-3500.  You may also call the Colorado Division of Veterans Affairs: 303-284-6077 (Denver location) or 303-914-5832 (Lakewood location).

Community - Private and public organizations periodically assist in special circumstances. For more information, call your Area Agency on Aging / Aging & Disability Resource Center: 1-844-265-2372 (statewide).  You can also call the Colorado Gerontological Society at 1-855-293-6911 for other options.

Make a Difference Day – This event has a variety of services for those who do not qualify for other programs or assistance. Call Colorado Gerontological Society (CGS) at 303-333-3482 for more information about the next Make a Difference Day.

Things to consider                                               

If you need to have expensive dental work done, ask for an estimate for the services before they are provided to you.  Once you have an estimate, you can see a different dentist to ask for a second opinion.  Then you can decide which which is best and most cost-effective for you.

If you plan on applying for financial assistance to help cover your dental costs, do NOT start your dental care until you submit an application and receive an answer as to whether or not you’re approved for assistance. Often, financial assistance will NOT cover care that has already been started so it is important to plan ahead. Note: if you have a dental emergency, seek care immediately.

Most people go to a dentist office for routine care. There are also mobile clinics that may offer services in your area. If you are homebound, some dental hygienists will come to your home for teeth cleanings. 

Need more assistance or want to talk with someone?

●        Aging & Disability Resources for the Denver Metro Area: 303-480-6700

●        Aging & Disability Resources for Colorado: 1-844-265-2372

●        Colorado Gerontological Society: 1-855-293-6911

●        Eldercare Locator (a national hotline for aging resources all over the US): 1-800-677-1116


Who provides dental care and how they are licensed:

Dentists are licensed to practice dentistry with either a DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) or a DMD (Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry, or Doctor of Dental Medicine).  These degrees are the same – it just depends on what the university calls their program.

Dental hygienists are licensed to clean teeth and gums.  They also teach you how to take care of your mouth at home.  Their professional organization is the Colorado Dental Hygienists’ Association:

Dentists and dental hygienists must renew their licenses every other year:

Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies - Verify a Professional License

Dental assistants work closely with dentists on certain dental procedures and often help with tasks before and after the dentist meets with you.

To file a complaint about a dental professional:

Colorado State Board of Dental Examiners


Click on these links for more information:

Mouth Healthy (from the American Dental Association for consumers):

Frequently Asked Questions – Colorado Dental Association:

Hearing Care

Printable Document 

Hearing loss usually happens gradually so you may not notice it at first. It is important to see your doctor regularly if you notice any changes in your hearing.  Hearing tests and hearing aids are expensive and not covered by most insurance.  Once you have hearing aids, consider adding them to your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy so that if they are lost or damaged in your home, you can get them replaced.  

How do I get this?

Medicare - Medicare does not cover routine hearing tests or hearing aids. However, if your doctor or other healthcare provider orders a hearing test or balance exam because they suspect your hearing problems are related to a medical condition, then your care may be covered. These exceptions can be complicated – work with your doctor’s office to be sure you understand your coverage.       

You may have hearing coverage through a supplemental insurance or an Advantage Plan – these are purchased in addition to original Medicare. Call the customer service number on the back of your health insurance card to find out if you have coverage.

To purchase supplemental insurance or an Advantage Plan, call your local Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP) office at 1-888-696-7213. You may only be able to purchase this type of coverage at certain times of the year.

Medicaid ‐ Medicaid does not cover hearing care for individuals over the age of 20 unless you have a cochlear implant that you received when you were younger and now need it replaced. If you are on Medicaid, visit Use the options on the left side to select “audiologist” and search by your location to get a list of providers in your area.

Veterans ‐ Call your Denver County Veteran Services Office (VSO) at 720-944-3500.  You may also call the Colorado Division of Veterans Affairs: 303-284-6077 (Denver location) or 303-914-5832 (Lakewood location).

Community - If you plan on applying for community financial assistance, do NOT start your hearing care (get a hearing test or order hearing aids) until you submit an application and receive an answer as to whether or not you’re approved.

    Colorado Gerontological Society: 1-855-293-6911

    Provides limited assistance for hearing tests and hearing aids; may be able to refer to other assistance

    Area Agency on Aging / Aging & Disability Resource Center: 1-844-265-2372 (statewide)

    May be able to refer to other assistance

    Marion Downs Hearing Center / Center for Hearing, Speech and Language: 303-322-1871

    Hearing tests, hearing aids and other hearing-related services for those with and without insurance. If you don’t have insurance, you may qualify for financial     assistance. Call to see if you are eligible; will also take private pay.

    Hearing Rehab Center: 303-502-9720

    Hearing tests and hearing aids as well as other hearing-related services for those with and without insurance; multiple locations around the Denver metro area.      Payment plans available.

Things to consider:

  • Add hearing aids to your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy so that if they are lost or damaged in your home, you can get them replaced.

  • Ask for a quote for hearing tests or hearing aids before you receive them so you are aware of how much they will cost.  You can always ask a different clinic for a second opinion and compare costs.

  • Keep hearing aids out of reach of dogs and cats – they love to chew on them!

  • If you go to the hospital, make sure to tell the nurse you have hearing aids in and be sure they record and keep them somewhere safe while you are being treated!

Need more assistance or want to talk with someone about resources?

  • Colorado Gerontological Society: 1-855-293-6911

  • Aging & Disability Resources for the Denver Metro Area: 303-480-6700

  • Aging & Disability Resources for Colorado: 1-844-265-2372

  • Community Helpline: 2-1-1

  • Eldercare Locator (a national hotline for aging resources all over the U.S.): 1-800-677-1116

Who provides hearing care and how they are licensed:

Otorhinolaryngologists are doctors who specialize in medical problems and care of the ear, nose and throat. They are also known as ENT doctors. An ENT doctor is trained in general medicine and completes additional training to become board certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology. Some receive further credentialing to perform surgical procedures. Verify a doctor’s certification at

Audiologists are specialists trained in hearing loss, testing, and treatment options. An audiologist can fit hearing aids and make other suggestions for other devices that may help your hearing. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association offers certification and continuing education. Find an audiologist in your area at

Hearing Aid Specialists provide basic hearing tests, counseling, and fits and tests hearing aids. They usually work in hearing aid provider stores. The National Board for Certification in Hearing Instrument Sciences provides continuing education and certification to them. Find a hearing aid specialist in your area at

Click on these links for more information:

Eye Care & Low Vision Resources

Printable Document 

Our vision changes as we age. Some eye diseases that cause vision loss have no symptoms. That’s why it’s important to receive yearly eye exams to maintain your eye health. If more advanced care is needed, your eye doctor can refer you to a specialist.

How do I get this?

Medicare – Medicare provides limited coverage when it comes to eye care depending on your risks and medical conditions:

  • Routine Eye Exams:

  • A yearly exam for those with diabetes

  • A yearly exam for those at high risk for glaucoma (which includes having diabetes, a family history of glaucoma, if you are 50-years+ and African American, or if you are 65-years+ and Hispanic/Latino)

  • Diagnostic tests and treatments for some people who have macular degeneration

  • Eyeglasses or Contact Lenses: Medicare may cover eyeglass lenses (frames not included) or contact lenses once a year for those who have had cataract surgery.

  • Medical Procedures/Surgery: Medicare may cover surgeries that are medically-necessary including cataract surgery.  Be sure to talk to your eye doctor about what is covered before scheduling surgery.

You may have eye care coverage through supplemental insurance or an Advantage Plan – these are purchased in addition to original Medicare.  To find out if you have this kind of coverage, call the customer service number on the back of your health insurance card.  If you would like to purchase supplemental insurance or an Advantage Plan, call your local Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP) office at 1-888-696-7213.  You may only be able to purchase this at certain times of the year.

Private Pay ‐ Some people purchase private insurance. If you have vision insurance, call your insurance company to find out what services are covered. Your eye doctor’s office can also help explain your benefits. Call your local Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP) office at 1-888-696-7213 to find out more about private vision insurance.

Medicaid ‐ Depending on your income, you may qualify for Medicaid to pay for limited eye care.

  • Eye exams are covered for “problem-focused” visits.

  • Glasses are covered only after eye surgery

  • Contact lenses are only covered if there’s a medical reason

  • Other vision aids are covered with prior authorization

Contact your county Department of Human Services for eligibility guidelines and a Medicaid application or visit to complete an application online. If you are on Medicaid, visit Use the options on the left side to select “optometrist” or “ophthalmology,” and search by your location to get a list of providers in your area.

Veterans ‐ You may be eligible for services. Call your Denver County Veteran Services Office (VSO) at 720-944-3500. You can also call the Colorado Division of Veterans Affairs: 303-284-6077 (Denver location) or 303-914-5832 (Lakewood location).

Community ‐ For financial assistance options, call your Area Agency on Aging / Aging & Disability Resource Center: 1-844-265-2372 (statewide) or the Colorado Gerontological Society at 1-855-293-6911. If you do not have vision insurance and are not on Medicare, Prevent Blindness has a list of lower cost options:

If you plan on applying for community financial assistance, do NOT start your vision care (get an exam or order your eyeglasses) until you submit an application and receive an answer as to whether or not you’re approved for assistance. Often, financial assistance will NOT cover care that has already been started, so it is important to plan ahead.

A3 – Adapt, Adjust, Achieve offers personalized, respectful support for people going through vision loss. Their services may include in-home help to learn how to maintain independence, adaptive aids from talking watches to magnifying devices, support groups, and Orientation & Mobility (O&M) training to encourage successful independent living.  303-831-0117 or 888-775-2221;

Colorado Center for the Blind offers an Independence Training Program (ITP) for people experiencing vision loss including: home management, cane travel, Braille, and computer and adaptive technology. They also offer support groups and in-home training for older adults.  303-778-1130 or 800-401-4632;  

Assistive Technology Partners provides a list of assistive technology funding resources, one-on-one assessments/consultations on how to use adaptive devices, and a device exchange program through the University of Colorado College of Engineering & Applied Science. 303-315-1280;

Audio Information Network of Colorado gives people with vision loss have audio access to printed materials like newspapers, magazines, grocery ads and other local publications. English and Spanish are available. 303-786-7777 or 877-443-2001;

Talking Book Library provides recorded, Braille, and large-print books and magazines on loan. 303-727-9277 or 800-685-2136;  

Things to Consider:

Remember that you can always ask for an estimate for any recommended eye care before you receive services. This way, you can seek a second opinion to compare costs before making a decision.

Need more assistance or want to talk with someone about resources?

  • Community Helpline: 2-1-1

  • Aging & Disability Resources for the Denver Metro Area: 303-480-6700

  • Aging & Disability Resources for Colorado: 1-844-265-2372

  • Eldercare Locator (a national hotline for aging resources all over the US): 1-800-677-1116

Who provides eye care and how they are licensed:

Optometrists are licensed with a doctor of optometry (OD) degree. They provide primary vision care which includes routine eye exams, vision tests, and fitting of glasses and contacts. An optometrist is not a medical doctor.

The National Board of Examiners in Optometry - Verify a Professional License:

Ophthalmologists are medical doctors who have graduated from medical school and completed specialized training. They diagnose and treat eye diseases, perform eye surgery, and fit glasses and contacts.

American Board of Ophthalmology - Verify a Professional License:

Opticians are trained to design and fit glasses and contact lenses. They use prescriptions provided by ophthalmologists and optometrists. They do not perform vision tests, diagnose or treat eye diseases.

Click on these links for more information:

American Academy of Ophthalmology:


Senior Housing Options

Printable document

A Guide to Housing Options for Older Adults
A Jefferson County, Colorado Aging Well Project
Created by the Housing Workgroup

The mission of the Housing Workgroup is to develop, advocate and implement strategies that increase a wide range of affordable, available, appropriate and accessible housing options for older adults in Jefferson County. In this booklet you will find different types of senior housing found throughout the country. The Housing Workgroup would like to encourage that these types of housing options be created in Jefferson County, Colorado.
For more information contact human • 303-271-1388


Single Family

Multi-level homes
Traditional house on a single lot, zoned single family. Two story or more, split level, etc. Can be built on-site, factory-built or modular connected on-site.

Benefits of this option: 

  • Creates space for individual uses divided by levels
  • Allows people to remain more active

Affordability of this option:

  • Varies widely by location and region.

Single level homes
Traditional house on a single lot, zoned single family often referred to as ranch style or patio home. One story, no stairs inside. Can be built on-site, factory-built or modular connected on-site.

Benefits of this option:

  • Can be affordable
  • Allow seniors to age in place
  • Efficient option for lifestyles and needs
  • Many are poised to add additions
  • Accessible to people of all abilities
  • Great remodeling potential

Affordability of this option:

  • Many ranch style homes are smaller, older and outdated which may offer an opportunity to own a home for less.


Modular/Manufactured/Mobile Homes
Manufactured, modular and mobile homes can be very similar. Although many people use the terms interchangeably, the code the home is built to can have an effect on the location the home is placed, the finance options, the tax implications, etc.

Modular homes - are built in sections or modules in a factory to exact specifications. Prefabricated modules are set onto the building’s foundation and joined together to make a single building. The modules can be placed side-by-side, end-to-end, or stacked, allowing a wide variety of configurations and styles in the building layout. Modular Homes are different from manufactured homes in two ways. First, modular homes do not have axels on a frame and secondly, modular buildings must conform to all local building codes for their proposed use.

Manufactured Homes - are homes built in a factory and transported to the home site in sections on their own wheels and joined on site at their destination. The wheels can be removed but the frame stays in place. Local building codes do not apply to manufactured homes: instead, these homes are built to specialized guidelines (Federal HUD standards in the United States) for manufactured housing. They can include RV units.

Mobile homes - are factory-built homes that were: 1) built before June 15, 1976, and 2) not built to a uniform construction code.

Benefits of this option:

  • Can be low cost, affordable and lowers monthly living costs
  • Modular homes are constructed to the same state, local or regional building codes as site-built homes
  • Modular and manufactured homes are built in a factory setting and can be built in less time and more closely supervised than a site-built home 

Affordability of this option:

  • Factory built manufactured and modular homes typically take less time to build and cost less for labor and material cost than an onsite built home. The cost of a manufactured or modular home is sometimes 5% to 10% less per square foot than a similar size on-site built home. When downsizing from a family home, an empty nester may find that a manufactured or modular home is a more affordable housing option, built to higher standards and is more energy efficient than a site-built home.



Attached or single-family homes along one or more pedestrian streets or clustered around a courtyard. They range in size from 7 to 70 residences, the majority of them housing 20 to 40 people. Part of the planned construction includes a large dining room and kitchen, lounge, recreational facilities, children’s spaces, and frequently a guest room, workshop and laundry room. Co-housing provides a collaborative living arrangement where community members work together to care for the common property building a sense of cooperation, trust and support.

Benefits of this option:

  • An intentional, collaborative housing option in which residents actively participate in the design and operation of their neighborhoods
  • Designed as a multi-generational or age specific neighborhood that encourages both individual space and social contact
  • Private homes contain features of conventional homes, but residents also have access to extensive common areas such as courtyards, open space, playgrounds and a common house

Affordability of this option:

  • Energy costs are reduced with co-housing’s environmentally friendly structures, shared resources, and sustainable approach.


Pocket Neighborhoods
Grouping of smaller residences, often around a courtyard or common garden, designed to promote a close knit sense of community and neighborliness with an increased level of contact. Considerations involved in planning and zoning pocket neighborhoods include reducing or segregating parking and roadways, the use of shared communal areas that promote social activities, and homes with smaller square footage built in close proximity to one another.

Benefits of this option:

  • Houses are smaller, can be more efficient and less costly for utilities
  • Emphasis on walking rather than driving
  • More environmentally friendly and sustainable due to higher density
  • Opportunity to down-size to a beautifully designed home (average around 1000-1800 SF) with a garden and common areas while maintaining privacy
  • People must walk through common space to access your home, thus promoting social interaction

Affordability of this option:

  • Currently cost per square foot tends to be quite high, but costs can be kept reasonably priced if cost of land can be kept within reason.


Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)
Separate residence built within or detached from the main home, designed or configured to be used as a separate dwelling unit and has been established by permit. Usually requires owner to live in one of the units.

Benefits of this option:

  • Ability to move in with or near family
  • Owner may remain on their property and rent out the ADU or main structure to supplement fixed income
  • Allows aging in place
  • Can house a caretaker
  • Delays institutional living which is costly to tax payers
  • Creates economic stimulus
  • Less expensive than building a new home or institutionalization

Affordability of this option:

  • This option may be affordable to some seniors depending on the construction, size and complexity of the project.


A condominium is one of a group of housing units where each homeowner owns their individual unit space, and all the dwellings share ownership of areas of common use. The individual units normally share walls. The main difference in condos and regular single homes is that there is no individual ownership of a plot of land. All the land in the condominium project is owned in common by all the homeowners.

Benefits of this option:

  • Condos are usually located within walking distance to shops, restaurants and other places of interest
  • Some condos have resort-like amenities, such as pools and fitness centers, that would be cost-prohibitive in a house
  • Condos are an attractive choice because of their convenience and low-maintenance lifestyle
  • Since associations fees cover the exterior and many of the expensive components of the structure, maintenance is limited to the interior of the dwelling 

Affordability of this option:

  • Prices vary based on location and region. Home owner association fees can influence affordability.


An apartment building or complex of buildings contains a number of individually rented living units. They can be age restricted (55 and older, 62 and older), non-age restricted, affordable or market rate.
For income eligible individuals, HUD (Housing and Urban Development, a federal agency) offers subsidized apartments where rent is 30% of adjusted income. Many apartments have waiting lists—it is best to complete applications at several complexes to move more quickly up the waiting list. Tax credit funded building rents are based on a percentage of Area Median Income (AMI) and vary. “Affordable housing” typically means rents are geared toward persons with low incomes. “Market rate housing” typically means rents that are competitive within a community and based on what the market will allow and not on other sources of funding (HUD or tax credits).

Benefits of this option:

  • Have own individual living space
  • Have neighbors for security and socialization
  • Maintenance is provided 

Affordability of this option:

  • Rents vary depending on whether the apartment complex is market rate or subsidized.


Care Facilities

Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC)
This model has a campus consisting of Independent Living, Assisted Living, and Skilled Nursing. They typically offer some amenities associated with retirement living such as exercise rooms, craft rooms, and hair salons. CCRCs guarantee lifetime housing, social activities and increased levels of care as needs change.

Benefits of this option:

  • For those wishing to have the security of knowing they could remain in the same community for the remainder of their life, a CCRC, can be ideal
  • All needs including social and physical can be addressed 

Affordability of this option:

  • Varies greatly. Some are based on rental, some are purchased, and some are a lifetime investment. Some facilities require a large entry fee in addition to a monthly maintenance fee.


Assisted Living Residences (ALR)
State licensed residences offering assistance with Activities of Daily Living (medication monitoring, dressing, bathing), three meals per day, 24/7 oversight and social activities. They normally have Levels of Care that offer a variety of extra services often for an additional monthly fee. They range in size from three persons to over one hundred. Smaller ALRs are often times referred to as Personal Board and Care homes.

Benefits of this option:

  • Provides a less restrictive environment than a nursing home
  • Is less expensive than a nursing home
  • Offers a wide range of services and multiple levels of care.  This allows for greater flexibility as one becomes more fragile and requires higher levels of care. 

Affordability of this option:

  • The cost of Assisted Living in the Denver metro area can range between $3,000 - $8,400 per month. The most common ways to pay for long term care are private funds, long-term care insurance, veterans benefits and Medicaid.


Memory Care
(can be within a Skilled Nursing Facility or stand alone facility)
Memory care is a distinct form of assisted living and/or long-term skilled nursing that specifically caters to patients with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other types of memory problems. Also called special care units (SCUs), memory care units usually provide 24-hour supervised care within a separate wing or floor of a residential facility or SNF and facilities are always secured. They require an additional license from the state as the medical personnel are trained for the special needs of dementia.

Benefits of this option:

  • Assisted living provides a less restrictive environment than a nursing home
  • Living in a residence that is specifically operated and designed for those with dementia related illnesses ensures that a resident is cared for in a manner that is appropriate and secure
  • The needs of the patients are often more related to cognitive issues than physical 

Affordability of this option:

  • Costs can be quite high due to the skill level required by caretakers who are trained to work with those with dementia; but typically not as costly as a nursing home.  Assisted Living Residences providing memory care that are Medicaid-approved are in short supply.


Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF)
These state-licensed long-term care facilities offer 24-hour medical care provided by registered nurses (RN), licensed practical nurses (LPN) and certified nurse assistants (CNA). They also are required to have a “house” physician. This facility cares for frail residents who are totally dependent on 24 hour skilled nursing care. This facility typically has a short-term rehabilitation unit for residents needing rehab between hospital and home.

Benefits of this option:

  • 24/7 skilled care by professionally trained medical personnel
  • Provides a safe environment
  • Help with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)
  • Can provide a rewarding environment
  • Provides complete nutritional meals

Affordability of this option:

  • The average cost of Nursing Homes in Colorado is $230/day. Nursing Homes costs range from $173 to $650 per day depending on location and other factors. When personal resources are exhausted, many people apply for Medicaid at which time, their monthly income goes to the nursing home and Medicaid pays the difference.


Household Model
(Subset of Skilled Nursing Facility)
A Household Model is skilled nursing consisting of households of 14-20 residents, with each household having their own kitchen, dining room, living room and often the extra small cozy spaces you’d find in any home (den, patio, front porch). It creates a small scale environment typically within a larger scale nursing home and combines all Activities of Daily Living in one setting. Each household has decision- making autonomy, i.e. residents bathe when they want and eat when they want. Every household is consistently staffed.

Benefits of this option:

  • Resident-centered model is highly appealing to many
  • Ability to have choice in one’s life is beneficial
  • Smaller number of staff in a more home-like environment within a larger nursing home
  • Staff know and understand the resident well, creating many positive results
  • Receive all of the benefits of skilled nursing care
  • The households may share resources between households and with the larger nursing home

Affordability of this option:

  • Same cost as a nursing home. The average cost of Nursing Homes in Colorado is $230 per day. Nursing Homes costs range from $173 to $650 per day depending on location and other factors. When personal resources are exhausted, many people apply for Medicaid at which time, their monthly income goes to the nursing home and Medicaid pays the difference.


Green House
(Subset of Skilled Nursing Facility)
Similar to the Household Model, operated by a nursing home, Green Houses are free standing, independent structures. They feel, look and operate like a family home rather than an institutional nursing home. Ten or so residents live together and get individualized care for all activities of daily living from nursing staff that knows them well, including cooking their meals in an open country-style kitchen. Residents have a choice in decorating their own room, sleeping schedules, activities, etc.

Benefits of this option:

  • Resident-centered model is highly appealing to many
  • Ability to have choice in one’s life is beneficial
  • Smaller number of staff in a more home-like environment
  • Staff know and understand the resident well, creating many positive results
  • Receive all of the benefits of skilled nursing care

Affordability of this option:

  • According to U.S. News and World Report, April 4, 2013: Only about 20 percent of Green House living units are occupied by people who pay market-rate prices. Most occupants are on Medicaid or other assistance programs.


Community Options

Home Sharing
Home Share is a shared living arrangement that helps older adults to continue to live independently in their own homes. A housemate pays reduced or no rent (or other compensation) and provides some companionship, security, light housekeeping and/or other assistance. One would want to interview and conduct a background check on the person they would share their home with.

Benefits of this option:

  • Can provide companionship for an older person
  • Can provide rental income
  • Can provide security
  • Can provide caretaking or other assistance 

Affordability of this option:

  • Cost varies depending on the arrangement made between the homeowner and the housemate.


Adult Foster Care Homes/Elderly Care Group Homes
An Adult Foster Care Home (AFCH) is typically in a traditional single-family home structure which has been modified to provide a supportive environment for seniors to share living space. Licensing regulations for AFCH’s differ from state to state, but generally Adult Foster Care Homes provide on-site supervision 24/7, room and board and have a limit to the number of residents allowed. In Colorado, Adult Foster Homes are only available to those on Old Age Pension, Aid to the Needy Disabled and people receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Benefits of this option:

  • Older adults are provided residence in a family type setting
  • Supportive services are provided including 24/7 supervision

Affordability of this option:

  • In Colorado, the reimbursement rates are quite low. The reimbursement rate for Old Age Pension clients is $588 per month and $613 for Aid to the Needy Disabled and Supplemental Security Income clients. Colorado has few, if any, of these types of homes due to the low reimbursement rate.


Village Model
Villages can serve a single family, multi family or mobile home community. They are non-profit organizations based on individual memberships and dues available to homeowners within a specific geographical area. They enable older residents to remain in their own homes without having to rely on family and friends. Members of a Village can access specialized programs and services, such as transportation, home health care, or help with household chores, as well as a network of social activities with other village members.

Benefits of this option:

  • Affordable, flexible, grass roots and community-centered
  • Engages local volunteers, controlling Village costs
  • May provide transportation, help with minor household chores and repairs
  • Social connection, less isolation, healthier eating
  • Avoids or delays the need for long term care, assisted living or skilled nursing
  • Uses existing housing stock
  • Saves government expenditures on Medicare, Medicaid, VA, and housing  

Affordability of this option:

  • The national average for dues are $600 per year, with the balance of financial support provided by tax-deductible donations, business underwriting and grants.


Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORC)
NORCs serve single family, multi family or mobile home communities. They are non-profit organizations and differ from Villages in that there are no membership dues. They enable seniors to stay in their own homes and access local resources, services and activities. They often exist in lower income areas. A NORC may be as small as a single urban high rise, or it may spread out over a larger suburban area.

Benefits of this option:

  • Residents are informed about where to go for community resources
  • Residents report that their physical and/or mental health improved due to being involved in the program
  • Facilitates self-determination and community building by helping to arrange social activities, lectures, fitness classes, etc. as selected and scheduled by residents
  • Helps to arrange care management, transportation, counseling, health screenings
  • Connects residents with medical entitlements including Medicare,Medicaid, and prescription drug benefits
  • Provides information and referral for various services

Affordability of this option:

  • To set up a NORC in a community can range from being free if there are volunteers to develop it to about $100,000 per year for a caseworker(s), transportation services, activities, oversight, etc. A NORC can function on its own with volunteers usually after about 3 years of creating the structure.


Niche Communities
Can be single family, multi family or mobile houses. Amenities may or may not be included in the planning of the community either before or after construction. According to AARP, a “niche community” is a community where people who share similar lifestyles, background or interests live together or within close proximity to one another. Today’s niche communities are geared to healthy adults but often have an assisted care component. The fastest-growing niche community sector is university-based retirement communities.

Benefits of this option:

  • Can remain independent
  • Ability to live with other like-minded people
  • Ability to remain in one’s home
  • Assisted living or in-home care could be shared with others in the community 

Affordability of this option:

  • Remaining in one’s home, even if some in-home care is needed, is more affordable than living in an institution. Affordability depends on the type of home in the community, maintenance requirements, taxes, and style of home.


Home Modification
By making some home modifications to increase safety and accessibility and upgrade the decline of a home, a person can live in place longer. Steps, both entry and inside the home, are the most indicated safety hazard. Other home safety features include: wider doorways and walkways, two handrails on each stairway, accessible toilet and bathing areas and handhold or grab bars at strategic locations.

Benefits of this option:

  • Ability to remain in one’s home
  • Can remain independent
  • Maintain sense of community in neighborhood and town or city
  • Remain close to resources, e.g. doctors, friends and family

Affordability of this option:

  • Remaining in one’s home, even if some in-home care is needed, is more affordable than living in an institution. Affordability depends on the type of home in the community, maintenance requirements, and cost of home modifications, which can range from a minimal amount for grab bars to $2500 for a ramp to $20,000 or more for a bathroom renovation.

In-Home Supportive Services
In-home support services enable a person to remain in their own home. It provides some socialization to an isolated person as well as providing some respite to the primary caregiver. Services range from minimal housekeeping to grocery shopping to meal preparation to providing assistance with personal hygiene and other needs.

Benefits of this option:

  • Ability to remain in one’s home and community
  • Can provide some socialization to an isolated older person
  • Can remain independent as possible
  • Can remain close to resources, e.g. doctors, friends and family

Affordability of this option:

  • Remaining in one’s home, even if some in-home care is needed, is more affordable than living in an institution. Affordability depends on the services that will enable the person to remain at home ranging from a few hours per week to full-time health care. One may qualify for HCBS, Home and Community Based Services, which are subsidized.


More Information:

Brothers Redevelopment, Colorado Housing Connects

DRCOG’s Network of Care
303-480-6700 or 1-866-959-3017

Colorado Housing Search

Brothers Redevelopment, Home Maintenance and Repair Department

Seniors’ Resource Center



Printable Document 

Different transportation options are available to help you get to the things you need and enjoy, especially if you decide to stop driving.  This can be a big change.  Many people find they need to plan their trips differently and be creative about how to get around.  No matter what you choose, make sure to let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back.


What are my transportation options?

Denver Regional Mobility & Access Council (DRMAC) has a transportation helpline to answer your questions about what options are available to you: (303) 243-3113.  Their “Getting There Guide” with a list of ride options (English and Spanish) is available online at  

Public Transportation

Taxis – Prices for rides are generally based on the length of your trip.  Taxi drivers are not able to help you in and out of the car but some companies offer services to people with disabilities if you mention this when you schedule your ride.

Uber and Lyft – Uber and Lyft are similar to taxi services but you use a smartphone to schedule and pay for rides.  Drivers are screened with the company’s own federal and county background checks. Drivers use their own vehicles.;

RTD buses and lightrail – (303) 299-6000;
Costs for public transit vary depending on how far you go.  Monthly passes and specialty trips to sporting events or other cities like Boulder or Glenwood Springs are available. Discounts are available to people with Medicare, adults 65+, and people with disabilities – to find out about these discounts, call (303) 299-2667 or visit  RTD also has a commuter train which runs between downtown Denver and Denver International Airport.  

RTD SeniorRide picks up groups of ten or more people from a single destination to travel to select community events for a fee.  Note: Passengers of any age can use this service.  Call (303) 299-6503, email senior.ride@rtd‑, or visit for more information.  

Additionally, RTD SeniorShopper provides rides to go shopping for people with Medicare, adults 65+, and people with disabilities for a fee. Groups of ten or more are picked up at older adult housing complexes and community centers. SeniorShopper is only available on weekdays (holidays excluded).  Use the SeniorRide contact information above for this service.

RTD ACCESS-A-Ride is an accessible bus available to those who cannot use regular bus and lightrail routes due to having a disability. Your destination must be within ¾-mile of the regular routes.  (Regular routes are referred to as “fixed routes”).  ACCESS-A-Ride can provide door-to-door service – meaning they will pick you up at an outside doorway and help you to the bus – during the same hours when the fixed-route buses and lightrails are running. You’ll need a medical referral to apply. Call (303) 299-2960 or visit

Quick Tip: If you have a smartphone, you can download free apps that will let you plan and schedule rides.  Call your carrier for instructions on how to download apps.


Community Options for Older Adults 60+

Seniors Resource Center provides free transportation services to older adults (60+) to medical and dental appointments, grocery, and personal trips.  Rides must be scheduled in advance over the phone.  For Adams, Arapahoe, Broomfield, Denver and Jefferson counties, call (303) 235-6972.  For unincorporated Jefferson County, Clear Creek and eastern Park County, call (303) 679-2552.  Donations are appreciated.

Broomfield Easy Ride Senior Transportation -- (303) 464-5534 -- offers free transportation services to older adults to medical appointments, the Broomfield Senior Center and to the grocery store.  Personal appointments and special trips are provided as able.  

Douglas County First Call -- (303) 660-7519 -- Douglas County residents 60+ may call for free rides to medical/dental appointments, grocery shopping trips, meal sites, adult day centers and other personal trips.

Via offers free rides to medical appointments and meal sites for residents of rural Adams County (Brighton, Bennett, Strasburg and Watkins) on weekdays.  Via also offers travel training on transportation options in the Denver metro area to older adults and people with disabilities.
Call (303) 447-2848 or go to

Volunteers of America offers free rides to residents 60+ of Clear Creek and Gilpin counties on weekdays for medical and dental appointments, grocery shopping, meal sites, and local priority trips such as to the nursing home, laundromat, cemetery and polling stations.  Rides must be scheduled in advance.  Clear Creek residents call (303) 567-2382.  Gilpin residents, call (303) 582-5444.  


Medicare & Medicaid

Medicare Part A covers 80% of the approved amount for medically necessary emergency ambulance rides. Medicare only covers rides to the closest, most appropriate medical facility. If you choose to go to a medical facility farther away, the extra cost will be passed on to you.

When you get an ambulance for a non-emergency situation, and the ambulance company thinks that Medicare may not pay for your ambulance service, the company must give you an “Advance Beneficiary Notice of Non-Coverage” so you are aware that you may be responsible for the full cost of the ride.

To file an appeal against Medicare for non-payment, call KEPRO at 1-844-430-9504 for assistance.

In some cases, Medicare covers non-emergency, medically necessary ambulance rides – for example, travel to get diagnosed for a health condition when other forms of transportation aren’t appropriate for you.  Call 1-800-MEDICARE or the number on the back of your health insurance card to find out more.

Medicaid Rides to Medical Appointments -- Medicaid provides rides to medical appointments.  You must be approved before using this service and schedule these rides in advance.  Call: 1-855-264-6368.

Medicaid Non-Medical Rides -- If you have Medicaid under Home & Community-Based Services (HCBS) or another waiver, you may be eligible for non-medical personal trips, for example rides to the grocery store, meal sites and adult day programs.

You must be approved by Medicaid before using this service.  Once you’re approved, schedule rides 48-hours in advance.  To learn more, talk to your Medicaid case manager – these are by county.  For Adams, Arapahoe, Denver and Douglas counties, call Access Long-term Support Solutions: 1-800-511-5010. For Broomfield, Clear Creek and Gilpin counties, call Adult Care Management at (303) 439-7011.  For Jefferson County, call Jefferson County Options for Long Term Care at (303) 271-4216.

Veterans - Call the Colorado Division of Veterans Affairs to see if there are transportation services available for you: (303) 284-6077 (Denver location) or (303) 914-5832 (Lakewood location).


Transportation safety

Transportation companies are regulated by the State of Colorado through the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) at (303) 894-7855 or online at

To file a complaint about a transportation company including concerns about safety, rates, insurance, and quality of service issues, call 1-800-456-0858 or go to

Why might the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) ask me to take a re-examination to keep my driver’s license? 

  • When you have two accidents within three years of each other.
  • If an immediate family member or medical provider feels, for medical reasons, you may be unsafe to drive. (They must write a letter to the DMV to request re-examination).
  • When a law enforcement officer files an incident report requesting re-examination. 

For more information, call (303) 205-5600 or visit

Colorado’s Guide for Aging Drivers and their Families and AARP Driver Safety class information can be found here:

Need more assistance or want to talk with someone about resources? 

  • Denver Regional Mobility & Access Council (DRMAC) Transportation Helpline: (303) 243-3113
  • Aging & Disability Resources for the Denver Metro Area: (303) 480-6700
  • Aging & Disability Resources for Colorado: 1-844-265-2372
  • Community Helpline: 2-1-1
  • Eldercare Locator (a national hotline for aging resources all over the U.S.): 1-800-677-1116

Meals and Nutrition Resources

Printable Document 

Food Banks: places where you can go to get fresh food and dry goods to make your own meals

Commodities: shelf-stable food items given to you to make your own meals

SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program): an assistance program for those with qualifying low incomes that gives you money on a card to purchase food items; this program is offered through your county Department of Human Services and used to be called “food stamps”

Community Meal Sites: places you can go to sit down and have a meal; some of these are only for people 60+ and others are for anyone who is interested or in need

Delivered Meals: frozen or hot meals delivered to your door; some of these programs are for people 60+ or people with certain medical conditions 

How do I get this?

Food Banks, Community Meal Sites and SNAP

Hunger Free Colorado
(855) 855-4626
Food resource helpline that can give you a list of food banks and community meal sites in your area as well as which food banks will deliver to your home. Will also help you complete an application for SNAP (AKA food stamps). 
Call Monday-Friday 8am-4:30pm

Mile High United Way
Call 2-1-1 or text your zip code to 898-211 for food banks and other nutrition resources in your area. 
Call Monday-Friday  8am-5pm

Quick Tip: In order to receive food/commodities from a food bank you will need to at least have a photo ID and proof of your address (like a utility bill). Some places require that you bring proof of income too.  Call the food bank before you arrive to see what documentation they require.
If you do not have an ID or proof of address, you can get meals at congregate/community meal sites. Call Hunger Free Colorado or Mile High United Way 211 for locations.

SNAP: Apply for SNAP online at  (available as a smartphone app)
Note: SNAP recipients are also eligible for the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) program which helps pay for heating/electric. Call Energy Outreach Colorado for more information: 1-866-432-8435.

Delivered Meals

Volunteers of America Meals on Wheels
(303) 294-0111
Free hot or frozen meals delivered to older adults 60+ Monday-Friday. Serves Arapahoe, Clear Creek, Denver, Douglas, Gilpin and Jefferson counties.  There may be a waitlist; donations appreciated.
Call Monday-Friday 8am-5pm

Senior Hub 
Meals on Wheels 
(303) 426-4408
Serves Adams County. Free hot or frozen meals delivered to older adults 60+ Monday-Friday. There may be a waitlist; donations appreciated. Will also deliver a restaurant meal Monday-Saturday for approx $9 each.
Call Monday-Friday 8am-5pm

Project Angel Heart 
(303) 830-0202
Free meals delivered to those who with a current diagnosis of a life-threatening illness (including cancer, HIV/AIDS, end-stage renal disease, congestive heart failure or multiple sclerosis) AND who have documented difficulty preparing or accessing healthy meals due to illness, treatment, side effects or another disability.  There may be a waitlist; donations appreciated.
Call Monday-Friday 8am-5pm, Saturday 9am-3pm
(requires professional referral)

Delivered Groceries

Must be present to accept delivery; no need to tip driver 

King Soopers
(303) 778-5464
Grocery delivery service for the Denver metro area.  Place order online with $10.95 delivery charge or over the phone (for additional $9.95 order fee). $50 minimum purchase; call to see if they deliver in your area (generally will deliver within 20 miles of a store). 
Deliveries made during a 2-hour timeslot: 8am-10pm, 7 days a week

Grocery delivery service for the Denver metro area.  Must place order online with $7-10 delivery charge; $30 minimum purchase; will usually bring groceries inside the house. 
Call Monday-Friday 7am-7pm; deliveries available 7 days/week

Grocery delivery service for the Denver metro area; type in your zip code online to see if they deliver to your address. Must place order online; $49 minimum purchase and approx $9.95 delivery fee.  Delivery fee waived for orders over $150.
Deliveries made 7 days a week, 9am-10pm

Instacart is a website where you can order groceries (including pet food) from participating stores in your area.  Orders must be placed at least 2 hours in advance; delivery fees range from $7.99-9.99 (Fee waived for first delivery).
Hours vary by store

Other Resources 

Denver Urban Gardens (DUG)
(303) 292-9900
Seasonal garden plots are available for rent to have a place to grow your fruits and vegetables. Cost is $10-75/plot for the season depending on location; scholarships available.
Call Monday - Friday 9am-5pm

Denver Food Rescue
(720) 675-7337
Rescues food that would otherwise go to waste and delivers it to partnering organizations for you to pick up for free.  Call or visit their website for location information.
Call Monday - Friday 8am-5pm

Quick Tip: Depending on where you live, private chef services may be available to you.  Look online to find services in your area.

Things to Consider:

  • Churches, religious organizations, and some nonprofits have meals for their communities. They may also deliver holiday baskets of food.  Call to find out more information.

Need more assistance or want to talk with someone about resources? 

  • Community Helpline: 2-1-1
  • Aging & Disability Resources for the Denver Metro Area: 303-480-6700
  • Aging & Disability Resources for Colorado: 1-844-265-2372
  • Eldercare Locator (a national hotline for aging resources all over the US): 1-800-677-1116

Click on these links for more information:

Food Bank of the Rockies:

Senior Resource Guide:


In Home Health Care Road Map

Printable Document 

In-home care becomes necessary when circumstances such as illness, cognitive decline, frailty or injury make it difficult to remain safe and comfortable in one’s own home. There are two levels of in-home care available -- skilled or medical, and non-skilled or non-medical.  You may require services from both types, or services could be provided by one or the other depending on your level of care needed.

How do I get this?

Use the list below to identify regular tasks and determine what you can do by yourself, what your family and friends are able to help with, and what is not being done. Once you have identified what you need help with, use these tasks to write a job description for what your in-home worker will be paid to do. This list is also helpful if you hire an agency which will create a care plan based on these tasks.


  1. Bathing – standby or hands-on assistance with bathing in tub, shower, or bed.
  2. Personal (Non-Skilled/Non-Medical) Care – assistance with dressing, brushing teeth or denture care, shaving, hair care, foot care and grooming needs. 
  3. Skilled (Medical) Care - care by a licensed nurse (or someone working under a licensed nurse) to manage medical needs including wound care, catheter changes and setting up medications.
  4. Medication Assist – reminding and/or assisting an individual to take medications correctly.
  5. Toileting – assistance with toileting or incontinence products.
  6. Ambulation – help walking, using a wheelchair, or other assistive device.
  7. Transfers – assistance movement from wheelchair, tub, bed, toilet, automobile, etc.
  8. Positioning – turning or changing an individual’s position to avoid discomfort or injury.
  9. Range of Motion – providing assistance in movement of legs and arms as directed by a physician or physical therapist.
  10. Eating and/or Feeding – assisting with eating.
  11. Meal Preparation – preparing nutritious meals to eat immediately or reheat later.
  12. Errands/Appointments – transporting or escorting to shopping, appointments or errands.
  13. Housekeeping – maintaining a safe, sanitary environment with a special focus on kitchen, bathroom and laundry.
  14. Supervision – providing protective supervision for individuals who are not safe if left alone because of confusion or poor judgment.


Frequently Used Terms:

As you begin the search for an in-home worker, you may hear some terms which are unfamiliar to you. These terms can give you an idea of the level of care you may be looking for. Be aware that some are used by home care agencies to assign costs.

  1. Activities of Daily Living (ADLs): These are specific activities that individuals must perform with or without assistance to live independently including bathing, dressing, eating, etc.
  2. Companion – A companion provides social contact, going along on walks or errands.
  3. Homemaker - Housekeeping, grocery shopping, laundry/linen changing, and meal preparation (but no personal care).
  4. Personal Care - Dressing, bathing, hair care, ambulation, medication reminders and other non-skilled personal care needs.
  5. Personal Care Assistant (PCA) – can help with personal care needs (like bathing and management of incontinence) but cannot provide services that a licensed nurse must perform.


Paying for In-Home Care and Finding In-Home Workers

There are several methods of paying for in-home help. Try to investigate all of the options below to determine if you qualify for financial assistance.  If you need assistance exploring options, contact Aging & Disability Resources at 303-480-6700 to speak with an aging specialist.

1. Hiring Through an Agency: There are many agencies offering private paid in-home services. Using an agency will save time and the interviewing process because they have a pool of vetted workers to choose from. Agencies also handle wages, taxes, timesheets, insurance coverage and management of having someone in your home. In addition to your worker, a care coordinator from the agency will have contact with you regularly to update your plan of care.

Each agency conducts their background checks differently which you’re encouraged to ask about. Services are typically structured based on the level of care you require, and you may pay more per hour. Agencies may also have requirements for a minimum number of hours. Some may offer a sliding fee scale.

2. Direct Hiring: Directly hiring a privately paid in-home worker may save you money and be more flexible in choice of schedule and worker.  However, it is more work to screen, interview, file taxes, insure and hire. You may not have a backup if your worker gets sick and you are responsible for all supervision and management.

If you decide to hire privately, you must follow state and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) laws and have obligations in record-keeping for your in-home worker.  Also be aware that accidents can happen to your worker while working in your home and you are liable. Contact your homeowners insurance company to learn about liability coverage. Contact the IRS and state taxing authority to understand your responsibilities for hiring a private worker.

3. Health First Colorado - Home and Community Based Services (HCBS): These are state-funded Medicaid programs offering in-home care to individuals needing personal care who meet income and resource guidelines. You must qualify financially as well as functionally based on your care needs.  Apply through your county Human Services department for the financial application and through your county’s Single Entry Point for the functional assessment:

County Departments of Human Services

Adams                  (303) 287-8831
Arapahoe            (303) 636-1130
Broomfield          (720) 887-2200
Clear Creek         (303) 679-2365
Denver                 (720) 944-3666
Douglas                (303) 688-4825
Gilpin                    (303) 582-5444
Jefferson             (303) 271-1388


Single Entry Point Offices

Access Long Term Support Solutions - (877) 710-9993
Adams, Arapahoe, Denver, Douglas

Adult Care Management - (303) 439-7011
Broomfield, Clear Creek, Gilpin

Jefferson County Options for Long Term Care - (303) 271-4216

4. Private Insurance: Some long-term care insurance policies provide coverage for in-home care. If you have this type of insurance, talk to your company to determine eligibility.

5. Medicare-Covered Home Health Services: Medicare provides limited, intermittent coverage for skilled/medical in-home care as prescribed by a physician to people who are homebound. It does not pay for personal care or homemaker services such as help with toileting, cooking, housekeeping, etc. Bathing help may be included while skilled care is being provided.  For more information, call 1-800-MEDICARE.


Hiring an In-Home Worker

The best way to find a worker or home health agency is to get a recommendation from a family member, friend, or a trusted resource. Your place of worship or an organization you belong to may also be helpful resources.

Begin by checking on the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment’s website to be sure the home health agency you’re considering is licensed:

Also review the agency’s licensure record and any recorded deficiencies: click on “Inspection & Occurrence Findings”, select city or county, payment source and press “Start Search”.  Click on the agency.  Select “Occurrence Investigative Reports” and health surveys. 

Setting up a Job Description and Contract

The purpose of a job description or contract is to clarify the duties and responsibilities of both the employer and the worker. You will want to know for yourself:

  • Hours needed
  • A brief description of duties
  • Preferences such as non-smoker or male/female
  • Hourly rate you would like to pay

Having a formalized agreement is essential if there is a dispute about salary, hours of work, tasks, etc. If you hire an in-home worker through an agency, they will create the contract.  If you hire a private individual, you will need to create the contract and job description. 

A contract/job description can always be revised or updated as needed. It is important to be as specific as you can in a contract to lessen the chances for confusion or disagreement. If the job involves special skills such as lifting into the bathtub or giving medications, the worker should be trained and experienced in those skills.

Arranging an Interview

When contacting possible agencies or workers, ask a few questions on the phone before setting up an interview. For example, ask about their work/business history and other experiences. Once you have decided which applicants or agency meets your qualifications, schedule the interview.

For your own safety, arrange for a friend or family member to be there for your first interview if you are hiring directly.  Usually in-home agencies will send out a representative to assess your needs and create a contract before they assign a worker to you.  You can ask the agency representative to be present the first time your worker comes to your home.

Have your sample contract or list of tasks ready to give to the applicant or agency representative. Write down the name, address and telephone number of the applicant or agency. Below are some suggested interview questions. Feel free to make up your own list for your particular needs.

  • For agency: What kind of insurance do you take? Medicaid? Medicare?
  • For agency: What kind of backup coverage do you have if my worker is sick or on holiday?
  • Where have you worked before? What kinds of things have you done?
  • Have you ever provided care for a person similar to what this job requires?
  • How do you feel about cooking and eating what someone else wants?
  • What is the minimum/maximum number of hours a day you can work?
  • How do you handle people who are angry or upset?  How do you resolve conflict?
  • Why are you choosing to do this kind of work?
  • What makes you uncomfortable or angry?
  • What is your attitude about smoking, drinking, or using drugs?
  • Is there anything in the job description which you would not do?
  • What commitment to staying on this job are you willing to make?
  • What training/certifications do you have? (CPR, First Aid, CNA, Fundamentals of Caregiving, etc.)
  • Please give me three references: two work-related and one personal.

If the applicant is obviously unsuited, be non-committal about future contact. Remind a suitable applicant that you will need to check references before making a decision.  Review the following checklist before ending the interview:

Interview Checklist 

  1. Was the person on time for the interview?
  2. Was his/her appearance and grooming appropriate for the occasion?
  3. Did the applicant and I agree on the terms and conditions of the contract?
  4. Do I need to modify my contract before employing this person? How?
  5. Did I get at least three references to call to verify his/her ability to perform needed services?
  6. Did I say when I would notify the applicant of his/her acceptance or non-acceptance?
  7. Do I have the name and number of the applicant/agency?
  8. Did I feel comfortable or at ease with the person?
  9. Did I note anything that made me uncomfortable? (dress, speech, behavior, etc.)
  10. If the job involves special skills (such as lifting into the bathtub or cooking diabetic meals), will the worker require specialized training?

Checking References - never hire someone without checking references!

Before making a hiring decision, call at least three references to learn more about the applicant. Briefly describe why you are looking for a worker and ask the reference if the applicant would be a good match for your situation.

Questions to Ask References: 

  1. How long have you known ______________? Dates? In what relationship?
  2. Is ___________working for you now? Has ______ worked for you in the past? If no longer working for reference, ask: Why did ________ leave? Would you re-hire?
  3. What was ______’s position with you? Can you tell me more about his/her responsibilities?
  4. How did_______ get along with you and/or others?
  5. What were your impressions of _____ as a worker?
  6. Did _______ show initiative or wait to be told what to do?
  7. Did you find _______ reliable, trustworthy and honest?
  8. Was _______ punctual and dependable?
  9. What were his/her strengths and weaknesses?
  10. Were you aware of any problems with drugs or alcohol?
  11. Any other problems that could interfere with ______’s performance?

Supervising In-Home Workers

Once an applicant is offered the job and accepts, the agreement should be signed before the worker starts. Then a start date is chosen.  Each party should have a copy of the signed agreement.

Here are some tips for supervising your newly-hired worker: 

  1. Make a list of the steps for each task, including preferences for cleaning products and supplies to be used, the locations of these items, and reminders of parts of the task which could be overlooked, for example, "please separate the white wash" or "please sweep under the table".
  2. Avoid following the worker around the home. Instead, ask to be notified after each task is completed. Check off each step that has been finished correctly. Simply remind the worker if any step has been left out.
  3. Be sure to acknowledge any extra effort or thoughtfulness, even if what has been done does not fit exactly with your specifications. It is important to focus on the person’s good will rather than small mistakes.
  4. Correct major errors by giving information rather than criticism. Unless an error occurs repeatedly, assume the person needs more information about how something should be done.


Maintaining Open Communication with Your In-Home Worker

Open communication between you and your in-home worker can maintain a positive relationship. People appreciate being told when they are doing a good job. It is also important to tell people about factors that irritate you or unacceptable job performance. Small annoyances can often cause larger problems when not discussed.

Be sure your expectations are clear:

o Give specific, written directions regarding duties to be performed and when breaks are appropriate.
o Develop a checklist to be completed by yourself and the in-home worker by the end of each shift.
o Demonstrate difficult tasks and have the worker practice for you.
o Review privileges such as eating meals at your home and the use of your telephone.

Be fair, honest, and kind, and remember to respect your worker’s privacy.

Praise a job well done. People need to be appreciated. Describe what you like. For example:
o "Thank you for putting non-skid strips in the bath. I feel much safer."
o "I really appreciate the extra care you take in cleaning under the furniture (around the sink, etc.). Having a clean home feels wonderful."
o "Thank you for making the effort to be on time."

• Get small irritations off your chest before they build up. In the event of irritations or problems, permit ample time to discuss and resolve.
o Give criticism as soon as possible after the problem occurs.
o Keep criticism brief and to the point.
o Mention one incident at a time and make a suggestion for improvement.
o Focus on the situation, issue or behavior, not the person.


Ethical Considerations and Abuse Prevention

Elder abuse is prevalent in today’s society. Unfortunately, elder abuse is all too common without proper advance planning, accountability and supervision. Abuse can take many forms from accepting gifts to theft of medical/personal items, physical abuse or emotional battering and neglect.

An important ethical consideration for families and older adults is how to handle gifts. An in-home worker should not accept gifts of money or anything else. It violates the professional relationship that should be established between a worker and the person receiving care. This is a difficult concept for many people to accept. The relationship between an in-home worker and care receiver is, by its nature, one that has an imbalance of power. The in-home worker is usually more able-bodied, physically and sometimes mentally. For the in-home worker to receive gifts other than wages jeopardizes the balance of power and drifts into the area of elder abuse or exploitation.

If you feel unsafe or uncomfortable with your in-home worker who is from an agency, contact their supervisor first.  If your concerns are not being addressed or you have concerns about your own private in-home worker, contact Adult Protective Services in the county where you live.

County Adult Protective Services (APS)

Adams                  303-227-2049
Arapahoe            303-636-1750
Broomfield          720-887-2271
Clear Creek         303-679-2365
Denver                 720-944-2994
Douglas                303-663-6270
Gilpin                    303-582-5444
Jefferson             303-271-4673

Note: APS is not an emergency service.  In the event of an emergency or if you feel your life is in danger, call 911.  If you are 70 years or older in the state of Colorado, the county may send a police officer to complete a welfare check.

Become knowledgeable about common types of abuse:

• Misuse of time:
- Using up time doing easier tasks first. On your checklist, be sure the harder or more critical tasks are listed first.
- Taking frequent breaks, excessive use of mobile devices or watching TV.
- TIP: Use supervisory skills and written checklist to maintain a professional relationship.

• Taking advantage of the person:
- Worker wins trust and then takes advantage of sympathy and/or friendship by sharing personal and/or financial problems, resulting in you offering “loans” or gifts to the worker.  
- Persuades you to sign for hours not worked, allowing late arrival/early leaving, bringing children/partner/friends to work.
- Offers to be listed on or help change legal documents (for example, offers to be an agent on Power of Attorney forms or will, or a beneficiary or co-signer on bank accounts/property)


When In-Home Help is Resisted

Even though in-home workers may be essential, the idea is sometimes resisted. It is important to respond to this issue with understanding. Some common concerns are:

Maintaining Sense of Independence

Many people view accepting a stranger’s help as an insult to their independence. What they may not realize is that they may have already accepted help in the form of neighborly assistance or family visits. It is important to involve the person needing care in the entire process of hiring and supervising the in-home worker.

Fear of Depleting Savings

It may be helpful to compute the cost of in-home care over a year so that the exact cost can be seen relative to the benefits received. Compare this to the cost of moving into an assisted living or retirement community.

Fear of Reduced Contact with Family Members and Friends

Assure the person receiving care that contact with family and friends will continue. Offer frequent phone calls and set dates for social contact. By stating clearly that the intention in hiring help is to prolong the ability to provide care, family and friends can sometimes show that hiring help is the very opposite of abandonment.

Fear of Victimization

A new in-home worker may represent a threat. After all, this is a stranger who is gaining access to the individual’s personal items. People who have hearing, vision or mobility deficits may feel very vulnerable. Ways of dealing with this issue may include: 

  • Obtain Referrals from Friends: An employee of a trusted friend can be an excellent prospect.
  • Be a Physical Presence: It is sometimes wise for a family member or friend to be present during the first few sessions. Later, this person or others can make occasional, unplanned visits.  Neighbors can also be helpful with this because of their proximity to the person.
  • Carefully check references and make sure a background check is completed. 

Worry About Lack of Supervisory Skills

Older people may need to learn how to provide clear instructions and appropriate supervision to gain confidence in their in-home worker’s abilities.


  • Create a list of tasks you need help with before any interviews take place.  This list is also helpful if you hire an agency which will create a care plan based on these tasks.
  • Whether you hire your own in-home worker or go through an agency, keep this list of agreed-upon tasks handy.  This makes sure tasks are clearly stated and can be verified if not performed.  It also structures the relationship on a professional foundation.

Discomfort Beginning the Process

Start slow. It may be wise to start with a small amount of hours of in-home help and gradually increase the hours as the recipient becomes more comfortable.



Special thanks to Northwest Regional Council ( for allowing the Denver Coordinated Workgroup to borrow content for this resource guide.


Legal Aid

Printable Document 

Finding good legal advice and planning ahead now may help prevent difficulties later. Remember that you are the decision-maker, and the more information you have about the law and your case, the better prepared you will be to conduct or oversee the legal work you need. As is true when purchasing any product or service, it is important to be a smart consumer. Here are questions to consider:

Do You Need an Attorney?

Ask yourself whether you have a situation requiring an attorney’s involvement. For example, a Living Will is available from many sources and can be prepared on your own.  The preparation of a trust or a guardianship proceeding, however, would almost certainly require the assistance of a attorney.

Consider the following:

  • Do you need someone with expertise in the area of elder law to review your situation?
  • Is the matter a complex issue or one that’s likely to go to court?
  • Is my issue due to a conflict with another individual that needs an objective third party?
  • Are there any non-attorney legal resources available to assist you?
  • Is a large amount of money, property, or time involved?

How Do I Get This?

The Colorado Bar Association can let you know if legal representation would be useful and provide a list of attorneys that fits your needs. 303-860-1115;

They also give information about free and low-cost legal services including:

Denver Bar Association Legal Clinics: Pro se (do-it-yourself) clinics offered in the community on the topics of bankruptcy, divorce, small claims, and collections. They do not give legal advice or help fill out forms; they do explain legal processes.

Court Self-Help Centers: Staff at Court Self-Help Centers can assist with locating and filling out forms, understanding court procedures, finding applicable statutes and giving referrals to community resources. A list of Court Self-Help Centers is also available at:

Colorado Legal Services - 303-837-1321

Colorado Legal Services is a statewide client intake system offering people with low-incomes free legal assistance with civil (non-criminal) problems. Services are available in English and Spanish.  Calls are received weekdays from 8:30am-4pm. After an intake interview, staff will answer your questions, send you documents addressing your concerns and, in some cases, refer you to a legal services provider in your area.  

Aging & Disability Resources - 303-480-6700 -

You can also call the Aging & Disability Resources’ helpline in the Denver metro area to learn more about your options for legal representation and dispute resolution, especially if your issue may be more involved with medical or social services. They can also tell you about senior law day events in your area.

Hiring an Attorney

1. Once you have a list of attorneys who specialize in your area of need, check with the Colorado Supreme Court - Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel to verify an attorney is licensed and in good standing in the state of Colorado.

Attorney Search & Disciplinary History: - use the navigation tabs at the top of the page for additional information

2. Make exploratory phone calls to help you choose the most qualified attorney to help your situation. Don’t feel embarrassed about asking questions and selecting only the best candidate for you.

Your preliminary questions should include:

  • How long has the attorney been in practice?
  • Will the attorney provide a free consultation on this matter? If there is a fee, how much is it?
  • How much of his/her practice is devoted to your type of legal situation?
  • Does the attorney represent any special-interest groups, such as nursing homes?
  • What type of fee arrangement does the attorney require? Are fees negotiable?
  • What type of information should you bring with you to the initial consultation?
  • How does the attorney handle client complaints?

Alternatives to Hiring an Attorney

Many legal problems can be resolved through alternatives before you involve the courts including arbitration, mediation, consumer protection and small claims court. These alternatives are typically fee-for-service.

The Colorado Senior Law Handbook is an excellent resource for in-depth explanations of these options:

Arbitration is when you meet before a judge without a jury but in the presence of one or more arbitrators. In elder law, arbitration may be involved if required by documents found in trusts.

Mediation is when you have a neutral person who helps you reach a settlement of your dispute outside of the court system.  Mediation is voluntary and the information you share stays confidential.  If mediation does not resolve your dispute and you go to court, the judge and jury will not know what is said during your mediation sessions.  

Consumer protection deals with your rights as a consumer and ranges from identity theft protection to telemarketing scams to making sure you get the services you’ve paid for. The Attorney General’s Office has a Consumer Services Resource Center that provides consumer protection guidance regarding laws on scams, fraud, credit, collection agencies, contracts, mail order purchases and automobile repair and purchase.  They also investigate and prosecute these cases to protect you as the consumer.  Colorado Attorney General’s Office - 720-508-6000 -

In some counties, you can call your district attorney’s office to speak with a consumer fraud specialist:

1st Judicial District Attorney's Office - Jefferson & Gilpin Counties: 303-271-6970

2nd Judicial District Attorney's Office - Denver County: 720-913-9179   

17th Judicial District Attorney’s Office - Adams & Broomfield Counties: 303-659-7720

18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office - Arapahoe & Douglas Counties: 720-874-8547

For consumer protection issues in Clear Creek County, call the Colorado Attorney General’s Office: 720-508-6000

Small Claims Court may be appropriate if you have a monetary claim for damages up to $7,500. These courts are more informal and involve less paperwork than regular courts. Filing costs are lower and the system is often faster than the other courts. If you file in small claims court, you should be prepared to act as your own legal advocate, -gather the needed evidence, research the law and present your story.

Quick tip: Check with the clerk in the Small Claims Court or Court Self-Help Centers for more information on what may be necessary to file and prepare for your case. Also ask if there is a time limit on when you must file suit.

To File a Complaint about an Attorney

Call the Office of Attorney Regulation at 877-888-1370 or file a complaint online:

Other Resources

National Foundation for Credit Counseling (1-800-388-2227; connects you to financial education and credit counseling services. Specialists assist in considering alternatives to bankruptcy, developing a manageable budget, financial education and also offer housing- counseling solutions. There is a small fee.

Colorado Housing Connects (1-844-926-6632; offers education about landlord / tenant laws, reverse mortgages and housing options in the Denver metro area.  

Denver Metro Fair Housing Center (720-279-4291; provides education, advocacy and enforcement of the Fair Housing Act to prevent housing discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, familial status and disability. Colorado state law also protects against discrimination based on sexual orientation, creed, ancestry and marital status.

The State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) answers questions about Medicare fraud and abuse. Call 1-888-696-7213.


Information to come... 

Estate Planning and Advance Directives

Printable Document 

Estate planning should be completed while you are alive.  Estate planning is when you prepare documents to tell others how to take care of yourself and your assets.  Some documents go into effect after you die; others go into effect if you are alive and not able to communicate your wishes (ie. if you have dementia or are in a coma).  These documents can also be used if you need temporary assistance to manage your financial or medical matters, for example, having someone else pay your bills while you are in rehabilitation.  


How Do I Get This?

An estate plan is usually made with an attorney but you can also fill out many of these forms on your own -- see “Legal Issues” section for more information.  An estate plan should be reviewed annually to be sure they still reflect your wishes.  You can revoke or update these documents at any time before you become incapacitated.  

Estate plans may include:

  • Advance Medical Directives
  • Financial Power of Attorney
  • Wills and Trusts

The term “Advance Medical Directives” refers to the documents that allow you to plan ahead in writing to make sure your consent or refusal for medical treatment is respected in situations where you cannot communicate yourself.  

By signing an advance medical directive, you are not giving away your right to make medical decisions when you are able to communicate them. It simply makes your beliefs and wishes known in the event that you are not able to speak for yourself.  

Advance medical directives include:  

  1. A Medical Durable Power of Attorney (MDPOA) is a document where you designate who can make medical decisions for you if you become unable to do so yourself. By selecting this person and preparing this document, you make your wishes known to the medical community and your loved ones.  Additionally, veterans who are registered with the VA medical center must have a separate MDPOA called a VAPOA generated by the Veterans Administration -- ask your VA healthcare provider for more information.

  2. A Living Will is a document that tells healthcare providers and appointed representatives what life-sustaining treatments you do or do not want in the event that you have a terminal condition and cannot make your own decisions, or if you are in a persistent vegetative state.  Your healthcare providers must follow your instructions.  

  3. A CPR Directive is a form that allows you to choose if you want cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in an emergency.  It tells healthcare providers not to resuscitate you if you stop breathing or your heart stops beating. A CPR Directive is signed by your healthcare provider after you’ve had a discussion about whether or not you want CPR performed.

    You may also hear about a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order.  This form is filled out for your medical chart if you are receiving care in a healthcare facility and do not want to be resuscitated if your heart or breathing stops.  It is also filled out if you go on hospice services.  A DNR expires when you are discharged from the facility or from hospice so if you return to the facility or start hospice services again, a new DNR order will need to be completed.  Signing a CPR Directive or a DNR order does not mean you will not receive treatment for other things like infections or broken bones.

  4. The Medical Orders for Scope of Treatment (MOST) form is a bright green, two-sided document that becomes a set of medical orders when signed by your healthcare provider. Where a Living Will is a legal document, the signed MOST form is a medical order.  The MOST form overrides a Living Will but the MOST form should reflect the wishes in a current Living Will.

Financial Power of Attorney is a form giving someone else the authority to manage your finances, property, and other business actions (for example, pay bills).  It is called a Durable Power of Attorney if it only goes into effect when you are incapacitated.  Your power of attorney must follow your preferences listed in this document and cannot override them.  You can have a Limited Power of Attorney which allows someone to do specific tasks for you such as cashing checks.  

Upon death, advance directives and power of attorney forms become null and void.  Wills and trusts give direction on how to manage remaining assets of the deceased person.  


Things to consider  

You are encouraged to work with an attorney to complete your advance medical directives but the forms are also available through many healthcare offices and online. Make sure you use a Colorado form since requirements vary by state.  It is optional but encouraged to have them notarized. Here are two options:

Quick tip: Do not keep these documents in your safe deposit box.  Keep your original with other important documents that are easily accessible, tell your appointed representatives where they are located, and give copies to your healthcare providers and appointed representatives.

What happens if I don't complete my estate planning forms? 

Others will make these decisions for you and may have to pursue legal action in a case where you can’t speak for yourself.  If you do not designate a representative to act on your behalf and you become incapacitated, the courts can order someone else to manage your care or your resources:

  • Medical (or Healthcare) Proxy: In Colorado, if you do not choose someone to be your healthcare agent on your MDPOA form, healthcare providers may choose an alternate decision-maker called a “medical proxy” to make healthcare decisions for you if you can’t.  Medical professionals will make an effort to contact all the people whom they believe have an interest in your care and then try to reach consensus about who will serve as the proxy decision-maker.  They must make an effort to inform you of the decision.  You have the right to contest a proxy chosen for you.  For more information:

  • Conservatorships are when someone else manages your estate and finances. Conservatorships are appointed by a judge in the courts when they determine you are unable to make financial decisions for yourself.

  • Guardianships are court-appointments made by a judge designating someone to oversee your personal affairs including where you live or what healthcare providers you see.  Guardianships are put in place when a court determines you are unable to make decisions for yourself.  A representative cannot be both a guardian and a conservator.

  • Elder Probate/Mediation is a less formal and usually less expensive way than going through court to settle conflicts related to wills, trusts, conservatorships/guardianships, end-of-life decisions, family disputes, and more. Mediation is available at any time. It is helpful in maintaining relationships and when the interested parties are open to negotiation.


How do I get assistance or talk to someone?

Find an Elder Law Attorney:

How to Choose a Lawyer:

  • Colorado Legal Services: (303) 837-1313 (limited legal assistance available to people over the age of 60)
  • Disability Law Colorado: 1-800-288-1376 or visit (limited legal assistance for people with disabilities)
  • Aging & Disability Resources for the Denver Metro Area: (303) 480-6700
  • Aging & Disability Resources for Colorado: 1-844-265-2372

Quick Tip: Many attorneys will provide a free initial consultation regarding a variety of interests and concerns. Ask about this before scheduling your first appointment.  

To file a complaint about a lawyer, call the Office of Attorney Regulation at 1-877-888-1370.


Self-Help or Low-Cost Services

See a list of low-cost legal services on the Colorado Bar Association’s website or consider attending a Senior Law Day or a Legal Clinic if you want more specific legal information:

Colorado Senior Law Handbook:



   Pat Cook, RN, BSN, MA
   Special Project Manager
   Colorado Gerontological Society

   Micki DeMaria, JD
   Workgroup Co-Facilitator
   Agency for Human Rights & Community Partnerships,
   Office on Aging - Volunteer

   Jill Eelkema, MSW
   Aging & Disability Resources Manager 
   DRCOG – Area Agency on Aging

   Amanda Gregg
   Director (former)
   Agency for Human Rights & Community
   Partnerships, Office on Aging

   Perla Gheiler
   Agency for Human Rights & Community
   Partnerships, Office on Aging

   Lauren Bell
   Master of Social Work Intern
   Agency for Human Rights & Community
   Partnerships, Office on Aging

   Kirsti Klaverkamp, BA, CIRS - A/D
   Community Resource Specialist
   DRCOG – Area Agency on Aging

   Juanita Rios Johnston
   Adult Protective Services Supervisor (former)
   Denver Human Services – Adult Protective Services

   Judy Rough, CSA
   Senior Director of Strategic Alliances
   Society of Certified Senior Advisors

   Tia Sauceda
   Director Adult Day and Respite
   Seniors’ Resource Center