Craig An estimated 1,800 county residents - or slightly more than 10 percent - are considered seniors. In a recent survey aimed at identifying their needs and concerns, the answers were not necessarily typical.
The Moffat County Council on Aging conducted the survey in the latter half of 2007. Organizers did not send any mailings, but met face to face with any seniors willing to take the survey, said Neil Folks, survey research team chairman.
"Our idea was that if we talk to them face to face, we might get a little better response rate and a feel for the personalities out there," Folks said.
Unfortunately, 155 seniors participated, which is about 8.5 percent and similar to the response rate for a recent statewide mailed survey, Folks added.
"A lot of them said, 'What good is it if I fill it out? They (the government) won't listen anyway,'" the chairman said.
Among the results, the survey found seniors are more concerned with transportation in and out of the area than the rising cost of prescription drugs.
About 72 percent of seniors polled said they were not concerned with their ability to purchase prescription medication.
In contrast, 68 percent said they need a senior citizen transportation service to shuttle them in and out of the areas and to medical appointments.
"There is definitely a need for a transportation system, something that goes in and out of the area," Folks said. "Something else that came up was having a small vehicle, like a Chevy Avon, to take one or two to a medical appointment or something."
Second to transportation, seniors said they want to see more independent living centers along the lines of retirement communities.
"What people are talking about now is like a garden-style apartment," Folks said. "They're single homes, one level, and they circle a common area."
Next on the list, many seniors would like to see sidewalks installed along West Victory Way, specifically from Ranney Street to the Wal-Mart SuperCenter, Folks said.
"They just like to go shopping," he said. "Not that they'll buy something every time, but just for the exercise."
Also, despite one comment to the contrary, 94 percent of survey respondents said they felt safe in their home and in Craig.
Compared to the statewide survey findings in Grand Junction, those numbers are significantly better, Folks said.
Perhaps related to that, the senior population has no plans to move away.
More than 81 percent said they would be living in the same home they lived in now after another five to 10 years.
"Which indicates to us, our senior population is a very stable group," Folks said.
There aren't solutions to any of the concerns pointed out in the survey, but Folks is getting the information to the movers and shakers.
He presented the survey's results to the Moffat County Commission and the Colorado Department of Transportation late last year, then attended the Craig City Council meeting Jan. 8 and gave a wider presentation Monday to an audience that included Craig Police Chief Walt Vanatta, Public Housing Authority Director Jan Reece and representatives from the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association.
Getting positive action done will be the next step, Folks said.
"If I can overcome that one comment about not being able to affect anything," he said. "I think if they could see there's a whole different approach, then we would have a lot of support."
Whereas in the past, one or two people brought many of these initiatives to government leaders, an organized committee with support behind it might fare better, Folks said.
For now, there will need to be a little more involvement and a little patience.
"It's going to take a lot of time," Folks said. "That's the way it is when you start at the bottom and work your way up."