The Elder Refugee Program (a partnership of the Denver Regional Council of Governments Area Agency on Aging and the Colorado African Organization) helps older adults (60 and older) from refugee communities stay healthy and engage with their neighbors.


The Aurora Center for Active Adults is the hub for the program. Participants learn about nutrition, share their wisdom, exercise and interact with others from local communities. The program intentionally encourages intergenerational involvement by inviting the participation of participants’ families and providing resources. Participants come from countries such as Bhutan, Burma, Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia. Activities reduce social isolation, increase integration and community connections, and promote overall health and wellness.


The Elder Refugee Program:


  • Provides the Denver region’s refugee community with assistance and improved access to programs for older adults.
  • Ensures elder refugees’ perspectives are included in planning for the region.
  • Funds and facilitates programs among refugees and their neighbors at the Aurora Center for Active Adults, including exercise, nutrition and recreation classes.
  • Trains aging service providers and refugee resettlement professionals on the best ways to work with older adults from refugee communities.


The Elder Refugee Program is funded through the Older Americans Act and the Office of Refugee Resettlement (via the Colorado Refugee Services Program). The program helps to achieve similar goals that are important to these funders individually. 


Elder Refugee Program - Denver Regional Council of Governments Area Agency on Aging Sara Beth Ford [email protected]
Denver, CO


The Elder Refugee Program is part of the Area Agency on Aging. Through the Area Agency on Aging, Denver Regional Council of Governments is expanding its reach to meet the needs of underserved older adults, including refugees.

  • The Area Agency on Aging provides more than 2 million community-based services to older adults in the Denver metro area.
  • 93 percent of clients said the services they receive help them become or remain independent.
  • Clients who use Area Agency on Aging services avoid premature placement in costly hospitals or skilled nursing facilities.