DENVER (CBS4) – There’s a growing force behind health care — baby boomers. As boomers close in on retirement, they’re signing on as volunteers and helping others break down barriers.
There are about 78 million baby boomers in the U.S. It’s a powerful force. As they head to the next stage of their lives, there’s a grassroots effort in Denver to tap all that experience and conviction to improve access to health care for all.
Every Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Don Rigot walks the halls of Denver Health Medical Center. He will pop into a patient’s room and offer something to read; and he lets the person know he’ll follow up once they’re discharged.
“I just want to make sure things are going pretty well for you and you don’t have any questions,” Rigot told a patient.
Rigot can offer expertise because he’s been working in health insurance for 25 years. Now he’s also a volunteer.
“If I do happen to come up with somebody who needs help navigating the health care system, I really know how to solve problems really well and get the job done,” Rigot said.
Rigot is 58 years old — a baby boomer, born between 1946 and 1964. This year the first boomers are turning 65, but they’re not slowing down.
“You know the only rocking we’re going to be doing is at a concert, it’s not going to be on the front porch,” Barbara Raynor said.
Raynor is managing director of “Boomers Leading Change in Health,” a nonprofit mobilizing adults 50 or older to improve access to health care.
“A huge nut to crack, but if anyone can crack it, it’s the boomer generation,” Raynor said.
The goal is to sign on 300 to 500 boomers as navigators, educators and advocates on health care issues.
For Rigot, it’s a perfect match.
“When I go home at the end of the day after my shift I feel like I did make a difference and I made somebody’s life a little bit better,” he said.
That’s the hope of Boomers Leading Change in Health — one patient at a time.
About 100 boomers are signed up, trained and out volunteering in the health care community. Others are encouraged to check out the Boomers Leading Change in Health website to find out more.