VNA works to secure Haven's future

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Sandrock Ridge Care & Rehab

An option for people needing long-term 24-hour care or rehabilitation is the Sandrock Ridge Care & Rehab center in Craig.

The skilled nursing facility opened about a year ago in a newly remodeled building at 943 W. Eighth St.

The center has 58 semi private beds including 10 beds in "Reflections" a secured care unit designed for patients with Alzheimer's disease, dementia and brain disorders. Specially trained staff closely watch residents in the unit, which includes a dining room, living room and secure yard with gazebo.

The specialized unit is unique to the region, nursing supervisor Gina Andujo said.

"That's why we opted to do it because there was a need," she said.

The facility also offers physical, speech and occupational therapy for patients recovering from accidents, strokes and debilitating diseases. For more information, call 826-4100.

Several years ago, The Haven Assisted Living Center's future was uncertain.

Now the Hayden facility is steps away from having a new owner and becoming a platform for improving senior services - and seniors' quality of life - throughout the Yampa Valley.

After a successful fundraising campaign, the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association is on track to acquire The Haven this fall, said Suzi Mariano, VNA public information coordinator.

Generous contributions from individuals, businesses and local and state organizations will make the transition possible, but acquiring the center is just the beginning of the VNA's ambitions plans.

The organization also is raising funds and making plans for a community center addition to The Haven. The community center is where the VNA's "aging well" vision will begin to take shape.

The aging well model aims to prevent isolation among seniors by integrating them with other residents in the community.

At the community center, for example, the VNA hopes to partner with local organizations to offer art, craft, language and other classes and programs that will appeal to residents of all ages.

"It represents a physical enhancement of the structure that links seniors in the community to a broader cross section of seniors in the valley," said Dace Kramer, VNA aging well coordinator. The community center also may host specialists to educate seniors on issues such as fraud, Medicare changes, wellness and health care issues, Haven director Karen Burley said.

"Everybody benefits and it gives us more room to offer outreach," she said.

The addition also will expand The Haven's kitchen, and the VNA may partner with the Routt County Council on Aging to provide regular congregate meals for seniors at The Haven, Kramer said.

The Council on Aging currently hosts congregate meals at the American Legion in Hayden, but food for the meals is prepared at the Steamboat Springs Community Center.

The VNA hopes to begin construction on the project in the spring, Kramer said.

The Haven offers a more independent living situation for seniors who generally can take care of themselves and do not need 24-hour nurse care.

Residents have private or shared rooms and eat meals together in the center's dining room.

There are no nurses on staff, but the center has qualified medication administration personnel that can give medications to residents and keep track of health issues.

Staff also is trained to recognize heart attacks, breathing problems and acute issues. The Haven has a capacity of 20 residents.

The nonprofit West Routt Rural Health Council built The Haven in 1996. Economic downturn and fluctuating resident numbers threatened to close the facility until the VNA stepped in.

In the long term, VNA officials envision The Haven as a "campus" possibly including senior housing, hospice and disability areas, a multi-generational wellness and fitness center as well as transit and visitor centers that would serve the valley and offer volunteer opportunities to seniors.

For more information on the aging well model or to contribute to aging well programs, call 879-1632.

For information about The Haven, call 276-4484.

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