Town gives ideas on center

VNA discusses addition to The Haven with public

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— There was a time when board members discussed closing The Haven assisted living center because there were not enough residents. Today, there is a waiting list for seniors who want to live at the facility on the east edge of Hayden.

By the year 2030, there will be twice as many people 65 or older than there were in 2000, according to the federal Administration on Aging. Much of this can be attributed to aging baby boomers.

This has officials with the Vis--iting Nurse Association thinking about how to best serve the aging population in the Yampa Valley. The VNA serves as the primary public health organization for Routt and Moffat counties.

About 20 people attended a brainstorming session at Hayden Town Hall on Monday night to share their ideas for what should be offered at a new community center. The center would be attached to the assisted living center, which the VNA acquired in November. The center is part of the VNA's long-term vision for the complex, which could include a transportation center, a small clinic or apartments for seniors who can live independently. Monday night's session included a lot of discussion about the expansion of The Haven living quarters, which houses about 20 residents.

The Haven and the addition of a community center will be the center for the VNA's Aging Well program. The center could cost as much as $1 million, and most of the money has been raised from corporations, small businesses, individuals, government grants and foundations.

The space should allow the VNA to expand the program into offering more classes, including classes about nutrition, fitness, bird watching and traveling. The center likely will be between 4,000 and 6,000 square feet and will allow for flexibility in how the space is used. Some seniors are hoping the center will renew square dances that were once common in Hayden.

These services give the Aging Well coordinator a new outlook on growing old. "I think it's really not going to be such a bad thing," Dace Kramer said. The VNA hopes to break ground on the center by this summer.

The brainstorming session Monday was for Hayden residents and was the last public input session. The VNA has surveyed Haven residents, staff and seniors in Hayden about what services and facilities they desire. "We hope the community center in Hayden will be something everyone in Hayden will use and enjoy," Kramer said.

Kramer told those who attended the meeting that the center is not meant to be a recreation center in Hayden. They do not have the money for a swimming pool or hot tubs, Kramer said.

Kimberly Stenerson lives in Boulder owns a ranch south of Hayden. She plans to move to Hayden. She has cared for her elderly mother and aunt for years and asked the VNA to consider a swimming pool for therapy and low-impact exercise. "The swimming pool was the best thing for my aunt," Stenerson said.

She asked the VNA to continue exploring programs that encourage seniors and younger people to interact. "Stuffing older people into a room and giving them a deck of cards is not the solution," Stenerson said.

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