Future looking bright for Haven

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— The Haven Assisted Living Facility is aging well on the east side of Hayden after 10 years of providing care to residents.

As The Haven and Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association staff, volunteers, board members and community members celebrated the facility's 10th birthday Wednesday evening, there was a sense of excitement as The Haven expansion plans move forward.

VNA Executive Director Sue Birch shared plans for the future and outlined the accomplishments of the VNA in 2005. The VNA serves as the public health organization for Routt and Moffat counties and provides hospice services, home health programs and community and public health programs. The annual VNA and The Haven business meetings also were held Wednesday evening.

The VNA took over The Haven less than a year ago, quickly secured funds and started planning for the expansion. The community center addition will act as an "incubator for more wellness and health promotion programs," said VNA's new board President John M. Merrill of Hayden. Construction bids will be taken soon for the 6,800-square-foot community center addition. Ground still could be broken this spring.

The community center will be the center for the VNA's Aging Well program. The concept behind the program, which will provide programs aimed at helping seniors through the aging process, is as unique as the concept of an assisted living center was 10 years ago, said The Haven board president Mark Fischer. There were few options for seniors back then.

"In rural areas in America, you kind of went from home to a nursing home," Fischer said.

The Haven will continue to evolve from a facility with 20 beds that offers housing and services to seniors who are not yet in need of a 24-hour medical staff.

Community members are welcoming the community center addition, which will be available for community functions.

"It's good for the community and the aging, like me," said 73-year-old Hayden Planning Commissioner member Donna Hellyer, who attended the celebration.

Longtime VNA and The Haven employees also were honored during the celebration.

"We have an extraordinary group that has been around for a long, long time," Birch said. "It's you guys that do the incredible caring work every day."

Those employees included:

- Fifteen years of service: Kathy Darveau, medical social worker; Carol Sharp, eligibility technician; Susan Birch, executive director.

- Ten years: Carol Gordon, medical social work; Kathy Lozinsky, The Haven staff; Elsie Richardson, The Haven staff.

- Eight years: Mary Jo Barnes, The Haven staff

- Five years: Deanna Damiano, medical advocate; Laura LaMetterey, administrative assistant; Beth Watson, public health registered nurse; Rena Bertram, The Haven staff; Patty Bruchez, The Haven staff; and Jennifer Swedberg, The Haven staff.

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