The Haven taking another step

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The Haven Assisted Living Center 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 in August, 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 VNA took over The Haven less than a year ago and 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 are about to be put out for the 6,800-square-foot community center addition. Construction could be broken this spring.

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 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 Haven Board President Mark Fischer. There were few options for seniors 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.

"That's the whole thing is making sure people can age where they want to be," said Karen Burley, director of The Haven.

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 Donna Hellyer, who attended the celebration.

The Haven's oldest resident is longtime Hayden resident Lucille Sundberg. She is 99 and first moved to Hayden when she was 2. She moved into The Haven this summer.

"I think I was getting too old to be on my own in my apartment," Sundberg said. "I think we're fortunate to have a place like this so we don't have to go off to Denver or Grand Junction."

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