The former home of Anne Selbe and her late husband, Keith, is poised to become a special place for residents with special needs. Keith Selbe, who died in 1994 and is shown here in November 1978, was an avid horseman and rodeo supporter.

File Photo

The former home of Anne Selbe and her late husband, Keith, is poised to become a special place for residents with special needs. Keith Selbe, who died in 1994 and is shown here in November 1978, was an avid horseman and rodeo supporter.

Tom Ross: Grieving children will come to Poogie's Place

Selbe family lends new significance to Hospice Celebration

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Tom Ross

Tom Ross' column appears in Steamboat Today. Contact him at 970-871-4205 or tross@SteamboatToday.com.

Find more columns by Tom here.

— The former home of Anne Selbe and her late husband, Keith, occupies one of the truly special spots in Steamboat Springs. It is close to shopping and Yampa Valley Medical Center, but is screened from the noise of traffic on Pine Grove Road by dense stands of mature trees and the rushing sounds of Fish Creek just out the window.

Now, the home of more than 3,000 square feet is being prepared to meet the special needs of Steamboat residents and their families.

"The Selbe's were always down-to-earth and caring people, so the emotional connection to the site flows right into what we want to do with hospice care," nurse Jan Fritz said. "Keith Selbe was our very first hospice patient."

The Selbe home, with its cathedral ceilings, heavy timbers and massive moss rock fireplace, could soon be transformed into the Rollingstone Respite House and Poogie's Place. It would meet the needs of hospice patients in the final stage of life, youngsters coming to terms with personal loss, and seniors who need a supportive place in which to spend their days.

The Selbe family has sold the home to the Visiting Nurse Association packaged with a $500,000 donation. VNA needs to raise money to reduce the remaining debt of $1.5 million.

Katy Thiel, a social worker and bereavement counselor with the VNA, said the property surrounding the new Rollingstone Respite House would allow patients and their families to take serene walks along the creek.

The location couldn't be more fortunate.

"Everything else we need is right over there," at Yampa Valley Medical Center, Thiel said.

Keith and Anne Selbe moved to Steamboat Springs in 1942. He became involved in the oil and dairy businesses, but was best known as a passionate horseman and supporter of rodeo. He also helped with the senior housing complex near his home, called the Selbe Apartments. He died in 1994 at the age of 81.

The Rollingstone Respite House, which has entered the city planning process, comes to the forefront next week with the festivities surrounding the 15th anniversary of Hospice and Palliative Care Services of Northwest Colorado. They begin with the Celebration of Life Dinner at 6 p.m. Monday at the Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel. The dinner will be followed by a benefit golf tournament at Catamount Ranch and Club on Tuesday.

The tournament is full, but there still are places at the dinner table - $60 and $100 for couples.

Remodeling the former Selbe home will allow the hospice to provide its patients with the quality of care they desire - a supportive environment that allows access to their loved ones and one in which they can receive answers to their questions.

The services offered by the VNA at the former Selbe home can be divided into three distinct areas.

Up to eight senior citizens a day will be able to spend time on the home's lower level. Thiel said the intended clients are seniors living at home with adult children who must go to work on weekdays. Seniors who need a little support would be able to spend some days at the Respite House where they could socialize, play card games and possibly enjoy billiards with new friends.

Poogie's Place would provide a place for children of different ages to learn to cope with loss and grief while taking part in creative activities - art, music, and play, Thiel said.

Although she can help adults come to terms with bereavement by talking things over, that process is different for youngsters, she explained. They are more apt to get in touch with their emotions and share their feelings with peers while engaged in creative activities.

Thiel said art therapist Susie Holloran would be involved with Poogie's Place.

"It's important for children to be in a group so they can see that others are experiencing the same things they are," Thiel said.

Poogie's Place is named for the late Poogie Dawes, who died suddenly in 2006 and was deeply involved in philanthropy and working with youngsters through athletics and the schools, Fritz said.

Finally, Rollingstone Respite House would create five-bedroom suites and one common living room where patients in the later stages of terminal illnesses could receive care and emotional support from healthcare professionals and family members.

Many hospice patients remain in their homes, Fritz said, and there are beds available at healthcare facilities in Steamboat and Craig. But Respite House would add to the range of options for patients here.

Monday's dinner comes with the first ticket for an enticing lottery that includes vacations in Ireland, Colorado, Hawaii and Mexico.

Interested people can visit hospicecelebration.com or contact Suzi Mariano at (970) 871-7631 or smariano@nwcovna.org.

- To reach Tom Ross, call 871-4205 or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com

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