VNA closer to building Hayden senior center

Grant provides $600,000 for 'aging well' program

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The Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association is receiving a $600,000 state grant, a key component of the group's plan to create an aging well model in the Yampa Valley.

The funding is earmarked for the construction of a community center in Hayden. The center will be connected to The Haven, an assisted living facility for senior citizens.

Senior citizens will have top priority when requesting use of the center; the VNA could serve meals at the center and use it to host visiting health specialists. But it will be open to use for everyone in the valley, VNA Director Sue Birch said.

The grant, which comes from the state Department of Local Affairs, also will pay for telephone and computer systems at The Haven.

Several more grants need to be secured before the VNA can even begin designing or setting a timeline for the community center project, Birch said.

But the center is part of an aging well model the VNA is developing to serve seniors throughout the valley. The model is a network of home and community based prevention and wellness services, which could include a visiting geriatrician, physical fitness classes and senior citizen day care.

Some of these services could begin during the next year and a half, Birch said. Senior day care would consist of a staff that traveled between the communities in the valley, holding senior day care in each community once or twice a week. The visiting geriatrician would work with local doctors and families to provide care for senior citizens in their home.

The total cost of the project is $1.4 million, and to date, the VNA has secured $800,000. The VNA is awaiting approval of another $400,000 in grants, and the association is currently preparing $500,000 in grant applications.

The VNA also plans to begin a local fund-raising effort, Birch said. But the VNA hasn't yet planned any fund-raising events.

Rob Gebhart can be reached at 824-7031 or rgebhart@craigdailypress.com.

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