Nursing home on Aspen’s horizon? |

Nursing home on Aspen’s horizon?

Carolyn Sackariason
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO, Colorado

ASPEN ” A new assisted-living facility for aging Aspenites is coming into focus.

As part of the last piece of a needs assessment on whether the community should build such a facility, a series of focus groups will be held this week.

New Life Management and Development Co., a privately-owned company that develops continuing care retirement communities, is organizing the meetings and heading the effort locally.

The firm is being paid $25,000 for its services, which was underwritten by local governments and publicly funded organizations.

A survey was sent out recently to thousands of residents who are over 60 years old, or will be in the near future. Those results are expected back this month, said Ken Canfield, a board member of the Senior Council, a citizen advisory group for Pitkin County.

“We are trying to determine who will use this facility in the next couple of years, not 10 years from now,” Canfield said. “We need to find out if there are enough people to support it, what amenities it will have and the appropriateness of where it will go.”

If it’s determined that there’s a need, the next step is to figure out how much an assisted-living facility would cost.

That financial analysis will be handled in part by the steering committee that was formed specifically to investigate the need for a senior facility. The mayors from Aspen and Snowmass Village, as well as administrators from the city, county and the hospital, are on the board.

The Aspen City Council, the Pitkin Board of County Commissioners, Aspen Valley Hospital and the Aspen Medical Foundation helped fund the study.

The results of the research, which will be owned by the city, county, hospital and the medical foundation, also can be used to assure future investors and operators that a senior citizen facility in Aspen is economically sound.

For years, efforts were made to expand the assisted-living facility at Castle Terrace, which accommodates only 15 people, Canfield said. Not only does the facility lack rooms, it also lacks the ability to give full-spectrum care.

Most typical assisted-living centers offer a full continuum of care, including nursing and dementia facilities. They also offer individual units on site so people can live by themselves, yet still get the assistance they need.

Whatever company operates a continuum care facility, it would be self-sustaining financially, Canfield said. The challenge, of course, will be finding affordable land ” a big hurdle that Canfield acknowledges.

Last spring, $30,000 was spent on a community survey to gauge interest in such a facility.

“This will be build on the previous study,” Canfield said. “We should be able to do some preliminary planning now.”

Anyone interested in participating in the focus groups should call Canfield at 429-0443.

10 a.m. Rio Grande meeting room

2 p.m. Rio Grande meeting room

7 p.m. Rio Grande meeting room

10 a.m. Health and Human Services building

2 p.m. Health and Human Services building

7 p.m. Rio Grande meeting room

10 a.m. Health and Human Services building

2 p.m. Health and Human Services building