State law snags coffeepots from Castle Creek Terrace |

State law snags coffeepots from Castle Creek Terrace

Jennifer Davoren
Aspen Times Staff Writer
"I like having my coffee when I get up in the morning," says Doris Barlow, 95, as she makes a pot of coffee in the newly established common area of Castle Creek Terrace Wednesday afternoon October 9, 2002. Director Maggie Gantt syas it's not a new regulation the establishment has installed, rather, it's a state requirement of not having coffepots in the senior residences. "The state is enforcing us to take the coffe pots out of the rooms," she says, "it's not a new regulation, it's just being enforced." She added that it also gives a chance for the senior to get out of their rooms more and be more sociable. "They can come out here for a cup of coffee and sit down and talk with their neighbors," she says, "they'll become more sociable." Paul Conrad photo.

The recent enforcement of state law at Aspen’s retirement community might have some residents steaming, but the facility’s director says she’s just following the state’s directive.

At Castle Creek Terrace, an assisted living center owned and operated by Aspen Valley Hospital, residents’ apartments come with small kitchenettes. However, state regulations forbid the kitchens to be fitted for anything that can be construed as a “cooking” device to protect resident safety. Coffeepots and toasters are just two appliances that fit into this category.

Castle Creek Terrace residents, however, often used their electric coffeepots each morning as part of their daily routine. Last month, residents were told to get rid of the devices.

Facility director Maggie Gant said the coffee-maker regulation isn’t a new one. The rule is statewide, she said, and was enforced at Castle Creek Terrace following an inspection by state officials in early September.

Residents and their families might question the rule, but state health officials hold sway over regulations among local facilities.

“It’s state regulations, and that’s basically all there is to it,” Gant said. “It’s kind of what you’d expect with general regulations throughout the state of Colorado.”

Coffeepots, toasters and toaster ovens were taken from resident rooms in response to the inspection. Microwaves, however, were not affected ? the state regards them as “warming devices” rather than cooking appliances.

In order to make up for residents’ lost appliances, Castle Creek Terrace spruced up a new room off their dining hall, Gant said. The Garden Room, as Terrace staff have dubbed it, has a community coffee maker and other gadgets for residents looking for a morning pick-me-up or a midday snack.

“They always have coffee, tea or food available any time of the day,” Gant said. “Somebody just brought Krispy Kreme donuts over, so some of the residents are over there [now].”

The room will also provide activities throughout the day, Gant said.

She noted that the shift from bedside coffee makers to a shared kitchen is a big one for some residents, but the move to an assisted living facility can be too. Gant said she and her staff try to make the adjustment to assisted living a comfortable one, allowing residents to tote a number of amenities to Castle Creek Terrace with them.

“There are plenty of ways to overcome that [adjustment], in the sense that we provide things like gardening and art classes,” she said.

“Residents can [also] have pets,” Gant said, even dogs ? a perk that even most affordable housing complexes won’t allow.

[Jennifer Davoren’s e-mail address is]

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