Letter: Care needs
I would like to share my views with fellow voters in the Grand River Hospital District on the upcoming bond question that will be on the November 2017 ballot.
One of the purposes of the proposed bond issue is replacement of the current senior care center. The old building, E. Dene Moore Care Center, is beyond repair, so a new building is definitely needed. However, the following are a few questions that we all should make sure we have the answers to before we go to the polls.
• Are the real needs of the community going to be met with the proposed construction of a new care center?
• Although there are already a sufficient number of assisted living beds in our area, there are not an adequate number of skilled nursing beds to care for those people whose care is beyond family and/or assisted living to provide. This includes people who need special equipment and treatments, as well as the elderly obese.
• Also needed are “memory care” beds for those who need a secure area because they are no longer able to make good judgment calls as to where and when to go out and about.
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• Beds for those who need transition/rehab care between hospital and home are sorely needed in our community.
• Another need that is currently not met in the larger area of Garfield, Pitkin, Eagle and Rio Blanco counties is care for people who are very difficult to house and care for — those who require staff who are specially trained. These members of the community are often confused and angry about their situation and are “acting out” toward caregivers and others around them. In addition to Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, many of these patients may suffer from other diseases or conditions that make them difficult to care for because of the mental and physical behaviors associated with their condition — including Huntington’s Disease, traumatic brain injury and even brain injury from recreational drug use.
Currently, local residents must be placed long distances from home. Although the proposed plan for replacement of the current care center does include a separate “memory care” area, apparently it is not intended to care for these more difficult residents of our community.
I strongly encourage each of you to educate yourself and your family to find out what is going to be provided at the proposed new facility and to vote in November.
Mary Jane Hangs
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