The Crestone Eagle • October, 2021

Saguache plans senior housing facility

by Sandia Belgrade  

Senior housing efforts are expanding. For older residents, the need for more housing in the county has become acute, reflecting the situation nationwide. A main reason is that older Americans are one of the fastest-growing demographics. 13 million baby boomers now make up the nation’s 65-and-older population. The key challenge for our county, which ranks among the poorest in the state, is where will our senior residents live and how to secure funding. Two different entities in the county, both non-profits, are making progress towards resolving this housing shortage. As the Eagle has reported, Living Wisdom, in Crestone, is rising to the challenge with their project to house seniors near the Charter School and within walking distance of downtown Crestone. Now Valley to Valley is proposing to build an assisted living facility for seniors  in Saguache.

I spoke with Terry Gillette who sits on their board of directors and acts as Valley to Valley’s Saguache representative. He said that Byron Williams donated ten acres of land for the residential facility, just east of Saguache off Highway 285. Getting the land was a critical first step. Ron Southard, a retired architect in Buena Vista, has donated hundreds of hours designing architectural plans for the residential senior live-in campus. The ranch-style building will have accesible one & two-bedroom apartments, with private or twin sleeping rooms, a  lounge area, library, and a dining hall served by a commercial kitchen. Additionally there will be private-use space for family groups, a craft and exercise room, several guest bathrooms, worship & meditation spaces, as well as the necessary staff and administrative support for the residents. Vans will be used to transport seniors into Saguache. 

It’s important to say that while some seniors have medical considerations and can’t live alone, many seniors want and need the camaraderie and socialization that group living offers and which is very essential to both their mental and physical well being.

Eve Bradon, the CEO of Valley to Valley, runs a  full-time senior day care in Salida. The program is  a medically-supervised  program that is open to guest participants who have homes to return to. For the proposed live-in housing  campus, she has acquired nearly a quarter of a million dollars of in-kind funding to accomplish the Valley to Valley Senior live-in campus, leaving them $150,000 away from its $1 million goal.

Rethinking a living legacy

In their literature, Valley to Valley makes an appeal for living legacy donations to complete the construction of the live-in senior residence. The phrase “living legacy” once conjured up what one leaves behind when they die. More people are now realizing that making a contribution while they are still alive allows them the satisfaction of witnessing the end result of their caring and legacy. 

Both Valley to Valley and Living Wisdom would benefit from contributions now, either through a living legacy or a charitable bequest