New Senior Care Center opens doors to residents
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Casey Obermeyer, with GVH EMS, and Kim Fuller help Sharon Hess into her new room.
Casey Obermeyer, with GVH EMS, and Kim Fuller help Sharon Hess into her new room.

Sharon Hess watched out the window of the former Senior Care Center for months as her new home was being built. She and her fellow residents commented on each phase of construction.

“We called it the ‘Palace of the Palisades,’” she said, noting the size of the facility.

Hess and 41 other residents moved into their new palace on Nov. 30 with the help of a volunteer army consisting of family and community members.

“It was very easy and very smooth,” said Hess. “They had our boxes in our rooms so we could start to unpack and establish our rooms the way we want them to be.”

Senior Care Center Administrator Mary Blattner said that more than 70 people volunteered their time to help with the move — including representatives from Gunnison Police Department, Colorado State Patrol, Gunnison County Sheriff’s Office, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, county Emergency Management, Emergency Medical Services, GVH staff and the residents’ families and friends.

“The last couple of months have been extremely busy, with not only completing a new building but ensuring that our residents and their families were well prepared with exactly what would happen on the move-in day,” said Blattner. “We put a call out to the community for help and were overwhelmed with the support.”

Blattner said the relocation went well, and she thanked volunteers for providing the smooth transition.

The new Senior Care Center is a skilled nursing facility based on a neighborhood model which allows residents to gather socially and interact with caregivers and one another. There are 44 private rooms and three semi-private rooms all with ensuites. Each of the three neighborhoods includes key elements of a home such as a communal kitchen, dining room, lounge area and fireplace.

GVH’s Chief Executive Officer Rob Santilli said this project has been an enormous undertaking since breaking ground in August 2017 and well worth the investment.

“Our aim was to create a unique community, a place where I would want to live, that encourages social gatherings in a supportive environment, and I believe we have achieved so much more,” he said. “To see the community come together and the excitement on our residents’ faces when they moved into their new home was priceless.”

Hess, who said she feels settled in her new home, loves her surroundings. She said she’s thankful for the effort to help her move — it was an opportunity to meet new people and connect with other residents.

“I don’t know of anyone who is not happy,” Hess said.