Assisted-living center coming soon? |

Assisted-living center coming soon?

EAGLE COUNTY ” Sometimes the best way to get something done quickly is to do it yourself.

The Board of County Commissioners is considering buying land where local hospital officials had planned an assisted-living center in Eagle Ranch. The county may build the facility itself.

Officials with Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs and the Vail Valley Medical Center are planning to build a hospital in the new neighborhood in south Eagle.

Included in their plans is an assisted-living center for elderly people who have trouble caring for themselves.

While the hospitals are expected to break ground next year, building the assisted-living center is near the bottom of their list of things to do. It’s on the top of the commissioners’ list, however.

Commissioner Tom Stone has been urging his colleagues on the board to budget close to $1 million to build such a facility next year.

Only 3 percent of Eagle County’s population is over the age of 65. However, the number of people over the age of 60 is expected to grow by 64 percent in just the next five years. Right now, the closest assisted-living center is in Glenwood Springs.

The commissioners have talked about building an assisted-living center before, but put it off after studies showed the facility would lose money. Stone has said he wants to find a way to make an assisted living center work, anyway.

Building an assisted living center in Eagle Ranch seems like the best idea at this point, said Commissioner Peter Runyon.

Another option is to build a facility on county land near U.S. Highway 6 in Eagle. The county also has considered building it on 1 acre next to the Golden Eagle Senior Apartments in Eagle.

The Eagle Ranch property is several acres and probably could accommodate a nursing home, as well, Runyon said.

Ideally, an assisted living center and nursing care center should be next to each other, said Elizabeth Borden, a consultant for the county.

That way patients in one facility could still visit with friends in the other facility. It’s also not unusual for a patient in an assisted-living center to become ill or injured and have to temporarily move into a nursing home, Borden said.

Some residents in the Golden Eagle Senior Apartments think a nursing care facility is needed more than an assisted-living center.

There are a lot of people in the county who need an advanced level of help, said Howard Risk, frequent visitor to the senior apartments.

The board of directors for Valley View and Vail Valley hospitals ultimately would have to decide to sell or donate the land to the county, Stan Anderson, vice president of Vail Valley Medical Center, told the commissioners during a recent meeting.

Stone asked Anderson if his hospital’s board might be interested.

“It is a possibility,” Anderson told the board.

Staff Writer Tamara Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 607, or

Vail, Colorado

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