Vail Daily column: Maintaining connections while living in paradise
Living in the mountain communities for many is heaven on earth. Often when meeting new people who have relocated to the area, I hear them comment on how welcoming the community is.
When I talk to newcomers, I frequently find myself replying that often people relocate to a new area for work. However, people move to the Vail Valley because they want to live here. Often, they share common values; they respect the outdoors, they enjoy the activities and they share a respect for people and family values. This creates a common thread that binds and unites. Therefore, meeting people and making new friends is often quite easy as the pool of people are of like mind.
One of the downsides of moving to the valley is our biological families are not here. Therefore, many people find that maintaining familial connections requires traveling “home.” While modern technology allows us to communicate, they just don’t seem to take the place of actually being there.
When our parents become elderly, it may become more difficult to maintain the familial connection. It is not easy to become elderly. Nor is it easy becoming a parent to your parent(s). However, the amount of persons living into their 80s and 90s is dramatically increasing. With families spread across the country, becoming more involved in our parent’s lives is the name of the game.
So when the call comes in that Mom or Dad need some help medically or physically, what do you do? Where can you turn for information? What resources are available here in the valley to assist your parents or family members that need extra assistance?
Here in the Vail Valley, there are places to go to get accurate information about all aspects of life related to aging or living. Recently, the Eagle County Paramedic Services and Eagle County Healthy Aging held an education event at Colorado Mountain College called “The Eagle County Senior Health Fair/Expo.” The public had the opportunity to meet with many senior service providers and speak with some excellent medical providers.
On Oct. 18, another educational event/workshop will take place once again at Colorado Mountain College. The workshop is called “Aging at Altitude.” Highlighted topics include longevity at altitude and benefits/cautions of living at altitude for those with cardiovascular concerns. Speakers at the event include Dr. Peter Hackett, a renowned authority on high altitude; Dr. Robert Schwartz from the Division of Geriatrics at the University of Colorado; and Dr. Lawrence Gaul, a cardiologist from Vail Valley Medical Center.
The workshop starts at 10 a.m. and will finish around 2:30 p.m. This will be a great opportunity to learn about issues that affect those that live here and who are concerned about the safety of those that will come visit.
Two other great resources I just recently learned about is The Alpine Area Agency on Aging and the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments launching of the Region 12 Network of Care website. Erin Fisher, program specialist for the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments, presented information about the site to myself and other participants of the Eagle County senior collaborative meeting. According to Erin, “The website is designed to educate, inform and provide access to the most relevant information available for seniors and people with disabilities. In addition to the comprehensive database that enables consumers to quickly locate local programs and services and make informed choices about their needs, the site will also provide a library with more than 30,000 high-quality articles, a nationwide news section that posts the top aging and disability articles every morning from more than 3,000 periodicals around the world, and a personal health record that stores valuable medical and legal information and documents.”
While the crux of the Region 12 Network of Care is the database of local providers, the site offers statewide and national resources as well. This database is a must for anyone needing information and resources. It is very well put together and extremely user friendly. Please visit the site and learn what is available: http://www.region12 networkof care.org
On this website, there are many resources available to learn about various medical conditions, research being done and providers. Don’t sit in the dark and wait for another family member to educate you. Be proactive!
Judson Haims is the owner of Visiting Angels Home Care in Eagle County. For more information, go to http://www.visiting angels.com/comtns or call 970-328-5526.