Valley to Valley Senior Center is back on track after delay

SAGUACHE — Construction of the new Valley to Valley Senior Care Center located in Saguache Colorado was recently halted. The reason for the delay was due to a change in state codes.

According to Chairman of the Board for Valley to Valley Senior Care, Terry Gillette, state codes and statutes were changed due to COVID. The codes now do not allow senior daycare residents and permanent residents to be together in the same building.

Gillette said that although there should be interaction between the residents, the codes would not allow the two together in the same building. Gillette said with this type of code enforcement being in place, that the only thing that could be done to rectify the situation was to try to obtain another building.

“The original site plan that we had, did show us putting together another building for daycare, we just weren't planning on doing it right away,” Gillette said. “We did get a grant from one of the larger ag people in the state and they put up an entire manufactured daycare building up for us, and the grant paid for the whole thing."

Gillette said they had to change some things with the Saguache County board when the codes changed.

“The county board decided that we had to go back through planning, zoning, all of that though, and get it reapproved,” Gillette said. “We have also had commissioners change within the past two years, while we have been working on this, and they didn't seem to have a good grasp of what we were trying to do."

Gillette said they jumped through all the hoops and got all the modified permits filed. This has led to about a 3-month delay. The additional building is expected to arrive in about 3 weeks.

Gillette said the building was built off site and when it is brought in it will be basically dropped off, and ready to go.

"We will have this building caddy corner to the other one, and residents can come out on the patio that will be out there, and garden and enjoy the sun,” Gillette said.

Gillette said there is still more to be done, like getting the state to inspect the facility for a healthcare type facility. Gillette expects it to be an easy pass with the state.

"As long as state guidelines don't change again,” Gillette said with a chuckle. “It should be OK, and up to the requirements, and all compliance." 

Gillette was excited to share that during the construction they also found a different general contractor right in the Valley for the building.

“We felt good about this because they work better with the other people in the Valley,” Gillette said. “We handed it off to them, they seem a lot more attentive to get things done on our timeline. This was something we had hoped for from the start. We are happy to be going through local contractors, if we have a problem then they are right here."

The Valley to Valley Senior Care Center in Saguache officially broke ground in November of 2022 just east of Saguache, right off the highway.

“It’s a beautiful little spot, we have got, 10 acres, and it’s right off the road. It’s got the National Forest right around it. It gives us a lot of space we can do gardens and other activities to develop the site. For most of the seniors this is a much better environment than the city. We can put in gardens and add activities. There’s a lot of people who have a parent or someone with them and they need a place to take them while they are working. A lot of these people are functioning well, they just need someone to make sure they are OK and that is what this other building will be,” Gillette said.

The idea for the Valley to Valley Senior Living Center began with Eve Braden. Braden is passionate about helping the senior community. Braden’s father suffered from Alzheimer’s and Braden moved her father from New York to live with her in Colorado.

Braden’s father passed away, but she wanted to do something to honor his memory. Braden began the Valley to Valley Senior Care non-profit organization in 2006. She is currently the Chief Executive Officer and the Facility Director for the Valley to Valley Senior Center in Salida.

The facility in Salida houses both regular and Veteran residents and the center in Saguache will do the same.

Gillette is excited to see the completion of the buildings.

“I am happy to be a part of it all, to see this all coming together,” Gillette said. “We have people waiting in line to get in. It’s nice to see something like this happening, this will really help our older residents stay with a sense of community and help their family members stay close to them. We are always taking donations as well, and appreciate the donations, big or small they all go to the completion of our center.”

For more information or to donate, contact Gillette at 515-480-1636.