PINEWOOD SPRINGS – The Aging Well in Lyons: Community, Connections & Resources (AWIL) Conference held on May 14 at Lyons Elementary School drew enthusiastic participants interested in the idea of aging in their own homes.
The day-long affair was introduced by Lyons Mayor Julie Van Domelen. She presented the moderator, Ken Miller of Restoring the Soul: Faith and Community Partnerships, RTS. He can be reached at www.restoringthesoul.org. RTS has been instrumental in coordinating the resources and providing a guiding structure for this new program.
Several prominent panelists spoke to the audience. State Senator Jeanne Nicholson highlighted her advocacy of services to allow seniors to age in place. She described her relationship with Grandma Logan of Rollinsville, a woman who has inspired Nicholson by the sheer tenacity of her lifestyle. She lived in her own mountain home in Rollinsville to the age of 105. Senator Nicholson is discussing the idea of allowing seniors to stay in their own homes with other senators.
Keith Carr of Boulder County Aging Services described the many services of his office: caregiving; respite services for caregivers; information and referrals; ombudsman in nursing homes; services for the elder lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgendered community of Boulder County; medicine counseling program; and wellness and nutrition counseling. He is available at the Walt Self Senior Center on Mondays from 1 to 4:30 p.m.; Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 12 noon; and Fridays from 12 noon to 4 p.m. Carr can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-823-9016.
John Williams of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church of Longmont told an inspirational story of how the church’s small initiative to give what the congregation had to offer to the local homeless population six years ago has grown into supplying 6 to 7 tons of food per week to the Longmont community. St. John the Baptist’s 180 volunteers are able to tend to the needs of approximately 300 families and provide employment referrals as well as health services through local partnerships. The church has been donated a 3,800-square-foot facility to administer programs that range from providing holiday meals and school backpacks to their Adopt-a-Family and Car Assistance programs. The church’s work is a testament to what can be accomplished with collaborative projects and an understanding of available local resources. Mr. Williams has offered to show those interested in the AWIL project how St. John the Baptist has accomplished its community work.
Congressman Jared Polis was a keynote speaker who acknowledged how impressed he is with the AWIL program. Polis remarked that he is like our federal Ombudsman and is ready to help anyone
who calls his office. “Aging Well in Lyons is a wonderful opportunity for seniors, their families, and their loved ones to find support, as well as new ways to contribute to our community and enrich each other’s lives,” he said. “I hope that all Lyons’ seniors will take advantage of this chance to improve their quality of life and make our community an even better place to live, work and raise a family.”The feeling of many about the AWIL conference was expressed by LaVern Johnson, Lyons trustee and featured panelist: “I’m so happy to learn of all these services. There is so much being offered here, and people are asking really good questions”.
Six round-table discussions addressed particular community issues and were facilitated by local authorities in many fields to help focus the objectives of the community.
(1) Health and Wellness was facilitated by Dr. Matt Brett M.D., of Milestone Family Medicine www.luhcares.org/MedCenters/Milestone.aspx, and Rhonda Racicot, Therapist of Mental Health Partners www.mhcbc.org . This table addressed health issues from many perspectives: access to medicine, finding patient advocates, recognizing symptoms, counseling services available, classes on preventative medicine etc. Challenges particular to Lyons were identified as well as unique strategies and tactics to address the particulars of the population. Many were relieved to know about the immense resources available.
(2) Gaps in Services was facilitated by Judy Nogg, Program Director of Care Connect www.careconnect.org. This table addressed what services residents feel are missing in Lyons. Services were discussed that exist in other parts of the country and how they might be adapted and/or brought to Lyons. Some gaps in services that were identified are lack of adequate education about services, and transportation issues.
(3) Life Enrichment was facilitated by Joan Raderman, Director of Circle of Care www.circleofcareproject.org. This table discussed the many ways for seniors to develop a vibrant community of well connected groups that look out for one another and have fun together. Many opportunities were discussed for attending concerts, events and shows.
(4) Inter-Faith Community was facilitated by Pastor Mickey Lohr of the River Church www.therivercolorado.org 303-823-6469. This table was attended by many local faith/spiritual leaders who agreed that service to those in need in the local community was of great importance to their congregations. A council is being formed by these faith/spiritual leaders so that other interested parties can take part in the discussion about how we can best serve the community.
(5) Resources for Caregivers was facilitated by Keith Carr of Boulder County Aging Services. Time was spent listening to participants about specific issues and developing strategies for more thorough communication and implementation. Carr is available at the Walt Self Senior Center: Mon. 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Thurs. 8 a.m. to 12 noon, Fri 12 noon to 4p.m. email@example.com and 303-823-9016. Please contact him if you would like to be more involved in the AWIL program.
(6) Legal Issues was facilitated by Cindy Taylor, Director of the Consumer Protection Division of Boulder County District Attorney’s Office http://www.bouldercounty.org/government/offices/pages/damain.aspx. Time was spent addressing the recent grant given to Boulder County by the Department of Justice for the purpose of training law enforcement in elder abuse awareness. The prosecution of elder financial exploitation cases is up significantly in D.A. Stan Garnett’s office; he has just established an Elder Fatality Review Team. Also discussed were identity theft, consumer scams, living wills and medical directives.
The AWIL program is here to serve as a conduit for resources, a support network and an organizational program to help foster a co-creative approach to transformation. If you have frustration about a local issue, please join in our efforts to address these changes by being part of the solution. We would like to continue to develop this program with as diverse a counsel as possible. We are asking all of you that would like to see change in your community to take this opportunity to join in. Please contact Keith Carr (info above). Thank you so much for the passionate participation of all those that took part in the panels, discussions, and the organization – so much was accomplished in a short time.
Many thanks to Ed Bruder and the Town of Lyons for their vision of a vibrant well connected community and their efforts to make this program meaningful for all those that take part. Bruder addressed the assembly by expressing that AWIL will continue to grow with presentations and meetings about specific issues. This information will be communicated through this newspaper.
There are a number of faith/spiritual leaders in Lyons that are interested in discussing how the community can partner together to address local needs. Some of those interested in deeper discussion are: Pastor Claire Drewes and Nancy Reckling of Lyons Community Church, Elena and Pastor John Russ of Old Stone Church, Pastor Mickey Lohr and Tom Bloodgood of the River Community Church, and Sapan Rinpoche. I am happy to help facilitate further discussions with the resources of Restoring the Soul. Please contact me, Prescott Knock, if you are interested in being a part of these discussions for local transformation through community service.
Prescott Knock is a resident of Pinewood Springs. He is a committee member of the AWIL initiative and board member of Restoring the Soul, as the liaison for Lyons. He is a Community Resources Consultant and Executive Director of the Buddhist Coalition www.buddhistcoalition.org. Please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org if your Faith/Spiritual Community would like to get more involved in serving the Lyons community.Back to Top