Posted: September 21, 2018
One of the cornerstones of longevity is the ability to recognize when something could stand in the way of it.
Older adults are often reluctant to make the leap from independent living to any form of assistance, but places like Casey’s Pond ensure a transition that is not only smooth but also fun and perhaps even invigorating.
“Our goal is to keep seniors independent and living long, productive lives,” said Melissa Lahay, the sales and marketing director at Casey’s Pond. “People often wait until there’s a need or crisis, but we encourage older adults to think about moving into this type of community while they’re still independent so they can establish friendships and a new home.”
As a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), Casey’s Pond offers many options for its residents. With services that include independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing home care, memory support and short-term rehabilitation, Casey’s Pond is ready to help residents with their changing needs. Without this ability to accommodate all needs, residents would otherwise have to move from place to place as they age and require different levels of assistance.
“We are a place for seniors to live where they can have the peace of mind they will not have to find another place to live, no matter what support needs they may have in the future,” Lahay said. “This is the benefit of a CCRC. The CCRC makes transitions much less intimidating because you don’t have to leave your home — and the staff and friends are still the same.”
As a nonprofit community, Lahay said Casey’s Pond was really created for the entire community as a resource to all for senior living needs. It began in 2008, when healthcare leaders around the valley envisioned a full service, senior living community in Steamboat Springs (see factbox).
Construction on the new campus began in May 2012, and the first residents moved in 17 months later. Since opening, Casey’s Pond has adapted and responded to the needs and wants of its residents to build a community that serves everyone.
“We want residents to know that this is their home and they have choices,” Lahay said. “They have independence here, with support and assistance if they need it.”
From a partnership with local school children that fosters intergenerational learning to encouraging residents to pursue their passions, the Casey’s Pond board of directors and community are committed to enriching the lives of the residents at Casey’s pond.
The volunteer board of directors also have relationships with the residents and play an active role in seeing the vision of Casey’s Pond through, said Chuck Parsons, president of the board. At 74 years old, he also said his board experience gives him purpose in life.
“We wanted people to have the opportunity to age in place and stay in the area they have been living in. We did not want folks to have to go to the Front Range when they needed support, and leave their families, friends, church etc.,” Parsons said.
The resident-driven culture is part of the Eden Alternative philosophy, which encourages an environment where older adults have choices, purpose and roles to play within the community. It’s this focus on what residents can do, rather than what they can’t do, that helps residents think about their own growth and possibilities.
Lifestyle Director Cathy Reese said that growth really never stops until a person dies. She helps ensure that residents never forget that and have every possible chance to not only live longer, but also live well.
Residents enjoy riding the adult tricycles around the pond or daily walks around the pond and property. There’s also a “wine at 5” happy hour social each day, various classes, creative arts time or other group and individual activities for residents to choose from.
“When people come in and tour our community, they say ‘this is fabulous — I want to live here,’” Lahay said. “You don’t have to wait until you’re 80 or 90 to live here or seek assistance. You only have to be 55 years old to enjoy the lifestyle and culture here. … We’re not a place to come and die — it’s a place to come and live.”
This article originally appeared in the Steamboat Pilot & Today website and is used by permission.