Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Help close the circle of caring

Anita McCann is the chairwoman of the Croy Canyon Ranch Campaign, an effort to build a senior care facility near Hailey.


"The strength and durability of a society can be judged by how it treats its elderly." —John F. Kennedy

It's up to us. The time has arrived to address the last remaining infrastructure need in the Wood River Valley: long-term care for our seniors. Thanks to the remarkable generosity of our community, we have built the facilities needed for children, families, health care, education, recreation and the arts. What I like to call our "circle of caring" is almost complete. Now we have the opportunity to come together once again as a community to provide for seniors by creating Croy Canyon Ranch.

During the past few years it has become increasingly obvious that the Wood River Valley's need for continuing and long-term care facilities is not being met. Long-term care should be provided in a continuum of settings, depending on an individual's needs and preferences, and geared to maintaining or improving independence as long as possible.

Neither Blaine Manor nor any other facility in the county offers all three levels of continuing care, which are the norm in most communities. The three levels of care include: independent living—active living with privacy and convenience; assisted living—full activity, but with additional help for bathing, dressing and medications as needed; and skilled nursing—full-time care in a comfortable and home-like setting. In addition, having all three levels of care will provide the income necessary to operate a small retirement community in the black.

The fact that Blaine Manor offers only skilled nursing services—and those in a dated, institutional setting—means that increasing numbers of area residents are being forced to leave the community to obtain long-term care services. Frequently, couples needing differing levels of care are forced to live apart because there is no senior living community offering all three levels of care in the valley where they can stay together. Moreover, area families cannot bring their parents and grandparents who require long-term care to the Wood River Valley to live close to their loved ones.

Croy Canyon Ranch Foundation was established to develop a plan to meet this need. It partnered with one of the top developers and managers of senior living communities in the nation, Greystone Communities, and purchased a stunning 20-acre site a mile west of Hailey in Croy Canyon. In May 2007, the residents of Blaine County voted overwhelmingly to give the proceeds of the sale of Blaine Manor to the foundation to help fund the project. In April, the Blaine County Planning and Zoning Commission granted a conditional-use permit for Croy Canyon Ranch. All that remains is to raise the philanthropy required to help fund the project.

The cost of creating this new and necessary facility is $30.8 million. Croy Canyon Ranch Foundation cannot finance the entire cost and requires at least $13 million in philanthropy. Most of the construction cost will be funded through a loan, which will be repaid by the sale of the independent living apartments, and proceeds from the sale of Blaine Manor.

Thus far, $3.3 million in donations has been pledged.

I am honored to help lead the Croy Canyon Ranch Campaign with our honorary campaign chairman, Bud Purdy, and a committee of distinguished volunteers.

We ask all of you to please help provide for this wonderful facility, which will provide a warm, homey environment with love and compassion for our elders who have given so much to all of us throughout the years. The circle of care in the Wood River Valley will truly be complete when Croy Canyon Ranch opens for our seniors.

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