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Carnival of senior services highlighted

I had many visitors stop by my desk last week who were looking for services or who were confused about services or to enlighten me about services I did not know existed.

Here is information about specifically senior-related services available in our county.

The Gray Wolf Ski Club. This 500-member club for persons of age 50 and older focuses on skiing, snowboarding and social dinners. A yearly membership of $10 per person, $15 for a couple, entitles one to a discounted pre-season ticket (unfortunately the deadline has passed for this ski season), free coffee and hot chocolate on Tuesdays at the ski area, and inclusion in the social activities. You can contact them through their very informative Web site,

Archuleta Seniors Inc. This close to a 1,000-member organization for persons 55 and older performs several functions. For a yearly member ship fee of $5, a member is entitled to a slew of local discounts. Qualifying seniors with a membership are also eligible for medical expense assistance and a medical shuttle discount. These wonderful people are also the ones who host the Oktoberfest fund-raiser, and sponsor the ever-popular field trips through the Senior Center. ASI memberships are sold in the back of our dining room every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Memberships for 2009 are sold through December (the discount on the Hot Springs alone pays for the membership) and members will be required to renew their memberships for 2010 beginning in January. ASI is not affiliated with us, the Silver Foxes Den; however, we do collaborate on the trips and the medical expense assistance that ASI so generously monetarily supports. Call 254-2167, Ext. 25.

Archuleta County Senior Services “Silver Foxes Den.” This is us! For persons age 60 and older. We provide hot, scrumptious meals every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. We operate a bus for seniors to get around town, providing door-to-door service within our boundaries. We operate the volunteer-based home-delivered meals and the medical shuttle. We coordinate Medicare volunteers who offer appointments to help with questions and enrollment in Medicare programs. And we do our best to coordinate and collaborate with all of the other services. Twice a month, we take our hot lunch program to Arboles and serve 30–50 people in the basement of the Catholic Church. We also distribute a newsletter, provide educational and exercise classes. We receive state and federal funding, donations from our area, the United Way and contract with San Juan Area Agency on Aging for funding for many of the above services. Call Jodi at 264-2167.

Colorado Legal Services. Legal assistance is provided through this non profit agency for seniors and paid for through the San Juan Area Agency on Aging. Their case priorities include simple wills; limited guardianship cases; assistance with public benefits; assistance with domestic law issues; and housing, consumer and employment issues. Call 247-0266 to apply for services or in person in Durango at 1474 Main Ave., Suite 200. Their excellent Web site is

San Juan Basin Health Department. They make available caregiver respite, counseling, information and assistance. Also immunizations, flu shots and education are available. Call 264-2673.

Archuleta County Department of Human Services. Human Services assists with Medicaid, LEAP (the low income energy assistance program) and Adult Protection, which investigates elder abuse. Also available are various low-income programs for the elderly. Call 264-2182.

Senior Spotlight

“I have done everything a woman is not supposed to do,” states Connie Giffin, with a grin.

She was born (in 1942) and raised a farm girl in Mt. Vernon, Ill. When she graduated from high school, she moved to Chicago where she began work as a secretary for Bell and Howell. Connie “lived through the sixties as a mother” of three children, definitely not her favorite time period in history. A self-described passionate advocate for healthy living (she spent 20 years in Arizona educating herself on the topic), she says her best advice is to live in a totally healthy environment, and to educate yourself in alternative health care. Connie graduated from Prescott College in 1999 and has since written three books. “The New American Dream Home” is her latest. It is a book about 40 designs that marry the monolithic dome technology with nine traditional architectural styles and it will be released soon. You can order the book by sending an e-mail to her at Connie is a writer, lecturer, general contractor, board member of Harmonious Earth Community Foundation, business owner, mother and grandmother. She says the worst thing a person can do for themselves is to “live in the past or live in the future. You should live in the present.” She also owns and operates four businesses here in Pagosa Springs; Serenity Trail (a gift line), Mountain Homes Classics (log homes), Mountain Classics Mortgage Company (national commercial financing) and EarthWise Environments (designs, individual business plans, construction for residential and commercial buildings). Connie, both personally and professionally, is ever advocating “positive change for bringing humanity and earth in harmony.”

Art in The Den

Picture this: It is the end of November and there is whispering and pointing amidst the dining and conversing. The eye follows the pointing fingers to the art hanging salon style on the walls. Gasp! The beauty! The skill! Where did all of the pictures and paintings come from?

Why, the high school, of course. Rebekah Wilkins-Pepiton, the art teacher from the Pagosa Springs High School, and her students need a space for student art shows. Our dining room, although mostly perfect (the food and company already are), deserves more than calendars and United Way posters on the walls. And why not treat the Greatest Generation to the art of our most talented youth? All it takes is $111 (for 1x4 boards, paint, nails and adhesive backing for the art), and our high school art students have a place to showcase their work, and our dining room is the cultural center of town.

Want to help by donating money, or are you an artist who wants to assist with the project? Call me at 264-2167 or e-mail me at

Thank you

Thank you to Geri Starr for donating a microwave oven to our kitchen. Thank you to Cleda Campbell for donating plant cuttings to our seniors.

Bushels of apples mysteriously appeared in our lunch room, and I did some smart detective work. Not only does Ernie Garcia cheerfully, faithfully and competently clean up after us when we leave our space for the evening, he leaves donations of produce anonymously. Thank you, Ernie Garcia, for taking care of us and donating the apples to give to our seniors.

Big, big thanks to Roger Puryear, who took two days out of his life on a moment’s notice to volunteer to drive our seniors about town when our regular bus driver was sick. You are awesome, Roger.

Fun and games

Is there something really cool you know how to do, or a fun game you like to play, or some specialized knowledge that if it is not passed on humanity will suffer? Present it here, before or after lunch. For instance, I will present box making with old holiday cards in November. Musetta will teach a card game elegantly entitled “Lie, Cheat and Steal.” Surely someone can teach something more exciting and /or relevant than these. Call me at 264-2167 or e-mail me at


Are you homebound, or know someone who is? Let the Silver Foxes Den help you with your meals. We have expanded our service to the more rurally isolated areas of the county and would like to help you help yourself.

These meals are the same meals prepared in our kitchen by the same cooks who prepare those scrumptious senior center meals. Our hot meal home-delivery program remains available to those living closer to town, four days per week. Meals are available to people age 60-plus for a suggested donation of $3 per meal. Give me or Musetta a call at 264-2167 for further information.

Activities at The Den:

Friday, Oct. 16 — Geezers, 9 a.m.; Tai Chi Intermediate, 9:30 a.m.; Tai Chi Beginning, 11 a.m.; Gym Walk, 11:15 a.m. Noon music by Peter Morey.

Monday, Oct. 19 — Gym Walk, 11:15 a.m.; Canasta 1 p.m.

Tuesday, Oct. 20 — Gym Walk, 11:15 a.m.; Meditation for Healing, 1 p.m.; Sky Ute Casino trip, 1 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct. 21 — Dance for Health, 10 a.m.; Frugal Free Library, by Tessa Michaelson, 1 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 22 — Administration Day.

Friday, Oct. 23 — Geezers, 9 a.m.; Tai Chi Intermediate, 9:30 a.m.; Tai Chi Beginning, 11 a.m.; Gym Walk. 11:15 a.m.

Our October Archuleta County Senior Center Newsletter is now available on Archuleta County’s Web site:

Medical expenses

The Silver Foxes Den, in cooperation with Archuleta Seniors, Inc. (ASI), may be able to help with excess medical expenses. Items covered might be prescription copays, eyeglasses, hearing aids, and dental care. Qualifying amounts are based on income and need. Recipients must be current members of ASI. Dues are $5 per year. For more information about how we might help you or your family, please contact Musetta at 264-2167.

ASI memberships

Is it time for you renew or buy your 2009 ASI Membership? You can purchase memberships at The Silver Foxes Den on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Folks 55 and older will benefit with discounts from many local businesses, including the local hot springs. This is one of the best deals in Pagosa Springs. All 2009 memberships expired Dec. 31.


Suggested donation for older adults age 60-plus is $3, kids 12 and under and guests $6. Our meal program is partially funded through the Older Americans Act, United Way, and Archuleta County, Town of Pagosa Springs and other contributions and grants. These funds help support the cost of the meal which is approximately $9.75. Please note our menu is subject to change. The salad bar opens at 11:30 a.m. with lunch served from noon to 12:30 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 16 — French dip sandwich, au jus, oven browned potatoes, mixed vegetables, strawberry applesauce.

Monday, Oct. 19 — Orange chicken, wild rice, seasoned broccoli, spiced applesauce, chocolate chip cookie, roll.

Tuesday, Oct. 20 — Spinach lasagna, salad, green beans, orange, bread.

Wednesday, Oct. 21 —Honey barbecue chicken, oven browned potatoes, spinach, pears, bread.

Thursday, Oct. 22 — Administration day.

Friday, Oct. 23 — Crunchy baked fish, mashed potatoes, mixed vegetables, pineapple, mandarin, orange, bread.