The very real value of listening


By Cheryl Wilkinson
PREVIEW Columnist

Asking whether a friend, family member or patient has someone they can count on to listen when they need to talk can be a telling proposition. Social supports come in all sizes and flavors — including the friendly neighbor who waves hello and the one willing to walk your dog so that you can have a furry companion in your home as you age. It turns out that having someone who genuinely listens to us measurably improves our cognitive resilience.

With an estimated 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s and many more living with slow, progressive loss of intellectual abilities for other reasons, it is important that we understand the value that simply listening brings and the positive impacts this exerts on each individual’s ability to maintain their intellectual stamina over time. The impacts start earlier in life than you may expect. For example, those in their 40s and 50s who have little access to someone who they can count on to listen when they need to talk have a cognitive age four years older than their peers who do have someone who listens.

Being a listener is a social support unto itself. The listener hears what concerns, interests or confuses the speaker and this interaction protects brain health in ways that we may not properly value. Providing a sounding board for a loved one or an acquaintance is a simple action that increases their odds of long-term brain health and improved quality of life. Whether cultivating a new social relationship or taking the time to sustain an old one, it is worth the investment required to sustain those bonds.

Our website provides caregiver resources and information about ASI programs in Archuleta County, as well as contact information for making reservations at The Community Café for take-out and for Meals on Wheels at:


The Community Café in the Pagosa Springs Senior Center is requesting volunteers to help with the lunch desk. Please call (970) 264-2167 to volunteer or for more information.

Meals on Wheels
volunteers needed

The Senior Center Meals on Wheels program delivers approximately 3,000 fresh and frozen meals a year. We deliver fresh Meals on Wheels five days a week (and provide frozen Meals on Wheels for weekends) to homebound Archuleta County residents to help them stay healthy and independent in their own homes. 

This program is vitally important because many seniors have little to no access to nutritious meals. They are often too frail or have health complications that prevent them from preparing meals for themselves or from using the Senior Center’s Community Café drive-thru meals pick-up site Monday though Friday. 

The Senior Center needs volunteer Meals on Wheels Drivers for one day a week (or become part of our substitute driver team). Please join us as part of our driver team and build wonderful relationships with the seniors in our community. Call (970) 264-2167.

Take-out meals continue

In order to continue providing meals, the Senior Center is offering take-out hot meals and a salad with a drive-up option under the portico at the Ross Aragon Community Center. 

These meals will be available Monday through Friday between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. There is a $4 suggested donation for lunch for those age 60 and better. If you need to have your meal delivered, please call (970) 264-2167 to see if this option is available in your area. 

The cost per meal for the public age 59 and under is $8.50. The meals include a salad, hot meal, drink and dessert or bread. 

Please call (970) 264-2167 to make a reservation for pickup. We are also continuing our Meals on Wheels program. 

Community Café menu

Thursday, Aug. 26 — Ham and cheese croissant, macaroni salad, milk, salad and German chocolate cake.

Friday, Aug. 27 — Baked salmon with dill cream sauce, wilted spinach, milk, salad and strawberries Romanoff.

Monday Aug. 30 — Moroccan stew, roasted cauliflower, naan bread, milk and salad.

Tuesday, Aug. 31 — Chicken with mushroom cream sauce, wilted spinach, milk, salad and chocolate eclair. 

Wednesday, Sept. 1 — Pork red beans and rice, collard greens, cornbread with butter, milk and salad. 

Thursday, Sept. 2 — Crunchy baked catfish with tartar sauce, broccolini, milk, salad and Key lime pie.

Reservations and cancellations are required. You can make a reservation at (970) 264-2167 by 9 a.m. the morning of the day you would like to drive through and pick up a meal.