When The Club, 2754 Compass Drive, opens its doors for an open house today and over the weekend, visitors will see a gleaming facility that caters to the needs of senior citizens.

It’s what visitors don’t see — the next-level thinking that made The Club possible — that’s even more impressive.

The Club is the centerpiece of HopeWest’s reinvention. Most people recognize HopeWest for serving the dying and seriously ill, which it’s done for more than a quarter-century.

But hospice care is a tough business. Flat reimbursement rates from the federal government don’t even keep pace with operational expenses. Looking at the future, the HopeWest board of directors faced some daunting choices. The organization considered trying to expand, merging with or selling to a bigger organization — and potentially giving up its status as an independent community-owned agency — shrinking or diversifying.

It settled on an idea that resonates with its mission and passion as a social-reform agency. It decided to become a certified PACE provider and position itself to help Mesa County’s coming “silver tsunami” age in place.

It purchased the structure on Compass Drive for $4 million to establish the Center for Living Ur (Your) Best, which offers seniors opportunities to socialize, get a cup of coffee, dine, get primary medical care or relax in a spa.

PACE stands for Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, which provides comprehensive medical and social services to certain frail, community-dwelling elderly individuals, most of whom are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid benefits. A PACE certification is a capital-intensive endeavor. It requires transportation, an adult day health center, a primary care senior clinic and a physical therapy suite, among other things.

The idea is that keeping the elderly in their own homes and providing support services is cheaper than paying for them to be in a nursing home. Since HopeWest is making a $19 million investment in the community to get a PACE facility up and running, the board wondered, why not open it up to the public? So, PACE will merely be a category of membership in The Club. All of the assets — all of the capital investment required for PACE — will be leveraged by expanding the market for those services to people who can sign up on a monthly basis for various levels.

Seniors now have a place to play games, practice yoga or Tai Chi or take art classes. These social connections and opportunities to remain active are important for keeping seniors healthy — and out of expensive nursing care. At the same time, HopeWest is creating jobs by providing these services, expanding its reach and adding a much-needed segment to the community’s continuum of care.

But it’s not cheap. The organization will soon look to raise another $3 million to finish work on the east side of the building. So please, go to the open house today from 4:30 to 7 p.m. or between noon and 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and think about supporting a facility and services that you or someone you love will likely need as they age.

Recommended for you