Ten years of service to Summit County at Timberline
Walking into the Timberline Adult Day Services center, you’re apt to notice several things. Stacks of cards and board games fill entire shelves. Books line the wall next to the television set up with a Wii console. Around the tables are people and they are all talking, laughing and smiling.Timberline first opened its doors in January 2003, with the intention of providing an adult day program focused on serving the elderly. Now, 10 years later, those doors are still open, and the original vision has expanded to meet the needs found in the community. While Timberline does offer services to a senior population, particularly those struggling with Alzheimer’s and dementia, it also serves individuals with issues such as traumatic brain injuries, developmental disabilities, cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis. The ages of participants at Timberline has ranged anywhere from 18-96.Candace Selk Barnes, the executive director of Timberline and a self-licensed practical nurse and nursing home administrator, said that the age difference is sometimes a concern of people thinking of entering a loved one into the program. “They think they won’t fit in with the group because of age,” she said. However, that turns out not to be the case. “They’re totally comfortable. They look at each other as family.”In fact, social interaction is one of the major services offered at Timberline, Barnes said. While participants might otherwise be isolated at home, for physical or other reasons, at Timberline they are around other people, both participants and volunteers, with a plethora of active options.In addition to all the books and games found throughout the center, participants can partake in dancing, balance classes and group walks. A certified handler brings in animals for pet therapy. Sometimes field trips are arranged. In the past, groups have gone skiing at Keystone and taken in a Rockies game. “I would love to get more music,” said Barnes, who once brought in a friend to set up a drumming circle. In addition to giving the participants an active yet secure place to spend time with others, Timberline provides respite to the caregivers as well. They can take some time for themselves and other needs without having to worry about leaving their loved one alone.”Knowing that mom’s in a safe, secure place is huge,” said Barnes.The staff and volunteers at Timberline have backgrounds in nursing, geriatric care, mental counseling, teaching and special education. They assist in providing services such as medication management, counseling and life skills training.Matt Brenner, a state registered, nationally certified psychotherapist, started volunteering at Timberline two years ago. Now he leads a men’s support group, offers individual counseling and teaches life skills classes.”We’re really accessible,” Brenner said of the center’s Frisco location, which is also near the hospital and Summit Stage stops. “We provide a service that most of the people would have had to leave (the county) to get.”Brenner also emphasizes the social interaction between the participants as one of the main benefits of Timberline. He particularly sees this within the men’s support group, where they share their life and experiences and sometimes just casually chat.”These people would be otherwise isolated. There’s a lot of fellowship here,” he said. “This is a place where they can be themselves.”With the life skills classes, Brenner works to help the participants gain skills that they can take out of the center and use in everyday life – things like nutrition, budgeting, cooking and effective communication skills. “People just blossom here,” he said. “This is a very special place. I feel glad to be a part of it.”Janice Sanders only just started volunteering at Timberline and already she’s hooked. “To me this is a very needed program in any community. What is offered is needed and it’s special,” she said. “I plan to be there for a very long time.”
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