SHERIDAN — The Hub on Smith’s recent acquisition of property on Brooks Street — which was triggered by a collaboration between Seven Pillars, LLC., the Northern Wyoming Community College District and Whitney Benefits — will help the organization grow one of its critical services.
The Hub plans to use most of the new space, which Seven Pillars donated, to expand its Help at Home program.
Help at Home has become central to The Hub’s mission, and to its future plans. The service dispatches home health aids to help elderly residents living at home with both daily home care tasks — like cooking, cleaning and shopping — and personal care — like hygiene, feeding and exercise — to keep those residents healthy and living at home.
But The Hub’s Executive Director Carmen Rideout said demand for Help at Home’s services has increased recently, and will likely continue increasing for the foreseeable future.
According to a report compiled by Sheridan Memorial Hospital late last year, Sheridan’s population of residents 65 or older, which is currently about 7,500, will increase by 2,345 over the next 10 years.
U.S. Census data also indicates that Wyoming’s population is aging faster than most of the rest of the country, due in large part to younger workers regularly leaving the state.
The Hub, and groups like the Wyoming AARP, have pushed for programs that help elderly residents live at home for as long as possible, as a surge in residents moving into state-funded skilled nursing facilities would cause the costs of maintaining those facilities to skyrocket.
“The state of Wyoming is particularly interested in services like those that Help at Home…because it’s cost effective; not only for the state, but for communities and families as well,” Rideout said.
The Hub Board of Directors Vice President Anthony Spiegelberg said growing Help at Home was always planned as the final phase of The Hub’s “Celebrating Generations and Building Community” construction project and the Brooks Street property proved to be an ideal location for that expansion.
“We are incredibly grateful for that donation,” Spiegelberg said. “It allows us to plan for the future and gives us a new access point on Brooks Street, allowing for better traffic flow and more parking for those who use The Hub.”
Rideout said the new building will allow The Hub to create more office space, training space and rest space for Help at Home staff. She added, though, that it is too early to tell exactly how many new staff members Help at Home can accommodate with the new space.
The Hub’s Board of Directors hired Thane Magelky, the principal architect at the Sheridan-based QC10 Architects, to design a master plan for the new building. Rideout said The Hub will share that master plan publicly when it becomes available, which she estimated could be by the end of August.