In the News

Sharon & Carol pic

 Sharon Perea with Carol Snyder being honored by Gilpin County Senior Living Board of Directors

Gilpin County Senior Living Honors

Sharon Perea

The Gilpin County Senior Living Board of Directors would like to thank Sharon Perea for her immense contributions in founding and leading GCSL in their work toward building the first senior housing in Gilpin County. Sharon resigned as Board Chair at the end of August to pursue other interests indicating that she feels confident that the current Board will continue the momentum and work ahead. Sharon shares the history of Senior Living with you. “In 2007 a small group of us were curious if people who lived in Gilpin County would wish to remain here in their later years. We created an informal survey and approached locals at the county fair. The results showed residents very favorable in having senior housing options. However, the group did not pursue the idea at that time.

In 2010 a Gilpin County Housing Needs Assessment study was completed for the Board of County Commissioners.  It included a “SENIOR DEMAND” section explaining future various housing options which would be needed for seniors. The study results recommended a first phase of 15-30 Independent units (2010-2015) and up to 50 units by 2020!”

In 2011, Sharon was appointed by the BOCC as Gilpin County Representative to the Denver Regional Council of Governments’ Advisory Committee on Aging. As the Gilpin Senior representative and through becoming active in the local senior lunches and events Sharon became aware of the importance of available local senior housing. Many seniors had no choice but to move out of the county due to having no housing options once their home was not “senior friendly” eg: stairs , snow shoveling, isolation, loss of partner with expenses now on one income, high home maintenance needs, no longer driving, etc.

In 2013 with the assistance of Mary Ellen Makosky, Senior Services Supervisor, a questionnaire was sent to 115 local seniors. Questions pertained to their desire to remain in Gilpin County even if no longer able to remain in their home.  Would they consider independent housing?  The response was overwhelmingly positive in remaining in “their” community and near their friends and senior services.

In 2013-14 Kay Johnson and Sharon began visiting Independent Senior Housing sites outside of the county to collect information and ideas on housing site models, prices, etc.  In 2014 a group of interested local volunteers formed a committee and began planning the goals and steps to provide the option of affordable Independent Living for our local seniors in Gilpin County.

In early 2015 Gilpin County Senior Living was formed and received the 501(c) 3 non-profit status and several new board members joined our effort.

From January 2015 to the present, the Gilpin County Senior Living Board of Directors have directed their efforts toward the vision of providing affordable, independent living for our local seniors.  They have worked closely with the Board of County Commissioners in pursuing the GCSL goal.  Throughout these years the Gilpin County Commissioners have been strong supporters and in 2017 committed to helping us with a building site as well as other necessities in providing senior housing. They understand the need and desire of many local seniors wanting to remain in their community.

Over the years, Sharon brought together many people to help work toward the vision addressing a need in our county. Her ideas and energy on the Board will be missed. Sincere thanks for her tireless work from the Gilpin County Senior Living Board of Directors (Jeanne Nicholson, Rob Sawyer, Ardetta Robertson, Craig Holmes, Carol Snyder, Steve Boulter, Joe Marr, and Sandy Hollingsworth.



Gilpin County Senior Living Thanks

carol photo

Carol Snyder

The Gilpin County Senior Living Board of Directors wishes to thank Carol Snyder for her five years serving on the Board and her valuable work in all aspects of fundraising toward building Gilpin County’s first senior housing. Carol says that she will continue to be a volunteer with Senior Living at our fundraiser and outreach events after resigning the board for personal reasons in August. Carol is a friendly face at our events. She cultivated many community contacts to support our events and kicked-off our fundraising. Sharon Perea, past chair, states “Carol put her whole heart in her position as Funding Chairman. Dug right in and spent hours arranging for events.  She spent days on the computer recruiting volunteers to work a booth as well as shopping for supplies.  Carol kept track of the inventory, costs and profit for each event plus worked with Rob Sawyer on the signs and info for events. She was always on top of everything needing to be done to make an event a success. Carol’s husband Woody was always at her side volunteering at events from start to finish!” The volunteers and the Board have fond memories of her coordinating events from the first Classic Car Show this past July, to the Flea Markets and Winter Arts Fairs food booths, to the Annual Lasagna dinner in November. We appreciate her cheerful attitude and look forward to our continued relationship together. Carol says in parting the Board, “I hope that everyone continues to support Gilpin County Senior Living as it is very important to have a residence in Gilpin County for our seniors.”

Submitted with Many Thanks, Gilpin Senior Living Board of Directors

Rob Sawyer, Ardetta Robinson, Craig Holmes, Jeanne Nicholson, Joe Marr, Steve Boulter, Sandy Hollingsworth



The state of senior renters

Originally published by Make Room

The number of senior households paying unaffordable rent has outpaced the growth in the overall senior population during the past decade.

Between 2005 and 2014, the overall population of seniors age 65 and over increased by 25 percent nationwide, from 22.5 million to 28.1 million, while the number of seniors paying more than half of their household income (before taxes) toward rent and utilities shot up by 34 percent, from 1.4 million to 1.8 million.

Graph of high senior rental rates

From <>


Gilpin County “Home, sweet home” to many seniors

Weekly Register Call, November 19, 2015

 Fun-filled show benefits Gilpin County Senior Living with $4,200

by Patty Unruh

The board of Gilpin County Senior Living (GCSL) hosted a lighthearted evening on Saturday, November 14, raising approximately $4,200 for affordable housing for senior citizens in our community, A crowd of about 130 generous residents responded to the Invitation to share dinner, a silent auction, and a talent show at Gilpin County School. Thirty volunteers gave time and effort to ensure the evening’s success.

Lasagna Dinner service 11-15
Volunteers serving up Lasagna Dinners

The evening kicked off with a lasagna dinner in the cafeteria, choreographed by GCSL board member and talented cook Ardetta Robertson, With the help of the able volunteer team, Robertson assembled dozens of pans of meat vegetarian, and gluten-free lasagna, accompanied by salad, Italian bread, and cake.

Folks placed bids at a silent auction that followed in the atrium, Scads of items were donated by generous individuals and businesses ranging from practical to just plain fun. Certificates for services were available from Whyndhams Condominiums, Roy’s Last Shot, Woody’s Pizza in Golden, B & F Mountain Market, Eagles’ Nest Early Learning Center, Mountain Mutts Dog Training, several casinos, plus other businesses. Individual items included art prints, women ‘s jewelry, a folk guitar, pottery, a limited edition of gaming coins, an autographed Avalanche jersey, essential oils gift baskets, and items from Gilpin Stitchers and 92Fifty Bicycle Shop.

Attendees also had an opportunity to purchase a full-color 2016 photo Calendar featuring the Gilpin RE-I fifth graders interviewing Gilpin County seniors. The calendars were produced by GCSL board member Rob Sawyer in just the past month and was selling for only ten dollars each. The students had met with seniors who were either born in Gilpin or have lived here for much of their lives, interviewing them about their school days and other topics of interest about “life back then”.

The assembly enjoyed a show in the auditorium, put on by some of Gilpin’s best talent and emceed by Central City’s mayor, Ron Engels.

Engels said Gilpin’s senior citizens need housing in this community after they are not able to manage their own homes. He thanked GCSL President Sharon Perea and all who worked on the fundraiser.

A dozen acts delighted the crowd with humor, vocal and instrumental, dance and martial arts demonstrations.  The performers were Cora Jeane and Jerry Leenheer; Aucklynn Sacco and Jordana Gagnon; the Gilpin Academy Of Martial Arts; Aubrey Allen; J.D. Paschke; Lindsey James and Keyghan Otten; Katy Marr, the Girl Scouts; Caleb Murphy; and Robbie Zmuda.

Sharon Perea thanked Gilpin School Superintendent Dave MacKenzie and school staff for their assistance, 3 Brothers Printing for donated flyers and programs, the Gilpin County Sheriff for highway message boards, the many volunteers and those who supported GCSL.  She closed with a summary of the group’s objective.

“It’s the goal of our non-profit to offer affordable independent housing for seniors. Lots of us were born and raised here or came here to retire, raise our families or run businesses. It’s hard to leave here.”

Perea noted that the last census showed between 700 and 1,000 seniors in Gilpin County. She noted that as people get older, it’s not so easy to climb stairs, shovel or do other jobs requiring manual labor. Houses are bigger and require more maintenance, People need simpler living space, but Perea said it is hard here because few houses are small enough or have adequate access. Seniors leave because there is no suitable place for them to live.

The GCSL board plans about a 16-unit facility as the first phase of its building process. For further information or to make donations or to purchase event tickets, she directed people to GCSL’s new website, www.gllpincountyseniorliving org


 Gilpin Fifth Graders Help County Senior Project

Press Release by GCSL on November 10, 2015 – Published by The Weekly Register Call 11/13/16

Gilpin County RE 1 Fifth Graders volunteered with the Gilpin County Senior Living Board this past month. The GCSL Fund Development Committee Volunteers came up with the idea of creating a calendar related to seniors living in Gilpin County. The idea grew to include primary school students to contrast with and support our seniors. The Gilpin Elementary School’s fifth grade was eager and willing to help with the project.

Calendar Page 5 small for web
Senior Living Calendar Page

Our fifth grade teachers, Sharon Lutz and Vanessa Grenader, set up a program that allowed their students to interview seniors. All of the 5th graders had been asked to prepare questions to ask the seniors during the recorded and photographed sessions. It took three different afternoons to allow the children to interview all of our attending seniors

The best contrasts appeared when seniors that were born and raised in Gilpin were able to answer the questions from our young interviewers. They told of the differences from their years in school. Some told of having very small classes of 4 or five students, walking to school or using an old “Woodie” station wagon as a school bus in North County. One remembered the great food, with baking biscuits that made your mouth water. The Black Hawk seniors told how they were able to return home for their lunches. They told of the girls wearing proper dresses and following some stricter standards of conduct. The girls were not allowed to play organized sports, but told of the joy of playing in the many other games of the times, such as jacks, hopscotch, rover, kick ball and kick the can. They all reveled in the freedom to run amok in Gilpin County, with only wild animals to watch out for. The fifth graders would write down these seniors’ graduation years, and check out their graduating class pictures on the school walls. Our other senior attendees related the differences in their elementary years. There were stories of coming to Gilpin County every summer to climb 14ers, fish and to hunt. Also shared, were the contrasts of going to large schools and east coast schools.

It worked out as a very nice living history experience. The attending seniors all enjoyed their interactions with the very attentive students. Dorothy Sweet did a nice job of organizing the interviews and recording the sessions. Rob Sawyer was the photographer for the Calendar Pictures. The Calendar will be published to help raise money for the design and building of an Affordable Senior Friendly Housing Development on the County Campus.