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History of Elder Care Network of Northern Colorado (ECN)

HISTORY OF ELDER CARE NETWORK of Northern Colorado By Kirsten Hartman and Bonnie Shetler Sept 2009

Feb 9, 1996
A group of professional providers met at the invitation of Pam Morris, a caregiver who realized the need to make information and resources about aging more accessible to caregivers. Out of this meeting, a group was established whose mission was to inform and support caregivers of frail elderly. The initial name of the group was Caring for Aging Parents (CAPS).  The name was later changed to Elder Care Network of Larimer County. Because of Pam Morris’ affiliation, the Women’s Development Council agreed to act as the fiscal agent for CAPs under their 501c3 designation.   The first major activity of CAPs was to organize the Embrace Aging Conference to educate family caregivers about the issues and needs of frail elderly as well as the community resources available to address those needs. The Office on Aging agreed to help sponsor the event.

  • Committees were established for ECN: workplace education, website, newsletter and conferences. 
  • A condition of membership in the organization was active participation in one of these committees.
  • First Embrace Conference was held in May 1997 with 40 people in attendance.


  • 2nd Annual Embrace Aging Conference in May 1998.
  • Completed brochure.
  • Hosted employer sessions on aging issues.
  • Website refined (hosted by Fort Net).  Bonnie Shetler designed original site.


  • 3rd Annual Embrace Aging Conference, Theme of: Pathways to Caring and Finding Help, 42 participants.
  • Collaborated with Girl Scouts to have them distribute information about upcoming conference.
  • 4 presentations made to workplace through Education committee.
  • Community grants received from Advanced Energy and Mildred Arnold Foundation.
  • Elderhaus became the fiscal agent for its 501 c3, and fiscal agent with Women’s Development council dropped.
  • Columbine Health Systems and Fort Collins Senior Center provided resources and publication support for ECN and conference.
  • 800 hits on website.


  • Focus of ECN was in reorganization: created Steering Committee as participants on conference did not know about whole network.  Also decided to forgo annual conference as not enough participants for amount of work. 
  • Newsletter: Pathways.
  • Phone: Acquired a voice mail phone system at a discounted rate.
  • Speakers bureau created.
  • Booth at Celebration of Neighborhood city event at Lory Student Center.


  • 1st Edition of  Life Journeys: Caring Across Generations published in collaboration with Senior Mental Health Consortium.  Distributed to corporations and individuals  (Spring 2001).
  • 2nd Edition of Life Journeys published and distributed at Bridging the Gap luncheon.  
  • Office on Aging paid for cost of newsletter.
  • Conversations started with Parent Magazine.
  • Speaker’s Bureau sent letter to churches of Larimer County about speaking with grant from Interfaith Council.
  • Booth at New West Fest shared with Senior Advisory Board, Foundation on Aging, and Office on Aging.


  • Publication: First edition of insert in Parent Magazine published in May.
  • Website: 7320 hits on website (Feb 02).
  • Letter sent again to churches re Speaker’s Bureau.
  • Annual meeting held  (June) at Foothills Gateway  (ECN members only not recruitment).
  • Elderhaus still fiscal agent.
  • Steering committee Goals (July) included providing leadership in Marketing Strategies and Membership Drive.


  • Annual Meeting held (October) at Home State Bank (meeting room) also recruitment time.
  • At Large members brought onto Steering Committee.
  • Committee called Ways and Means attempting to work with Elderhaus on possible grants (Kellogg Foundation).
  • Publication: Parent Magazine published May issue and articles in other issues provided by publication committee.
  • Website: Started a section on non-medical companion care.  Website still hosted with FortNet.
  • Web hits: 100-200 per month.
  • Education committee looking into Brown bag luncheon meetings.
  • Continuing collaboration with Office on Aging.
  • Caregivers Book Group started at Barnes and Noble (monthly).
  • Outreach Committee: Perpetual Calendar started (with Office on Aging).
  • Family Connections committee formed.


  • Annual meeting (October) Fort Collins Senior Center (early morning).
  • Perpetual Calendar distributed  (ECN members had words of wisdom with their ads).
  • Foundation on Aging became the fiscal agent with its 501 c3 and fiscal relationship with Elderhaus stopped.
  • Website: Started discussion with Gene Hodge (Impel Solutions) for hosting site
  • Website launched in October (
  • Family Connections committee creating packet of information to be given to family members who are moving into long term care facilities.  (This project eventually dropped).
  • Publication: Parent Magazine continuing.
  • Law Day committee started meeting (Fall) under Education Committee.


  • Annual meeting held at Rio Grande (Oct) upstairs room (Chris Goes major contributor).
  • Education/Outreach Committee: Discussion with District Attorney office re mini-series for support staff with Office on Aging.
  • Education: Letter sent to senior businesses re employee training.
  • 1st Senior Law Day Conference held (Sept) at Plymouth Congregational Church (about 100 attendees including sponsors) Kirsten Hartman Chair.
  • Family Connections committee: Looking for people who are past active caregiver role to support others  and continuing to explore ways to put their mission into action.
  • Publication: Parent Magazine and articles in The Forum newspaper.
  • Marketing first meeting with ideas of how to distribute information to variety of sources (see attached).
  • ECN Booth held at Bridging the Gap.


  • Steering committee started discussion about need for By-Laws and more organization as membership is decreasing.  Started discussions about forming our own 501 c3
  • March decided to elect leadership roles.
  • Annual meeting (June) elected leadership positions (Originally named: CMO Chief Motivating Officer, Kirsten Hartman, CMO in training Don Gaymon, Secretary Kendra Payne, Treasurer Bonnie Shetler, (titles corrected at first executive committee).
  • Executive committee formed.
  • Quarterly meetings for networking decided.
  • By-laws completed October/November.
  • Created a liaison function with Foundation on Aging by ECN members being on their board.
  • Family Connections: created conversation groups, called them Caregiver Conversations, 6 conversations held.
  • Publication: Articles (or ECN information) in North Forty News and Fossil Creek News for Senor Spotlight Edition.
  • Phone Committee: Started a spread sheet to track calls.
  • Education committee: Planned to start classes on Personal Care Providers for non-certified aides through Office on Aging and Education and Life Training Center.
  • Senior Law Day: Aug at First Presbyterian Church (about 117 attendees).


  • Steering Committee: Dues now collected, 1st write up about joining committees created.
  • Networking event  (April) at Rigden Farm and photo taken for Parent Magazine ad.
  • July Network, Picnic at Rolland Moore Park.
  • Election of officers held by e-mail.
  • Education: Speaker’s bureau revitalized.
  • Website: Set up Forum.
  • Senior Law Day: (Aug) First Presbyterian Church (200 registered, 160 attended).
  • Senior Law Day (Fall) started discussion re collaboration with CSU for future conference.
  • Family Connections: Holding caregiver conversations in coordination with Office on Aging.


  • Annual Networking meeting (Jan) Columbine Café. 
  • Annual Business meeting (June) Manios Café.  New officers elected.
  • Steering committee: Discussion started re forming Marketing Committee.
  • By-Laws updated, Brochure updated.
  • Created liasion from ECN to Foundation on Aging.
  • Senior Law Day: Discussions continuing with CSU re collaboration.
  • Senior Law Day (Aug) held at CSU, Lory Student Center (over 200 registrations 175 attendees).
  • Education/Speaker’s bureau: Flyer distributed about speaker’s bureau.
  • Family Connections: Continuing Caregiver Conversations.
  • Publications: going through changes (Fall 08).
  • Marketing Committee: First meeting in fall.


  • Annual Networking meeting (Jan) held at Sugar Valley.
  • Collaboration agreement signed with Larimer County Caregiver Collation (June) project of Office on Aging to explore and develop projects of mutual concern.
  • Annual June meeting held at Whole Life Center.  New officers Elected.
  • Social committee: Started rotating monthly meetings held as networking times.
  • Senior Law Day (Aug) Lory Student Center (200 attendees).
  • Web committee: Photos added to site.  Began active collaboration with LCCC to expand website.
  • Marketing Committee: Redid brochure, created Vendor Board for display at events
  • Publication: Started monthly internal newsletter
  • Education: Collaboration with LCCC and Powerful Tools for Caregiver Workshops
  • Annual networking meeting held . 
  • Annual Business meeting (June); new officers elected. 
  • 6th annual Senior Law Day (Aug) at CSU Lory Student Center (over 200 attendees) 
  • Marketing Committee: attended trade shows using new display board.
  • Education Committee: Made proposal on annual Resource Day and later approved by Steering Committee. 
  • Fifty ECN members registered by year end. 

  • Annual networking meeting (Jan) held at Whole Life Center; all committees presented slide presentation to ECN members. 
  • First annual Elder Care Resource Day in February held at Timberline Church (45 attendees). 
  • Annual Business meeting (June) held at MacKenzie Place (new officers elected). 
  • Exec and Steering Committees discussed forming own 501c3 non-profit organization. 
  • Finance Committee formed to update By-Laws, review 501c3 organization, and create annual budget. 
  • 7th annual Senior Law Day held at CSU Lory Student Center in August (390 registered, 325 attended). 
  • 75 members registered by year end.


  • Annual networking meeting (Jan) held at Rigden Farms; committees presented updates.  
  • Finance Committee made recommendation on revised By-Laws and 501c3 organization to Steering Committee. 
  • Steering Committee approved By-Laws and non-profit corp. formation with Colorado State, which was granted by the state in March 2012.  IRS 501c3 application approval by  IRS expected by October 2012. 
  • 2nd annual Elder Care Resource Day held at Timberline Church on March 31 (127 registered attendees).
  • Annual election meeting of officers (June) and presentation to members at MacKenzie Place. (new officers elected). 
  • 8th annual Senior Law Day held at CSU Lory Student Center in August with about 400 attendees.  


  • Focus of ECN expanded to include all of Northern Colorado.
  • 3rd annual Elder Care Resource Day held at Timberline Church on April 6 (103 registered attendees).
  • 9th annual Senior Law day held at the Fort Collins Marriott on August 3 with approximately 300 attendees.
  • Family Connections Committee combined with the Education Committee - started a monthly Educational Series.
  • Membership and Web Committees worked together to produce reports, invoicing from the online Member Directory.
  • Membership now at 90+. 
  • Web Committee continued to enhance the website with a photo slide show on the Home Page and Featured Member display. 


  • The application to become a 501 c3 non-profit was submitted.
  • In order to coordinate with the fiscal year, the all-member business meeting was changed to December.
  • 4th annual Elder Care Resource Day held at Redeemer Lutheran Church on March 29 (119 attendees).  
  • The Education Committee successfully presented monthly education sessions for seniors and family caregivers.
  • 10th annual Senior Law day held at the Fort Collins Hilton on August 2 (over 400 attendees). 
  • The Marketing committee has been very active in promoting ECN at local trade shows.

Member Showcase

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4807 Westridge Drive
Fort Collins, CO 80526

Community Volunteers

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