Monday, September 30, 2013

More About At Home in Darien

Aging in Place+Gallivant Renamed At Home in Darien

Here is the official word about Aging in Place+Gallivant changing to At Home in Darien.

Members of the Board of Directors, Maureen Tyrrell, Gina Blum, Erin Shea, Peter Eder, Bill Ball, Kaye Barker, Anne McGuire, Amy Squyres, Nancy Herling and Diana Kalman, display the new and previous logo designs.

To more clearly communicate its mission of helping Darien Seniors live independently, comfortably and with dignity in their own homes, Aging in Place+Gallivant (a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization) has renamed itself, At Home in Darien.

“Formed almost three years ago by the creation of Aging in Place in Darien and a subsequent merger with Gallivant (the senior transportation service established more than twenty years ago), At Home in Darien is a more reflective identifier of our purpose and programs,” notes Nancy Herling, Board President.

A new graphic identity is simultaneously being introduced, thanks to 341 Studios, a Darien marketing and design firm. Gretchen Bruno, Managing Partner notes, “Through simple, comprehensive graphics, At Home in Darien programs will be more quickly recognized and easily remembered.”  A set of symbols depicts the array of services and the tag line “connecting seniors to community” has been incorporated into the design.

There are almost two hundred aging in place organizations around the U.S. who have similar missions.  Darien has been in the forefront of this national initiative, focused on communities.  Every Darien resident sixty and over is automatically a member of At Home in Darien.  The organization also strives to assist families as they handle the needs of aging parents.

At Home in Darien offers flexible transportation alternatives through its long established car and van service.  It maintains an expanding database of pre-screened, vetted services providers.  Volunteers serve as friendly visitors, shoppers, drivers, and provide basic in-and-around the house assistance with chores.

By working with existing public and private institutions like Darien Human Services, the Darien Senior Activities Center, The Darien Community Association, the Darien Library, the Community Fund of Darien, and with regional, state, and national organizations, At Home in Darien provides access to, and enhances programs and services supporting seniors wanting to remain in their homes.  “Our programs and services are communicated by our Out and About newsletter, which is mailed three times yearly to all Darien mailboxes and our monthly on-line bulletins”, comments Gina Blum, the Executive Director.

For more information, call At Home in Darien at 203.585.4094 or visit:   

Friday, September 27, 2013

Aging in Place+Gallivant Changed Its Name to At Home in Darien

Aging in Place+Gallivant has changed its name to At Home in Darien.

The organization's board (of which I'm a founding member) made the change to more clearly communicate the nonprofit's mission of "Helping Darien Seniors live independently, comfortably and with dignity in their own homes."

Along with the name change, At Home in Darien has updated its logo. 341 Studios did the design.

You can learn more at:

Board Vice President Peter Eder, Executive Director Gina Blum, and Office Coordinator Sandi Kornblum display the previous and new logo designs.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Scam Alert - Latest Phone Scams

I just got the following scam alert from my state senator, Bob Duff. I've received the phone message (a robocall) that Connecticut State Senator Duff cites in his alert. It sounds real, but it certainly designed to prey upon seniors.

Read more from Senator Duff...

Last week, I sent out a notice to the media about a call I received at my home regarding getting a free medical alert system. The person who left a message sounded very professional, calm and certain. It was nothing more than a scam. Turns out, many people from all over the country have received the same call - some multiple times. I received a lot of feedback, so I want to make sure you are aware too.

Click here to find out more information and to listen to the message. (It's a "wav" file, which works best on Internet Explorer.)

Secondly, a senior called me because she received a live call about a "new" Medicare card. That's also a scam. Medicare will never call you. It's happening nationally and here's more info:

Many times the calls come from out of state or another country, which makes prosecution difficult. Only by staying vigilant and passing along information to our loved will be outsmart these criminals.


P.S. With these scammers, I've found that it's not a good idea to press numbers to be taken off their lists. It just alerts them that it is a "working" number. Hang up or use your call i.d. and don't even answer the phone.

Senator Bob Duff
Standing Up for You

(203) 840-1333

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Staying Independent At Home

Last week, health columnist Jane Brody wrote an excellent piece on successful aging in one's own home and community. 80 to 90% of American seniors want to remain in their homes. But they can't do it alone. It takes community support. Fortunately, organizations have sprung up all over the country that provide exactly this kind of support. Read the article, "Staying Independent in Old Age, With a Little Help."

Full disclosure: I am a founding member and a current board member of Aging in Place+Gallivant, an organization that provides precisely the kind of help Jane Brody writes about, but for older adults in Darien, Connecticut. We provide transportation, handyman services, referrals and information.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Banishing the Grinch from Christmas

When I walked into my 87-year-old friend's kitchen, she didn't even say hello. Instead, she said, "I hate Christmas. Well, not when the kids were little. But now. I hate Christmas."

She motioned to the envelopes, cards, an address book and pen spread out on the table. But I knew the real reason. Last year, on Christmas Day, her only daughter had died. I can't imagine facing Christmas under such circumstances. So I looked her in the eye and said, "If I were in your shoes, I'd hate Christmas, too."

She nodded.  Her eyes said it all.

Then, I started admiring the really clever Christmas cards she had chosen, which had been designed by a British artist. And we got into quite a discussion about artists, family histories and generator installations in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Out of the blue she said, "Before you leave I have to show you the dog."

She explained that she had gone to all the CVS drugstores in our area trying to find more dogs just like the one she was going to show me. She wanted to have one for herself and give others to friends and family. She had managed to snag only three.

There on the kitchen counter sat a stuffed dog. She pushed the "Push Here" button on his paw. And the dog started singing a Christmas song, moving around and flapping his ears in time to the music.We both burst out laughing.

"Isn't he great?" she asked.

I left her house marveling at how the Grinch hadn't actually gotten away with stealing my neighbor's Christmas completely. She still had a lot of resilience and even Christmas spirit left. That's probably why she's lived so long.

Still, in this highly commercial world, I hope we can all keep the true spirit of Christmas and this multi-cultural Holiday Season alive. Joy, peace, hope, love. Let the light of what's ultimately good overcome the darkness. 

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Candlelight Concert at First Congregational Church - Free Rides from Gallivant

Christmas Candlelight Concert at First Congregational Church

Get in the Christmas spirit at the beloved annual Candlelight Concert at The First Congregational Church of Darien on Sunday, December 9, at 7:00 p.m. The evening will feature performances by The Darien High School Tudor Singers under the direction of Chris Andrade, the church’s Senior Choir soloists, world-class pianist Max Pakhomov, and a carol sing-along. Dan Hague, First Congregational’s Music Director, has also promised “a few surprises.”

John Stuart, Chair of the church’s Music Committee, said, “This is a Christmas gift to our entire community. I find the concert very special, even magical. It’s an event that simply is not to be missed, and all are welcome.”

There is no charge for the concert, but the church will be collecting a free-will offering to benefit ElderHouse of Norwalk, CT, one of the worthy causes supported by the church’s Outreach efforts. ElderHouse Adult Day Center is committed to providing aging seniors with a safe, nurturing environment where they can share time with others while receiving the care they need. Learn more about Elderhouse at

For Darien seniors 60+ who would like a ride to and from this evening event, Aging in Place+Gallivant is offering free transportation using their volunteer Friendly Drivers. Just call Gina Blum, Executive Director, at 203-585-4094. Aging in Place+Gallivant is a nonprofit 501 (c) 3 organization whose mission is to help older adults in Darien to live independently, comfortably and with dignity in their own homes for as long as possible. It is generously supported by community members, including the First Congregational Church. Learn more at
The First Congregational Church of Darien, UCC, is located at 14 Brookside Road in Darien. For more information about the concert, please visit the church website at or call the church office at 203-655-0491.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Dangers of Reverse Mortgages

Yesterday, The New York Times ran a front-page article on the financial dangers of reverse mortgages. Unsuspecting seniors, lured by deceptive sales pitches or lack of full disclosures, who took out reverse mortgages are losing their homes. Defaults are running high. Reverse mortgages allow homeowners 62 and older to borrow money against the equity they have built up in their homes. They pay back the loan when they die or move.

Some people look at their homes as a bank, and they can use the money from a reverse mortgage for a vacation or to pay for school for grandchildren or for healthcare needs. These are practices fraught with peril for many seniors.

The article, "Abuse Growing in Loan Option for the Elderly," (print title) not only profiles people who have lost their homes, but also gives tips about things to look out for.
  •  The fees may not be affordable.
  • You still have to pay property taxes, insurance and maintenance.
  • Make sure both spouses are on the deed. If your spouse and dies, and he or she is the only name on the deed, then you'll lose the house and have to move.
  • Read the details of the loan. There are no standards.
 You can learn about more about reverse mortgages by reading the article on the NY Times website: 

Regulators are noting new abuses tied to reverse mortgages, which let people 62 and older borrow money against the value of their homes and not pay it back until they move out or die."