We just had a meeting of our committee. Here's a summary.
We had a good, productive meeting yesterday, which (thanks to Bobbie E.) gave us all real insight into perceptions around giving and receiving care in any form. It reinforced what we've all been taught since childhood -- It's better to give than to receive.
The idea that came out of this discussion was that any work that could be done for someone to help them stay in their home or to just cope with life should come under the guise of a fundraiser for the Youth Group (or something else in the church). One of us will talk to Wendy and her Youth Group board. They can do chores or handyman work, or drive people to the grocery store or to the doctor (or do babysitting or friendly visiting or teaching how to hook up and work electronic equipment or computers (I just thought of these.)) as a means to raising money and doing community service. This way, the person receiving the service feels that they are contributing -- not just helplessly receiving care. We'd also encourage the older people to invite the kids for tea afterward so they could have a conversation & get to know one another. This activity does not need to be just aimed at the older members of the congregation. It's a free flow of service to/from all. That way we don't put older people on the spot.
We also discussed ideas for how to mix the generations of our church. Mentoring? Dinners? Storytelling? Other? We brainstormed and discussed a lot of ways to do this.
Marnie and I told the group about one of the things we learned at the Aging in Place conference we attended in Madison -- transportation needs. Basically, you only realize how important it is when you suddenly don't have it -- as in not being able to drive any more. We found that there are grants available to help communities start independent transportation networks.
We also learned that Gallivant (a local van service for seniors) does not have a way to lift wheelchairs in and out of its van. We could team up with other churches or the Obie Harrington-Howes Foundation to raise money to buy a hydraulic lift for the Gallivant van.
As we discussed all this, we talked about youth and others in church volunteering to drive people to the grocery store. Jean pointed out that this would come under Caring Committee (CC), and we don't want to duplicate efforts. She said that maybe CC and AIP and their roles should be thought through. Maybe things need to be revamped. Maybe all this sort of work needs a new name. We discussed using the name "Faith in Action". There is a Faith in Action Group in Rocky Hill. (I'll send info. about it, if I find it.) http://faithinactionct.org/index.htm
Jean suggested that now that we have so much information and so many ideas that we should go back and all write down what we think we really want to accomplish. What's our true mission? What are the goals? What are the top few things we should focus on to accomplish our goals? Doing this will give us new focus. We will reflect carefully and prayerfully, and we'll meet in a couple of weeks to share our results.
Anyone out there in the blogosphere who would like to post comments, please do so.
The Gallivant does have a wheelchair lift and one space for a wheelchair. For more inforamation on the Gallivant call Darien Social Services at 656-7328. Social Services also has a "Senior Resouce Directory" and a list of all of our services that can be viewed by going to the Town's website at Darienct.gov and clicking on Social Services. We can also send a hard copy of either to anyone who would like one.
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