Monday, August 18, 2008

Aging in Place - Transportation for Seniors - Darien, CT

Faith in Action – Aging in Place

The First Congregational Church of Darien's Aging in Place initiative is simple. We’re trying to make it easier for our older church members to stay in their homes as long as they’d like. When we asked people how we could help them do this, three things came up – getting information/news, getting around, and getting things done. When we started two years ago, we created a mission statement: To help seniors to live independently, comfortably, easily and with dignity in their own homes as long as possible.

Within our church, our AIP committee, the Handyman Corps, CareNet, the Caring Committee, Deacons and the clergy are all working together to ensure that all our members have access to church and community news, continue to feel that they are an active part of our church family, can secure rides to church and medical appointments, get help with shopping, and get help with completing small handyman tasks at home. If anyone has any ideas of how we can accomplish our goals better, please give Wyn a call at 655-6968. If you need a hand, or if you want to give back by volunteering, please call Shannon Wall or Wyn.

We’re also joining hands with the town-wide effort, Aging in Place in Darien, which is being run out of the Community Fund. AIP in Darien has hired a professional coordinator, Alyssa Israel, with seed funds provided by the Community Fund. Wyn Lydecker is representing our church on the organization’s Board of Directors, and she is heading up the transportation committee. We figure if all the service organizations and churches in our area can join together, we can accomplish our shared mission of – Helping Darien Seniors live independently, comfortably and with dignity in their own homes as long as possible. (They quoted from our mission statement with our committee’s permission.)

We’ve put out copies of the latest Senior Resource Directory, published by the Commission on Aging and Darien Social Services. Look for them on one of the front tables at church. If we run out, and you’d like your own copy, please call 656-7328. To access the directory online, go to: http://www.darienct.gov/services/social_services/senior_resources.pdf

Wyn has learned that there are many sources of transportation available for Darien Seniors. All theses services are also available for people with disabilities.
· First, there’s Gallivant, which uses a van and professional drivers. The suggested donation for a ride in the Gallivant is $5.00 for a round trip. Gallivant will take you to medical appointments, hair appointments, the store, the Senior Center, your club, the DCA, you name it. It’s available Monday – Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It’s a private-public partnership. Call 655-2227 to make a reservation. For information, call Darien Social Services at 656-7328. The van is wheelchair accessible.
· The Red Cross will drive anyone to medical appointments free of charge. You must make a reservation. Call: 655-2586. Red Cross volunteers will also do your shopping, if you can’t get out. By-the-way, the Red Cross also needs more volunteers to do driving and shopping. This is a wonderful way to give back.
· CT Transit can also help with transportation, if you live within three-quarters of a mile of a bus route. Call Dispatch-a-Ride at 299-5190.

If you don’t want to call our own handyman corps, AIP in Darien has a vetted services list of professionals you can hire to do work in your home. AIP in Darien is also working with St. Luke’s Small Tasks Ministry to provide free handyman services. Call Alyssa at 202-2912 to arrange services or to volunteer.

This fall we hope to get all of the church youth groups, Indian Guides and Princesses, high school volunteers and Boy and Girl Scouts to create one big volunteer group to rake leaves at the homes of seniors who are shut-in and cannot afford to hire landscapers.

Darien Seniors can join Aging In Place in Darien for free. Just call Alyssa to sign up – 202-2912. Call Wyn at 655- 6968 if you have questions, want to give back by volunteering to help those in our church or if you need some sort of help from your church family.

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