Thursday, August 26, 2010

Aging In Place in Darien

This week I attended my last Advisory Board meeting for Aging In Place in Darien. That's because the Advisory Board has been disbanded and we will now have a Board of Directors. The new board has a fantastic array of really smart, dedicated people. I'm so excited that I will be working with them to more firmly establish AIP as a nonprofit serving the needs of Darien seniors.

Aging In Place in Darien has come a long way in a few years -- from just an idea to an organization that connects seniors to the myriad services that exist to help them stay in their homes as they age. In July, we sponsored a meeting of local service providers in Norwalk, Darien and Stamford. There are over 90 such providers! 30 showed up and were thrilled to be networking and discovering how others serve seniors. The biggest problem seems to be lack of awareness. We help correct that.

"We identify barriers and help break through them," says Olive Hauser, Director of Social Services in Darien. She's right, that's one of the big things AIP does. By working collaboratively, brainstorming, providing information and links, and acting as catalysts, we've helped Gallivant increase its ridership. (Gallivant is Darien's van that takes seniors and disabled to appointments of all kinds). We also helped the town establish half-price taxi vouchers for seniors by tapping a state senior transportation grant. Seniors buy the vouchers at Town Hall, and Eveready Taxi will accept the vouchers as payment for rides. Demand for taxi vouchers keeps climbing. Call Darien Social Services for more information -- 203-656-7328. To ride on Gallivant, call: 203-655-2227.

But AIP does even more to help you to remain independent. Alyssa Israel, the AIP Coordinator, has a list of vetted service providers, if you need help around the house. She gets about 30 to 50 calls each month, mostly requesting handyman or home maintenance help, followed by transportation requests. Alyssa can be reached at 203-202-2912.

I'm looking forward to our new board keeping up the momentum and accomplishing even more in the months and years ahead.

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