St. Luke's Church in Darien, CT, has Aging with Grace Series

St. Luke's Church in Darien, CT, is running a series called Aging with Grace. Information below. To find out where St. Luke's is, visit their website at

Starting This Sunday...November 1, 2009

NEW Discovery Hour Series:
Aging with Grace

9:00 a.m. Sundays in the Parish Hall

November 1: Laconia Therrio -
Finding Our Own Storyteller Within
What greater legacy can we leave behind for those we love than our own personal life story? Laconia (Lot) Therrio is a therapist, Stamford Hospital Chaplain, and master professional story teller who utilizes stories from around the world for therapeutic healing and enjoyment. Today, he will borrow from his own life experience as well as scripture, from ancient Wisdom Literature to Jesus' storytelling, to inspire the autobiographer who lives inside us all. It's an hour of entertainment that promises to be useful as well as fun!

Friends - GraceNovember 8: Carole Edelman -
The How and When of Making Difficult
Lifestyle Changes

Is it still okay for me to continue living alone? If my doctor says "Stop driving," then what? When do these lifestyle changes begin, who is involved in the decision-making, and how does it all become real? Carole Edelman is a certified clinical specialist in gerontology. She is a former faculty member at Yale University School of Nursing and is presently Director of Geriatric Care Management at Waveny Care Network in New Canaan. Her distinguished career as nurse/author/teacher uniquely qualifies her as a compassionate and sensitive advocate for older people and their families. Come hear her wise counsel on many of the tough choices with which aging confronts us.

Friends - GraceNovember 15: Barbara Klau -
Beating Brain Drain
It's no longer a secret that mental stimulation through educational classes, mind games, and challenging reading can keep our brains agile and strong, warding off Alzheimer's and other related diseases. "Bobby" Klau holds a Master's Degree in Education, has worked with seniors for over 20 years, and developed "Exercise Your Mind," a course in methods of memory retention, which she teaches in the Hartford area. Come learn about the important benefits and techniques for exercising your mind.

Friends - Grace
November 22: Neal Campbell and Lynda Tyson -
You Only Die Once, So Do It Right:
The Priceless Gift of Funeral Plans
Imagine the grace and peace of mind we could give our family members, now and later, by preparing thoughtful and clear direction about end-of-life issues, including a funeral plan. Experience has shown that once we start thinking about funeral and memorial decisions - creating a personal and beautiful liturgy, planning music, readings, Communion (or not), flowers and a final resting place - it can be a satisfying and joy-filled experience for us, too. Saint Luke's own Organist and Director of Music Ministries, Neal Campbell, and The Rev. Lynda Tyson are armed with resources, information, easy-to-use planning materials, and even a few priceless stories to share.

Where I Stand on Affordable Housing in Darien

How I Stand on Affordable Housing in Darien, CT.

Affordable housing is one of the big issues in the current race for First Selectman in Darien, CT. Candidate David Campbell says he wants to study the matter more and fight the state law (8-30g). Candidate Callie Sullivan, who is already serving as a Selectman, says we have to comply with the state law and that the current Board of Selectmen have a plan in place that we need to implement.

I've been giving the whole issue a lot of thought and have changed my initial opinion. Here is where I net out, now.

1. The state law says we have to affordable housing as 10% of our housing stock.
2. We cannot afford to say we will continue to fight the law or just not follow it.
3. Providing affordable housing and having an affordable housing plan are the right things to do.
a. Teachers, town employees, recent college graduates and seniors all would like to be able to afford to live in Darien. They are the people who would live in local affordable housing.
4. While we don’t comply with the law, developers can build anything they want, anywhere they want, as long as the development has some affordable units in it. They can get around our zoning laws.
5. Fighting these developers is expensive and time consuming for the town and for residents, who are spending big bucks on litigation defending their neighborhoods.
6. We can achieve a temporary moratorium on the law’s impact on Darien by building more affordable housing as soon as possible. Then, we can band with other towns to try to change the laws in Hartford.
7. The affordable housing plan that the Selectmen created, and Callie Sullivan and David Bayne support, includes affordable housing at 35 Leroy, redevelopment and expansion at Allen-O’Neill, legal accessory apartments, and affordable apartments in commercial buildings.
8. The old library (35 Leroy) is a good spot for affordable housing because:
a. We own the land and have a developer lined up.
b. The developer is going to be responsible for the property’s upkeep while awaiting permits and financing.
c. The neighbors have agreed it’s OK.
d. The attractive building will remain.
e. It’s near public transportation.
f. It will produce income for the town.
9. While the old library would make a very nice senior center, it would cost millions of dollars to renovate. The current senior center has a professional kitchen and a gym. The seniors get nutritious hot lunches. The gym is used not only for the seniors, but also for the Darien Arts Council for dance classes and other activities for kids. This makes it a useful resource for many.
10. I believe we should renovate the current Senior Center when we have the funds to invest. I also believe that a public/private partnership should be established to enable this to happen. This building could also be used more widely for the good of the entire community, when the seniors are not there.

In conclusion, providing affordable housing is the law. We simply have to do it.

Learning About Arthritis

When our Aging in Place in Darien information committee decided to have a doctor talk about arthritis at our first annual luncheon, I thought it would be a depressing topic. I was wrong!

Yesterday, we held the luncheon at the First Congregational Church of Darien and heard Dr. Stuart Novack, Chief of Rheumatology at Norwalk Hospital, speak about rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, as well as gout and osteoporosis. Even though he used medical terms, he was a terrific speaker, holding the 100-member audience rapt.

I was amazed to learn about all the new discoveries medical science is making in these diseases. The human genome project has exploded our knowledge of how our bodies work, how genetic dispositions get set off by some environmental factor, and how to find new cures for old diseases. New medicines are coming on the market and old ones from Europe are finally being approved in the U.S. (like an anti-inflammatory gel you rub on your knees!).

The problem with some of the newer medications is that they are amazingly expensive -- $3,000 for a dose delivered by I.V. or $2,000 for one subcutaneous injection. But they work by getting at the cause, not by just treating the symptoms. We are discovering that arthritis can be treated.

As a jogger, I was particularly happy to learn that long distance running is not harmful and will not make arthritis worse. Exercise is good. It keeps bones and all the muscles supporting the bones strong. (Dr. Novack cited some amazing statistics, but I didn't take notes.) He emphasized also that we need to get enough vitamin D to keep bones strong.

I also learned that the NSAIDs (Advil & Motrin (ibuprofen) and Aleve-type medicines), while having anti-inflammatory properties, are not good to take in excess once you're over 60. There are too many negative side effects.

I could go on and on about what I learned. But the point is that we had a wonderful, informative lunch, with great food supplied by a church member, and a huge crowd. If you have questions about arthritis, go see your doctor. If your primary care doctor can't help you, get thee to a specialist like Dr. Novack. A well informed doctor is what you need.

For more information about Aging in Place in Darien, please visit:

Choosing a Nursing Home

I've been lucky. I found a good nursing home for my mother when she was suffering from confusion. But it was a matter of trial and error. The first one was a horrible experience. After six months, I took her out and hired help for her so that she could live in her own apartment. But eventually, I had to go nursing home hunting again. I found a much better one with a caring staff the second time around. My mother-in-law is also in a really nice home with a good staff that seems to stay in good spirits and actively interacts with the patients.

Jane Brody wrote last week about what makes a good nursing homes in her column in the New York Times. It is an article worth reading if you are facing choosing a home for a loved one. Here is the link and a synopsis. If you work in a home or have a loved one in a home, it's even more important to read.
Nursing Homes That Belie the Bad Image
Published: October 6, 2009
A facility in Miami could serve as a model for others across the nation.

News From National Center on Senior Transportation

I am posting this newsletter to spread all the useful news.

Welcome to the National Center on Senior Transportation's online newsletter.

The news today:

"Complete Streets for an Aging America" is topic of NCST's next Webinar
The National Center on Senior Transportation will host a free Webinar from 1-2 p.m. Eastern Time Nov. 4. Register now for the program, "Planning Complete Streets for an Aging America, Opportunities for Creating Livable Communities," based on a report recently released by AARP. The report offers guidance to planners, engineers and others involved in making streets safer and more navigable for older travelers. Presenters will be Jana Lynott, strategic policy advisor for AARP’s Public Policy Institute, and Lucinda Shannon, NCST training and technical assistance specialist.

NCST invites applications for the 2010 Student Scholars program
For a second year, the NCST will sponsor a University Student Scholars Program, and applications are now available. Amounts of up to $2,000 will be awarded to graduate-level students to conduct projects that expand upon current transportation/mobility-related efforts that benefit older adults and transportation service delivery networks. The successful projects from the program’s first year also are described on the NCST Web pages about this important initiative.

New NCST publication addresses key issues in senior transportation
The NCST is pleased to present a publication titled “Senior Transportation Today,” which provides an overview of the challenges and opportunities involved in senior transportation. The paper addresses the need to increase public knowledge about transportation options for older people; aspects of coordination, cooperation and integration; volunteer programs; financing approaches; and using technology to improve services. Promising practices are also described. The paper was developed with aging and transportation professionals in mind, and includes both annotated citations and a resource list. It may be downloaded from the Library of the NCST Web site,

New publication is about healthy aging
Now available from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Aging Initiative is “Growing Smarter, Living Healthier: A Guide to Smart Growth and Active Aging.” The guidebook goes beyond the fundamental principles of neighborhood and town design to promote awareness among older adults on why community design matters and how to get involved in decisions about growth. Transportation and mobility are key components in such planning and decision making. The guidebook also contains a self-assessment tool that allows communities to rate themselves. The publication is available electronically on the Aging Initiative’s Web site, and it can also be obtained in hard copy by ordering it online.

YouTube video encourages citizen participation in transportation planning
“Citizen’s Guide: Regional Transportation Planning” is a 6-minute 24-second video about the necessity and value of public participation in the planning process of local and regional governments working toward safe, effective and efficient public transportation. Narrator Brian Kennedy, a transportation planning consultant who contracts with the Federal Transit Administration as well as state and regional governments, also guides viewers in making their participation as meaningful as possible.

New program supports family conversations about transition from driving
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the American Society on Aging have developed the Driving Transitions Education Program, offering tips and tools to provide practitioners the confidence to act as consultants to families or approach the older driver in useful discussion about driving transitions. This free, downloadable resource has prepared scripts for presentations to community groups, staff, older adults and caregivers, as well as exercises and resource lists.

Study reveals lack of awareness of driving and medication dangers
According to a new study released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 95 percent of respondents 55 and older have one or more medical conditions and 78 percent use one or more medications, yet only 28 percent indicated some awareness of the potential impact on driving performance associated with those medications.

Community Building for Aging in Place - Training in NY

Below is information on the Community and Coalition Building Program put on by The New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA). It's a training day for individuals interested in developing aging in place initiatives:

“Community Organizing & Coalition Building”
November 9--Plattsburgh
November 12--Kingston
November 17--Batavia
November 19--Cortland
December 1--New York City


8:30 – 9:00 AM Registration

9:00 – 10:00 AM Introduction to Community Organizing & Coalition Building

• Overview of Community Engagement and Aging in Place

• Training Goals and Objectives

10:00 – 10:45 AM Roles, Responsibilities and Skills of a Community Organizer (paid and volunteer)

• Challenges and Strategies for Recruitment, Training and Support of Volunteers

• Role and Responsibility of Sponsoring Organization and/or Committee

10:45 – 11:00 AM BREAK

11:00 – 12:00 Skills for Coalition Development and Sustainability

• Leadership, Structure, and Responsibilities

• Resource Development and Funding

12:00 – 1:00 PM LUNCH

1:00 – 2:00 PM Community Assessment, Use of Data, and Planning

• Assessment Process for Identifying Community Needs/Issues

• Use of Data

• Development of an Action Plan for Implementation

2:00 – 2:45 PM Monitoring, Implementation, and Evaluation of Outcomes

2:45 – 3:30 PM Group Discussion and Wrap-Up

• Discussion of Unique Issues and Strategies

• Participant Action Steps for Moving Forward


Community Organizing & Coalition Building


Please complete and FAX the registration form to Cyndy Marshall (518) 473-6565 by October 28, 2009.

Area Agency or Organization (if applicable): __________________________________

Check with location you will be attending:

___ November 9, Plattsburgh

___ November 12, Kingston

___ November 17, Batavia

___ November 19, Cortland

___ December 1, New York City

Total attending from your organization: _________

Persons attending (please print legibly):

Name: _______________________________ Title: _________________________________

Name: _______________________________ Title: _________________________________

Name: _______________________________ Title: _________________________________

Name: _______________________________ Title: _________________________________

Name: _______________________________ Title: _________________________________

Contact person for organization* _____________________________________________

Telephone: __________________________________________________________________

E-Mail: ______________________________________________________________________

*This is the person NYSOFA should contact if there are questions about the registration or if there’s any last minute information to be shared.


Training Locations and Directions

Plattsburgh—November 9

Location: The Conference Room at Plattsburgh International Airport. The Airport is easily accessible, located right off exit 36 of New York’s I-87 at 42 Airport Lane in Plattsburgh. Parking is free. Yes, free, and within an easy walk to the terminal.
Directions: From Albany & Points South Follow I-87 north to exit 36. Take a right onto Route 22 heading toward Plattsburgh. Plattsburgh International Airport is 2 miles (3.2 km) up on your right.
From Potsdam and Points West Follow Route 11 east through Malone. Turn right onto Route 190 and follow for 23.4 miles (37.4 km). After 1 mile, turn left onto Route 3/Blake Road. Turn right onto I-87 South. Take I-87 to exit 36. Take a right onto Route 22 heading toward Plattsburgh. Plattsburgh International Airport is 2 miles (3.2 km) up on your right.
You may also check the Airport’s web-site ( for maps and directions.
Lunch/Break Suggestions: AAA Director Crystal Carter and her staff are generously offering to make coffee, water and light refreshments available the morning of the training. Lunch will be “on your own”. There are several restaurants within two or three miles of the airport including Subway, Burger King, Pizza Hut, 99, Butcher Block, Friendly’s etc. A listing of the nearest restaurants and directions will be provided the day of the training. (FYI--the snack bar located in the airport building is only available to ticketed passengers).

Kingston—November 12

Location: Room BRC 121 at the Ulster County Community College’s Business Resource Center at One Development Court, Kingston, NY 12401. Note: space is rather limited at this site, so registering early is suggested.
Directions: From the NYS Thruway Exit 19 (Kingston): From the Thruway traffic circle, take the Broadway/Kingston exit (Chandler Drive, Route 587). At the first traffic light, turn left onto Albany Avenue and continue for 8 traffic lights. The Business Development Center will be located on your left, at One Development Court (the Ulster County office complex). Landmarks on the left include McDonald's and the King's Valley Diner and Pancake House (formerly Texas Diner). The BRC is at the extreme left of the Development Court complex.
From Route 209 North (from Ellenville):
Take the Kingston exit (Route 28 East) to the traffic circle. Take the Broadway/Kingston exit (Chandler Drive, Route 587). At the first traffic light, turn left onto Albany Avenue and continue for 8 traffic lights. The Business Development Center will be located on your left, at One Development Court. Landmarks on the left include McDonald's and the King's Valley Diner and Pancake House (formerly Texas Diner). The BRC is at the extreme left of the Development Court complex.
You may also Google “Business Resource Center Kingston NY” for additional information and directions.
Lunch/Break Suggestions: Lunch and breaks will be “on your own”. There are a number of eateries, including McDonald’s and a diner nearby.

Batavia—November 17

Location: The large conference room at County Building 2, 3837 West Main Street, Batavia, NY.

Directions: From Thruway Exit 48-Batavia, go straight through at the light onto Park Road, approximately .3 miles. Turn left to stay on Park Road (.8 miles). Turn left onto NY 63/Lewiston Road (.2 miles). Turn right onto NY 5/West Main Street road (1.1 miles). There is a sign located by a long driveway leading back to County Building #2.

Lunch/Break Suggestions: AAA Director Pam Whitmore and her staff are graciously offering coffee and light refreshments for participants arriving for the training. For lunch, there are a variety of fast food eateries (KFC, Long John Silver’s, McDonalds and Subway) as well as an Applebee’s and Denny’s restaurants nearby. In addition, there are soda and snack machines available in the County Building for participants who wish to purchase “lighter” items on-site.

Cortland—November 19

Location: The Assembly Room at Cortland Regional Medical Center, 134 Homer Avenue, Cortland, NY 13045. (Note: AAA Director Carol Deloff recommends using the entrance near the Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. Once inside, look for the signs for the Assembly Room.)

Directions: The medical center’s web-site ( provides detailed driving directions. When you click on the “Information You Can Use” icon on the left side of the home page, there is a tab for directions on the pull down menu.

Lunch/Break Suggestions: Breaks and lunch will be “on your own.” The Medical Center’s cafeteria is open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and coffee can be purchased there before the meeting. The Coffee Shop is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Lunch can be purchased in either location.

New York City—December 1

Location: The Auditorium, VISIONS at Selis Manor, 135 West 23rd Street, NY, NY 10011.

Directions: Take the A, C, E, 1, 9 or F subways to 23rd Street. VISIONS at Selis Manor is located on the north side of the street in the middle of the block between 6th and 7th Avenues.

Lunch/Break Suggestions: There are a number of eateries nearby, including a coffee shop. Lunch and breaks will be “on your own”.

How to Organize a Community for Aging in Place

I just got this notice from a Westchester County, NY, colleague about a series of workshops for people who want to create and organize communities to support aging in place. The workshops look great!

I've copied and pasted the email below. Please visit the sponsor's website for more information.

To: Westchester Fairfield Regional Coalition
Below is information that may of some interest to you:

The New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) is pleased to announce
the following training for individuals interested in developing aging in
place initiatives:

“Community Organizing & Coalition Building”

November 9--Plattsburgh
November 12--Kingston
November 17--Batavia
November 19--Cortland
December 1--New York City

Necessary Action: Complete the attached registration form and FAX it
to Cyndy Marshall at (518) 473-6565 no later than October 28, 2009.

Training Schedule: The training workshops are scheduled to begin at 9
a.m. and end by 3:45 p.m. Training locations and other information
about the sites is attached.

Registration: There is no fee for registration. Travel and meal costs
are the responsibility of participants. Staff of area agencies on
aging, AAA subcontractors and other NYSOFA grantee organizations may be
able to charge these incidental expenses to allowable budget lines in
federal- or state-funded grants/contracts.

Who Should Attend: These interactive sessions are designed for
individuals interested in creating communities in which older adults can
safely “age in place” with purpose and dignity. For those new to
organizing community initiatives, this workshop will serve as an
introduction; for those more experienced in organizing, it will serve as
a refresher course and provide tools for training others in the
community. The workshops will use a variety of training modalities
including PowerPoint presentation, case studies, small and large group
discussion; and will be tailored to each region in recognition that
strategies for organizing will differ in rural, suburban and urban

Training Facilitator & Content: Susan Weinrich serves as Vice
President of Organizational and Community Development at the New York
Council of Nonprofits (formerly the Council of Community Services of New
York State) where she provides training and technical assistance to
nonprofit organizations and community-based coalitions. Susan has
served as a community organizer addressing issues such as homelessness
and domestic violence. She has a Master’s Degree in Community
Economic Development.

A tentative outline for the training is listed.

For More Information:

Please contact Cyndy Marshall, Donna DiCarlo or Digna Swingle at
Cyndy: 518 474-7706 or
Donna: 518 474-0441 or
Digna: 518 486-2713 or

Check out NYSOFA aging-related video content on our website.

Please visit NYSOFA's website at

Talk on New Arthritis Cures

Aging in Place in Darien and the Women's Association of the First Congregational Church of Darien are co-sponsoring the first annual Aging in Place luncheon on Wednesday, October 14, 2009. Our featured speaker is Dr. Stuart Novack, Chief of Rheumatology at Norwalk Hospital. He is supposed to be a really great speaker. His topic is "New Aspects of Diagnosis and Treatment of Arthritis."

The lunch is free and will run from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

To reserve your place, please RSVP to Alyssa at 203-202-2912 by October 9.

The First Congregational Church of Darien is located at 14 Brookside Road in Darien, just off the Post Road, near Exit 13 of I-95 and near Goodwives Shopping Center.