Aging In Place in Darien - January 2011 News

Here is a rundown of activities for Seniors in Darien, CT. The list is brought to you by Aging In Place in Darien. (For contact information, go to bottom of this posting.)
Darien High School Teen Chore Corps
Do you need help with small chores such as changing light bulbs and smoke detector batteries, moving porch furniture, cleaning out a garage or basement, light lawn care, painting, or operating your computer or remotes?  Call Aging In Place at 203-585-4094 to arrange for Darien High School students to help you with your small chores for only $10 per hour.

Arabian Peninsula Lecture Series at the DCA
Thursday, January 20th at 10:00 a.m. Multiplying the Threat: The Minor Role and Major Impact of Al-Qaeda in Yemen featuring Brian O'Neill, Independent Journalist. Thursday, January 27th at 10:00 a.m.  The U.S. - Saudi Relationship: Refound Allies featuring David Ottaway of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Tuesday, February 1st at 7:30 p.m. (reception) and 8:00 p.m. (lecture).  Reflections Past & Present on the Arabian Peninsula featuring Barbara Bodine of Princeton University and former U.S. Ambassador to Yemen. Cost is $25 at the door.  For more information, call the DCA at 203-655-9050 or go to

Get Fit at the Darien Senior Center
·       Mondays:  Low Impact Aerobics at 10:00 a.m. (free), Ballet at 11:00 a.m. ($4.00) and Zumba at 12:30 p.m. ($5.00)
·       Tuesdays:  Sittercise at 10:00 a.m. (free) and Tai Chi at 11:00 a.m. ($4.00)
·       Wednesdays:  Yoga at 11:00 a.m. ($4.00) and Ping Pong at 1:00 p.m. (free).
·       Thursdays:  Pilates at 9:00 a.m. ($4.00), Jazzercise at 11:15 a.m. ($4.00) and Senior Fitness (chair exercises) at 1:00 p.m. (free)
·       Fridays:  Dance for Health at 9:00 a.m. ($5.00) and Ballet at 11:00 a.m. ($4.00)   
Drop in for a class anytime!  For more information, call Beth Paris at 203-656-7455 or e-mail

Winter Semester Begins at Lifetime Learners Institute at NCC
Starting the week of January 23rd:  Mondays—I Love to Read; Tuesdays—Classic Movies Reviewed; Wednesdays—History; Thursdays—Current Events; Fridays—A Medley of the Arts.  All classes will be held in the East Campus of Norwalk Community College at 2:00 p.m. except Fridays which are at 10:00 a.m.  Fridays also include a “Lunch & Learn” social hour for members at noon with coffee, tea and sweets provided. This is then followed at 1:00 p.m. by a one-hour presentation by different guest presenters each week on interesting subjects.  Memberships are still available for only $30.00.  To receive a detailed catalog, leave a message at 203-857-3330 or go to

Lifelong Learning on the Web at the Darien Library
Monday, January 24, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.  Whatever your age, there's lots to learn for free on the Web.  Explore everything from TED Talks to freely available courses from prominent university professors.  For more information or to register, contact Judy Sgammato, Technology Manager, Darien Library at 203-662-5256 or

Register for Nixle Alerts
All Darien residents who use a cell phone and email should take advantage of Nixle, a wonderful community information service that alerts subscribers to public safety threats, traffic and weather issues, and community events via text messages and email.  Sign up by going to or directly to  Note: Text messages are subject to your cell phone plan rates.  For further information or assistance with subscribing, contact Sgt. Jeremiah Marron at 203-662-5300 ext. 2618 or

Know Anyone Who Needs Home Heating Assistance?  Encourage them to call Darien Social Services at 203-656-7328 to find out if they qualify.

Please feel free to forward this bulletin to friends and family who might be interested!
To contact us:

Gina Z. Blum
Executive Director
Aging in Place+Gallivant
P.O. Box 1242, Darien, CT  06820
Tel:  203-585-4094  Fax:  1-866-224-4210
Transportation Dispatch: 203-655-2227
Helping Darien seniors live independently, comfortably and with dignity in their own homes and the community as long as possible

New Ways to Help Alzheimer's Patients

When I was visiting my mother-in-law's nursing home over the holidays, I noticed that several of the patients had baby dolls in their arms. These patients clearly cared about these dolls. One woman had been waiting for her doll, and when the staff member handed it over, she was so relieved. I also noticed the staff giving small snacks to people who said they were hungry. One man was dressed in an oxford shirt and gray flannel pants. He stood up and started to speak in a business-like tone as if he were giving a talk at a meeting, although the words were nonsense. I learned he used to be an executive. I couldn't help but realize that the staff was enabling the patients to live in their own worlds and remain calmer and happier for doing so. This was a far cry from the scenes I used to encounter when my own mother was in a nursing home for dementia in the 1980s.

That's why an article in the New York Times about new ways to treat Alzheimer's patients was so interesting to me -- Giving Alzheimer's Patients Their Way, Even Doses of Chocolate (front page, 1/1/11).

The article told the story of a nursing home in Phoenix, AZ, that allows patients to do almost anything to keep their anxiety at a minimum without drugs. The staff at this home claims that a little chocolate can have an amazingly calming effect. Ironically, when government officials learned about these unusual methods, they frowned upon them because they didn't follow "regulations."

The good news is that people who care for loved ones at home can use these techniques, too. Over 11 million people care for a relative with Alzheimer's in their homes. That is a startling number, one that is going to keep growing. Caring for a loved one at home can be daunting, so new tips to deal with Alzheimer's patients more effectively is a boon. If you're dealing with such a challenge, I urge you to read the article in the Times, even though it is long.