TOWN OF REDDING
COMMISSION ON AGING
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 1, 2017
Commission members present:
Beth Wagner – Chair, Karen de Friesse, Jean Whitham, Rosalind Kopfstein, Ingrid Heller, Hilda Rhodes, Lea Mintz,
Jean Rexford, Janet Metzger
Angelica Fontanez – Director of Social Services
Ruth Moran – Program Coordinator of Heritage Center
The meeting was called to order at 9:03 a.m.
I. Approval of Minutes from February 2017
Motion: Minutes approved as written – unanimous.
II. Director’s Report – Angelica Fontanez
Angelica commented on the difficulties inherent in dealing with the state regarding energy assistance. Although there is lots of funding, the application is cumbersome. Once the application is sent to the Danbury office, the client is sent the paperwork if there needs to be a change and they have only 10 days to respond or the process will start all over. Jean Rexford put forth a motion, Lea Mintz seconded, for the commission to write a letter to the state complaining about the process. The vote was unanimous. Beth Wagner will consult with Julia Pemberton regarding the letter.
Angelica spoke about a new grant from the United Way “Alice” fund allowing low-income families to access programs outside the school; the contract is on the First Selectman desk awaiting her signature. Rosalind Kopfstein suggested conferring with the school principals and possibly Rob Blick to identify who might qualify. With regards to the Brunisessn Trust, Angelica has clients who have been approved and are now waiting for funds.
Other topics included: The Church of Christ Parish held a fundraising concert with Doug Hartline and the money raised went to the “Redding Shares the Warmth” fund. Angelica has been attending seminars at the Western CT Geriatric council. The Mark Twain Library along with the League of Woman’s Voters will show the Newtown Sandy Hook documentary. Angelica finished with a brief accounting of funds.
Jean Rexford brought up the possibility of creating a new social services/community support fund to allow Angelica to have immediate funds available for client’s needs. The issue will be explored by Angelica.
III. Senior Center Program Report – Ruth Moran
Ruth talked about the February programs and the impact of the snow days. One program, Valentine Bingo, was hosted by the Bethel VNA and they asked if they could host more such programs. Ruth also mentioned the Paula Allen family greeting and how the center was grateful to host the remembrance. Comments from commission members regarding such events were positive.
Ruth is conducting a survey to determine Heritage Center uses. Preliminary data suggests the average age coming to the center is 77; 47% are 70 to 79 years old; more data to follow.
The first in a life decision series, “Five Wishes” led by Lisa Freeman was held on February 21 to a packed crowd. Ruth and commission members are developing a few more sessions and to this end, Ruth would like the commission to view the DVD, “Being Mortal”. Lea Mintz insisted the commission view as a group to get instant reactions; the plan is to view after the April or May meeting. Other programs in the series being considered are care-giving strategies, hospice and palliative care/costs and a discussion with religious leaders.
The van use was also discussed, Lea Mintz and Ruth wanting to prioritize 2 days for medical visits. Currently, medical visits take priority but that leaves little room for flexibility. Starting April 1st, Don Kingsbury to start Friday Van service.
IV. Other Business:
There was no additional business presented before the Commission; the meeting was adjourned at 10:15 am.
The next COA meeting is scheduled for April 5, 2017 at 9:00 a.m. in the Heritage Center.
Minutes prepared by Karen de Friesse