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Minutes of Commission on Aging, 10/16/2019

AGENDA: Commission on Aging Special Meeting

RECEIVED 10/21/2019 8:30am
Kathleen R. Miserendino - Redding Deputy Town Clerk

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Commission members present:
Mary Dale Lancaster-Chair, Sarah Atwood – Vice Chair, Hilda Rhodes, Kathy Brandt, Jean Rexford, Ingrid Heller, Janet Metzger and George Cohen
Alternate – Karen de Friesse
Angelica Fontanez – Director of Social Services
Ruth Moran – Senior Center Program Coordinator
Julia Pemberton – First Selectman
Guests – Cynthia Jones, Yvette Doubruck and Dana Graefe, Health Services Administrator – Meadow Ridge

The meeting was called to order at 9:00 a.m.

Approval of Minutes from September 2019
Ingrid Heller, George Cohen – unanimous

I. Senior Center Program Coordinator – R. Moran

Ruth Moran began by noting the paid programs are consistently attended. The program on “Flu Shot Information” was cancelled due to lack of registration.  Jean Rexford wondered if the information could be put into a flyer and handed out to seniors.  The Flu shots given by the Bethel Visiting Nurses was well attended with over 60 people receiving their shots.

II. Social Service Director’s Report – Angelica Fontanez
Angelica Fontanez began by explaining her numbers.  Attendance at the food pantry remains consistent but she is concerned with the low requests for energy assistance. She urges people to apply for energy assistance before a crisis develops.

The Brunissen Trust donated $1000.00 in gift cards and approved some money for seniors’ dental care.  The Salvation Army fund raised $1900.00 and there was $1104.00 donated towards Redding Shares the Warmth.

The Director also talked about “211” phone calls, run thru the United Way.  This number is used by residents to get information about various health and other services.  An analysis of 211 calls made in 2019 by Redding residents found that 158, or 56.2% of such call were made seeking mental health information.  When asked about the usefulness of 211, the Director stated that while the information is good, the 211 database continually needs to be updated and expanded; this is  done as more service providers submit their information to United Way.

The Director wondered if there was a better way to market her services in town. Janet Metzger wants to advertise Angelica Fontanez’ services and a discussion began on how best to accomplish that.   Mary Dale Lancaster suggested a list of services provided our Social Service Department be provided in a flyer.

III. General Discussion

Angelica Fontanez led the general discussion with maintenance and how to improve.  After the weekend it was noted that the card room had not been cleaned and was, in fact, quite dirty.  Julia Pemberton wanted to know if there was a check list the maintenance staff could follow; Ruth Moran stated that the head of the maintenance staff had such a list.  The First Selectman suggested that the Heritage staff come up with its own cleaning list, but the Commission did not think that was not the Heritage staff’s job. The First Selectman suggested instructors and attendees clean up after themselves.  The Commission requested that the Maintenance staff provide the Heritage staff and Commission with its cleaning checklist.

The discussion soon went on to the Town Planning Survey questions with Julia Pemberton informing the group of the need to get everyone involved.  If two members in a household have 2 separate emails or computers, each should do the survey.  Mary Dale Lancaster stressed the importance of seniors submitting their answers and asked Meadow Ridge to encourage their residents to participate.  Dana Graefe of Meadow Ridge said they will encourage their residents to fill out the survey, noting that a resident, Ann Raymond was leading the way.

Mary Dale Lancaster led the discussion on the Senior Center Surveys with a way to compile the reports.  Kathy Brandt wanted to know if the surveys should be shortened, and should they include the population of the target town along with the senior budget.   The Chair said while detailed information is always helpful, but we need to compile these reports in an understandable format.  The following categories were discussed and agreed upon by the commission:

1        Activities offered and how often

2        Transportation options – public and private

3        Meals – served, delivered, quality and cost

4        Housing – subsides or private homes

5        Social services – general and elderly specific

6        Tax abatements

7        Medical services

8        Communication/ email

9        Memberships/ advertising

10      Grant writers – how are COA set up

11      Funding/ Alliances

The Chair led the discussion on how Redding ranked in these categories and reminded the commission that 33% of Redding was 55 and over.

IV. Old Business – None

V.  New Business – None

The meeting was adjourned at 10:38 am.

The next COA meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, November 13, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. at Heritage Center.

Minutes prepared by Karen de Friesse