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Minutes of Commission on Aging, 01/08/2020

AGENDA: Commission on Aging

RECEIVED 01/09/2020 3:47pm
Kathleen R. Miserendino - Redding Deputy Town Clerk

WEDNESDAY, January 8, 2020


Commission members present:
Mary Dale Lancaster-Chair, Sarah Atwood – Vice Chair, Hilda Rhodes, Kathy Brandt, Jean Rexford, Ingrid Heller, Janet Metzger, Randi Hutton and George Cohen

Alternate – Karen de Friesse
Angelica Fontanez – Director of Social Services
Ruth Moran – Senior Center Program Coordinator
Guests – Cynthia Jones – Meadow Ridge

The meeting was called to order at 9:03 a.m.

Approval of Minutes from December 2019 with correction:

Angelica Fontanez offered a clarification to minutes:  Section 4: Redding Shares the Warmth “money may be rolled over”, not “needed to be used before end of heating season”.
Jean Rexford, Hilda Rhodes – unanimous

I. Public Comment

Mary Dale Lancaster delayed comment from Meadow Ridge as rep had stepped out of the room,  but Ruth Moran offered that Meadow Ridge was having a program, February 19, on Preventing Falls.

II. Presentation by COA members- Senior Research Reports
The Chairperson thanked Kathy Brandt, Janet Metzger and Jean Rexford for speaking at the Selectmen’s meeting and reminded members of the COA budget meeting on Friday at 1:15 pm.  Jean Rexford wanted to know how to follow through.  Discussion began on using back channels to keep the issues relevant and ideas for campaigns were discussed.  Jean Rexford will oversee sending the information.  Cynthia Jones and Ruth Moran agreed to send the Meadow Ridge Newsletter to Ruth Moran to include in her Heritage Blast, and Ruth will continue to send the Heritage Blast to Meadow Ridge.  A discussion began on how to make the Heritage Blast better and to find ways to reach more citizens.  A link to Social Services, outlining services that are provided, will be included in the Blast.  Jean Rexford suggested doing a human-interest story each month and Mary Dale Lancaster suggested having the Danbury News Times do an interesting article about an event at the Center.  Sarah Atwood agreed to contact Wendy Matthews, Ukulele teacher, and the Chair will provide Ruth Moran with contact information at the News Times.

Mary Dale Lancaster brought up the 2015 Directory of Senior Services and suggested the Commission revise the report.  Janet Metzger gave some back-ground on the report and agreed the report needed updating.  Cynthia Jones said she would reach out to the RVNA, as the agency had a role in creating the original booklet.  The discussion continued as to how best to reach seniors and their adult children.  Facebook and Redding 411 are options, but they have downsides.  The need for a website was offered and Mary Dale Lancaster suggested an additional budget item be inserted into the current budget, or to at least explain that this is work that will be done by staff members.  Angelica Fontanez thought that adding a last-minute item may not be possible. She offered to speak to the Redding Finance Director.

The committee discussed co-sponsoring a Medicare program with the Mark Twain Library this fall – Sarah Atwood and Kathy Brandt agreed to organize this.

The COA Chairperson offered a recap of topics discussed:  doing a human-interest story, working on updating the Senior Directory (pages will be distributed to COA members for review), contacting the Danbury News Times, adding the Meadow Ridge News to the Heritage Center Blast and researching a website.

Mary Dale Lancaster also asked for COA members to attend and to speak at the Budget Workshop with Angelica Fontanez being primary and perhaps offering Cathy Brandt’s “Space Age Report” to the Selectmen.  The report details space usage, limitations and current needs of the Heritage Center.

A question was posed about the Heritage maintenance issues and members were again disappointed.  Ingrid Heller has been documenting the outside of the building and reported on the poor state the building is in. Cleaning is still haphazard and the inside and outside painting has been poorly done.  Routine tasks are sometimes ignored for long periods of time.

The Chairperson brought up the 2020-year meeting schedule with the possibility of changing the day and/or time.  A discussion led to the schedule remaining the same for the time being; the second Wednesday of the month at 9 a.m.

The COA would like to put transportation and getting speakers from the state level to future meetings on the Febuary agenda.

IV. Senior Center Programs Report – Ruth Moran, Coordinator

Ruth Moran began with a brief recap of the programs offered .in November and December.  The Coordinator talked about the ukulele program doing well and the December luncheon being well attended.  The Woodwind Trio Concert did well with the attendees giving excellent reviews.

The Coordinator talked about the revenues being down for December due to weather cancellations.  Closing the center follows the school’s directive not that of Town Hall.

V. Social Service Report – Angelica Fontanez, Director, Social Services

Angelica Fontanez began by noting the high donations in December.  She then went on to explain the budget numbers noting the proposed increase in the Senior Programs budget and pay increases for some part timers.   The Director went on to explain the line item, “Agencies Serving Residents” was not technically under her control but rather an Item the First Selectman controls.

Questions arose about the van and whether we were getting residents to use it, which the Director assured the committee was the case.  The Director also noted the use of other local vans may be possible if warranted.

VI. Old Business – none

VII. New Business –

The meeting was adjourned at 10:27 am.

The next COA meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, February 12, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. at Heritage Center.

Minutes prepared by Karen de Friesse

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