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Minutes of Commission on Aging, 02/12/2020

AGENDA: Commission on Aging

RECEIVED 02/13/2020 4:01pm
Michele R. Grande – Redding Town Clerk


Commission members present: Mary Dale Lancaster; Sarah Atwood ; Janet Metzger; George Cohen; Jean Rexford; Ruth Moran ; Hilda Rhodes, Ingrid Heller, and Kathy Brandt (recording)

Angelica Fontanez – Director of Social Services
Ruth Moran – Senior Center Program Coordinator
Guests: Cynthia Jones, Meadow Ridge, Christopher Tse, Gallows Hill Road, Dan Heller, Michelle Stillman

The meeting was called to order at 9:00 am.

I.  Public Comments:  Chris is interested in helping us with future fundraising..
• Discussion held on previous attempt to organize a 501c3 by Myrna Robinson. Her email explanation was read to the group. (see attached)

II. Presentation by COA members – Senior Research Reports

• Communication:
• February blast looks terrific. New projects were discussed for inclusion in future issues of the Blast. While there may still be tweaking of Blast in the future, there have been great improvements, thanks to Ruth, Tina, Jeanne and Michelle.
• Medicare presentation: Sarah: Choices, (Connecticut’s program for Health insurance assistance, Outreach, Information and referral, Counseling, Eligibility Screening) presentation secured for Wednesday, 10/7, at 5 p.m. at the library. MTL will handle all the power point, publicity. MTL has been very helpful in helping coordinate the program.
• Ruth is also working with the MTL to co-sponsor a program on dementia. March or April.
• Cynthia: a number of programs available at Meadow Ridge. These programs are listed in the Blast, and on the Meadow Ridge website. The “Prevent Fall” program will be held on Wednesday, 2/19 at 11:30 pm – lunch is included. Please register through Ruth. Future Programs: Pro Health Physicians 3/10 at 4 pm by MD from Ridgefield; working with Danbury Hospital to have talk on 4/7 at 4 pm by an infectious disease MD, on tick borne illnesses. That will be 4/7, at 4p.m.
• discussion about redoing the 2015 Directory of Services. If we can cover costs, we would like to get these into the hands of every Redding resident. Emailing guides can be very awkward for this sort of thing, with all the pages. Meadow Ridge representative hopes to help with the printing and distribution. Prior issues of the directory will be brought to the next meeting by those who helped create those prior issues.
• State Representatives: in June we may want to have some come to speak, when the session is in recess. Jean Rexford will coordinate.

• Transportation: Angelica, Meredith Jones, and Mary Dale have gone to many transportation workshops. Trying to figure out different programs. Meeting with M7: medical cab service with wheelchair capability this week. Discussion had about various transportation options. Hart buses probably not feasible as it only touches Redding peripherally. Plan to publicize van services, in the Blast. To use our van, you have to be disabled or a senior. Only services 3 towns. We are working on increasing the destination limitations on our own van. Discussions on developing guidelines for van use. Other potential resources: Reduced fare transit ID card on Metro North. Possibly announce this in the Blast. Website link for registration.
• (A list of discounts for seniors might be a good article. Plan to email Jean with any known discounts. We can keep an ongoing list.)
• Visiting Angels also provides transportation to medical appointments, for a reasonable fee, including an aide. M7: qualify for State Sunshine grant to pay part of the costs. M7 will only go to Bridgeport or Yale New Haven. Will seek clarification. Kennedy Center in Trumbull provides services and transportation to people with disabilities. At first, it seemed like we might be able to use vans during off hours, but later, it seems it might not work, so we will have to do further investigations of that. MS (Multiple Sclerorsis and American Cancer Society can provide rides, but their help is based upon volunteer driver availability. Veterans, too, have some assistance, based on availability.
• Easton Senior programs, have a tag sale to help funding for transportation. Easton is unique in that it received a $750,000 grant out of the blue upon inception. It also inherited 13,500 square feet of space in an old school building, which they put to good use. Easton’s director of senior services, Val Buckley (who has held the job for 30 years) started life as a professional fundraiser and her seniority and connections are helpful in Easton’s fundraising efforts. Val provided Sarah and Mary Dale some suggestions for applying for grants. NB: State grants can be withdrawn due to fiscal constraints; federal grants cannot be cut.
• Redding Pilot (report by Hilde Rhodes) kick off meeting in mid January; volunteers needed. Hope to do first issue out 4/23. Recruiting volunteers – overall editor, 20 + content chairs, Ruth volunteered to provide Heritage Center news. Hilda will assist her with information on programs.

III. Senior Center Program Coordinator, Ruth Moran: discussion of ongoing programs, instructors and attendance. Increase in interest in afternoon art. Clay class also has had increased interest. Fitness-for-You is very popular. Lunch numbers are quite low. Wendy Matthews is the instructor for Ukelele class. Due to popular demand, 2d class is started. Word of mouth is helping bring more people to programs. Next blast will feature an article about someone who comes to the center and what they enjoy here. Musical harp program was very good, although only 18 people came. Edmond Town Hall is having a Celebrate Brain Awareness Week. Free movie on Wednesday March18 at 2 pm. Board members are encouraged to attend senior events.

IV. Social Services Report – Angelica Fontanez, Director, Social Services: Busy month. Various cases broadly reviewed to help commission understand the needs of the community. Transportation issues for clients discussed. Food pantry active. Donations are steady and most welcome. New clients have come in. Van has had 66 trips.

V. Chairperson’s Report: Mary Dale passed out sheet with term expirations. All members whose term expires in June 2020 wish to continue to serve.

VI. Old Business: Are eager to see what budget money is approved for our “wish list” of reconfiguring the center. New chairs for the card rooms are being actively searched for. Chairs in community center are in dire need of replacement. Selectmen are aware of these issues. Cleanliness issues are unchanged, no improvements. Sink has been dripping for weeks. Maintenance staff again requires supervision. Selectmen are aware of the need for a supervisor for maintenance.

VII. New Business:
• “Finish Strong”, available shortly in Social Service library, is a book about choices at end of life. May want to schedule a meeting to inform the public about end of life issues, living wills, etc. Ruth has someone who will present how to choose home care services. She wrote a book about it.
• Purell dispensers to help fight flu and other transmissible diseases.
• Health tips could be good in Blast. Also need to reinforce Keeping Your Personal Information safe. Handout provided by Ingrid Heller.
• We could use some help from a grant writer. We could also use a recording secretary.
• Discussion of board positions, still have 2 open alternate positions. Several board members terms are up in June, all those members are willing to continue serving.

Mary Dale remarked that she has asked for a great deal of help from Sarah the past many months, and Sarah has been doing a remarkable job and is always ready, willing and able.

VIII: Meeting adjourned: 10:35. Janet moved for adjournment, Kathy seconded.

The next COA meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, March 11 at 9:00 am at the Heritage Center.

Minutes taken by Kathleen Brandt