Commission on Aging Meeting
October 14, 2020
9:02 am call to order via Zoom Conference
Present: Mary Dale Lancaster, Sarah Atwood, Ingrid Heller, Jean Rexford, George Cohen, Michelle Stillman, Angelica Fontanez, Kathleen Brandt, Julia Pemberton, Karen de Friesse, Randi Hutton, Alice Smith, Lucy Milano (student intern) and Sarah Cummings.
Members of the public: Morna Crites-Moore
Minutes: Karen de Friesse
1) Approval of September Minutes: Jean Rexford, Kathy Brandt
2) Public Comment: None
3) Senior services (Michele Stillman) report: Michelle Stillman started her report by saying that outside classes started, and the attendance is up. Some classes are still with Zoom. Payments are good but Pay Pal is still not available. There is a question regarding the costs of using Pay Pal
4) Report by COA Sub-committee: Kathleen Brandt began with a brief overview of the draft survey the committee has developed and asked for input. Most members thought the survey was good and the question remained as to how best to get it to the public. Alice Smith suggested taking advantage of weekly e-mailings through the Town of Redding; theMark Twain Library and the Heritage blast were mentioned. Jean Rexford continued with a discussion as to the new needs of seniors during the pandemic and suggested the group go to the Easton website and other senior center websites for ideas. Some centers have begun to reopen as has Redding with outdoor classes, but the weather will become a factor as winter sets in.
5) Director of Social Services Report (Angelica Fontanez): Ms. Fontanez began by introducing her new intern, Lucy Milano, and continued with her report. The town van was discussed, and Ms. Fontanez told the group that a new filter and UV light have been installed and service will begin shortly with only one passenger at a time. A small group of COA members will work together with Ms. Fontanez to study van usage and suggest protocols.
Angelica Fontanez also discussed the activity in the office during the pandemic and stated that she has been able to apply for renter’s rebates and energy assistance. There have been some wellness calls and interactions with the police on a crisis call. Ms. Fontanez talked about Route2Prevention taking on a broader segment of the population for substance/alcohol abuse and not just the high school population.
Donations to Social Services continue to come in and Ms. Fontanez was able to redirect some of the money to the United Way which allows the distribution of debit cards to qualified clients. The debit cards have a wider use for expenses not covered through other means.
6) First Selectman, Julia Pemberton: No report.
7) Chair report, Mary Dale Lancaster: Ms. Lancaster began by touting the success of the combined Mark Twain Library and the COA program on Medicare, as coordinated by Sarah Atwood. The success has encouraged the group to think of other program options.
The chairwoman discussed a possible COA alternate, Garner Lester, and submitted a “motion to appoint Garner Lester to the Commission” per Julia Pemberton invitation. The vote was unanimous.
Ms. Lancaster continued her report noting the Senior Programs Director positions is now posted with the town. She thought it would be difficult to pursue a stenographer during Covid. The Pay Pal use for payment of classes and the survey were discussed again with Alice Smith offering to look further into Pay Pal and Kathleen Brandt receiving permission to use Survey Monkey to put out the survey.
Meeting adjourned at 9:59 am. Next meeting will be held on Thursday, November 12, 2020. (Note next meeting on a Thursday because the second Wednesday of November is a holiday).
Karen de Friesse