The Department of Elderly Services seeks to increase the quality of life of Danbury area citizens who are age 60 or older by developing many comprehensive programs specifically designed to enrich the general well-being of Danbury’s more mature population. With a special focus on reaching out to those most vulnerable and in need, the department provides the following resource and referral assistance services: the Municipal Agents Office for the Elderly, the Van Transportation Program, and the warm and welcoming recreational and social environment at the Elmwood Hall Senior Center.
The municipal agent’s office provides information, referral and outreach, assisting older citizens with up to date information on Medicare, Rent Rebate, Tax Credits, Senior Housing, Elder Abuse and a host of other important issues affecting older citizens.
Elmwood Hall hosts a variety of programs in the areas of health and wellness, benefits and support, education, leisure time activities, fun and celebrations, and volunteerism. A newsletter titled “The Elmwood Extra” is a bi-monthly publication that keeps all members up to date on what’s going on. The Van Transportation Program provides rides to Elmwood Hall for activities, volunteer work, and special outings in the community.
The Commission on Aging is a nine-member appointed council of volunteers. The Commission works with the department and helps raise awareness of issues of concern for our older citizens.
A “Friends of Danbury Seniors” group, “The Prime Timers, Inc.” continues to support the department’s many programs and large events. Fund-raisers this year included our annual Tag Sale and our Craft and Bake Sale.
The department maintains a focus on meeting the needs of both our more mature clients, as well as the new, aging, baby boomers. With Connecticut being the 7th oldest state in the nation, we are working on both a state and local level to help ensure the well being of our older citizens. Working as part of the board of the state legislative Commission on Aging, we are involved in the “Livable Communities” subcommittee. On a more local level, we are part of the Danbury area’s “Aging in Place” Steering Committee whose mission is to seek solutions for at-risk older adults to remain independent.
The Municipal Agent’s office served 3,375 citizens assisting with a variety of senior issues including: Medicare, Medicaid, CT Rent Rebate Program, Medicare Savings Program, Elder Abuse, Home Care, Energy Assistance, Medigap Programs, Medicare Advantage Plans, Housing, Medical Equipment, Veterans Programs, Legal Services, and Property Tax Credit/Freeze Programs, just to list a few. The Elmwood Hall Senior Center received countless visits from older citizens and recorded consistent visits from 800 active seniors who stopped by 28,403 times throughout the fiscal year. Most active seniors now receive a membership card to the center that tracks their participation. Some of our weekly program offerings include, tai chi, zumba gold, line dancing, strength training, aerobics, quilting, knit & crochet, wood carving, art, blood pressure screening, band & chorus, bridge, mah jongg, poker, pinochle, ukulele club, trivia, and ceramics to name a few. Along with our weekly program offerings, some of the special programs offered this fiscal year included: flu shot clinics, AARP tax assistance, “Honoring Our Veterans,” Wii bowling leagues, National Senior Wii Bowling League, casino trips, retirement planning, “Ask the Elder Law Attorney,” Mayor Boughton’s Senior Advisory Committee, scams & fraud protection, free health screenings, golf club, brain fit, and parties and celebrations. Elmwood Hall is now a Wi-Fi hotspot to encourage seniors to come by with their iPads and other wireless devices. We continue to offer the Senior Nutrition Lunch Program five days a week. Our Van Transportation Program provided 3,577 one way rides for seniors to and from Elmwood Hall.
Finally, fund raising efforts continue either directly through the city or through The Prime Timers, Inc. Friends of Danbury Seniors fund raising group. A variety of fundraisers, donations and grants brought in a total of $ 9,100. Revenues of $ 6,817 were collected in class fees to offset the cost of our instructors. The Department of Elderly Services continues to take pride in serving each of Danbury’s older citizens and looks forward to meeting their upcoming needs in the future.