At Home in Darien provides network of supports for seniors

At Home in Darien shares the same goals as similar programs of neighboring towns. Stay Put in New Canaan seeks to offer support for a community of seniors. Greenwich has a similar program. But Darien is set apart from the others.  While in other towns, there are requirements to join such as fees, membership costs, or even demonstrating a certain financial status, in Darien all seniors are automatically enrolled at age 60.  This gives seniors an immediate access to a vast network of support.

The mission of At Home is straightforward: helping Darien seniors live independently, comfortably, and with dignity in their own homes and the community as long as possible. This is accomplished in a number of ways. “There were really four areas that seniors told us they wanted support in,” said Peter Eder, a senior himself and a regular user of the services.  The top of the list was transportation, and At Home in Darien employs regular drivers to aid in seniors getting around town. “They have relationships with the drivers too,” Said Gina Blum, the Executive Director, “we even have some call and ask ‘is Rick working today?’.”  At Home in Darien also offers the services of vetted handymen, so seniors who need home repairs or help can feel safe and trust the people that are performing the work. A number of these handymen and volunteers are Darien residents themselves. They partner with a number of local businesses and organizations as they continue to make efforts to provide a network of support and resources to their members. According to Eder, some local businesses have even begun offering discounts to those who show their At Home in Darien membership card.

This sort of relationship speaks to another need of the seniors in Darien according to Eder, and that is a strong desire to stay involved. At Home in Darien sends a regular calendar of events to all members. “The calendar had 32 different events for June,” said Blum. With more than one event each day, At Home prides itself on offering seniors a number of ways to stay active and involved in their community. A look at the calendar on the organization’s website shows just how diverse the activities can be, as they include visiting authors, house tours, luncheons, walks, and even doctors visiting to discuss annual health exams. The services provided are often sought out not just by seniors, but by their families. Blum spoke about a number of adult children of seniors who have come to At Home in Darien looking for advice or support to help with an aging parent.

Along with events are the regular volunteers to help seniors as well. Blum pointed out that they routinely get volunteer help from local students, athletic teams, and church youth groups. Volunteers among the youth build relationships with the senior community, and a respect for seniors and the town as a whole. These volunteers help with leaf raking or other tasks around the home, or simply spend time with seniors playing cards or chatting and building friendships.

At Home in Darien currently has about 3,800 members, and sees between 100-200 new members each year. Similar programs in nearby towns have nowhere near as many members, typically boasting only a few hundred, and relying on fundraising events. At Home in Darien simply sends out a newsletter and asks community members for support. The senior community will always be in need of support, and so At Home in Darien is always welcoming of donations and volunteers. Visit for more information on the program and ways to donate or get involved.

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