At Home in Darien welcomes new board members

DARIEN — In early December At Home In Darien recently residents to the Royle at Darien, an independent living housing complex that accommodates adults 55 years of age and older. At Home In Darien partnered with “Neighborly Missions” of the Darien United Methodist Church to prepare gift bags for each household.

The gift bags included information on services available to Darien seniors, hand sanitizer and facemasks to keep residents safe during the pandemic, activity books, inter-generational greetings from the Church’s preschool students, and other fun and useful items.

In another partnership with Neighborly Missions, At Home In Darien also partnered with Ox Ridge Girl Scouts - Daisy Troop 50470 and Brownie Troop 50214, to spread some holiday cheer to senior citizens living in Darien.

The groups worked together to create holiday gift bags that included holiday ornaments made by the Girl Scouts, holiday cards from the Church’s preschool students, and activity books. It also included items to keep Darien residents safe during the pandemic, including masks and hand sanitizer.

On Dec. 10, At Home In Darien held its annual meeting virtually. Newly elected board members William Carney, M.S. Koly and Michael Nedder were announced by board president Susan Bhirud. Bhirud also thanked retiring board members William Ball, Diane Barston and Anne McGuire.

Gina Blum, Executive Director, explained how At Home In Darien has continued to fulfill its mission to help Darien’s senior citizens during the pandemic.

“We have remained open so that we can provide essential services to meet the needs of those most at risk during the pandemic,” she said. At Home in Darien is also providing essential transportation, grocery shopping, pick up and delivery of prescriptions, telephone contact, advice, referrals and customized assistance as needed, according to Blum.

Blum also acknowledged the generosity of At Home In Darien’s volunteers who are an integral part of the organization.

The featured guest speaker was Marie Allen, the executive director of Southwestern CT Agency on Aging. Allen presented “Where anger, anxiety and agesim intersect with the pandemic.”

Allen’s presentation explained the stages of response to the pandemic, which include disbelief, anger, anxiety and hope.

Highlights of her presentation included an explanation of the origins of ageism, and how ageism is affecting seniors during the pandemic.

Allen said she believes that increases in inter-generational interaction can help change ageist thinking.

“Whether in formal or informal programs, co-housing, or other intentional communities — children, parents, and others will better realize the contributions of elders. At the same time, older people will gain a greater sense of purpose and self,” Allen said.

The annual meeting can be viewed on-line at the At Home In Darien website.

At Home In Darien is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to help Darien seniors live independently, comfortably and with dignity in their own homes and the community as long as possible.