Caring for the Caregivers: a panel discussion moderated by At Home in Darien’s Gina Blum, will be held at the Darien Library Tuesday night from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the community room.

Many new stresses are created when a person becomes a caregiver to a loved one who is aging in place. Whether one is currently experiencing this transition, or anticipate it in the future, all are welcome to a panel discussion to discuss how to take care of oneself. The panelists will answer questions, help ease anxieties, and introduce attendees to local resources and self-care suggestions to help caregivers support loved ones.

About the Panelists

Shanon Jordan is the Southwestern Regional Director at the (Connecticut Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association). She is a licensed social worker with a bachelor’s degree in social work from Southern Connecticut State University as well as a master’s degree in social work from Fordham University. Throughout her career, Shanon has had the privilege of serving many diverse populations but her true passion lies in advocacy for and the care of our aging population. With almost 20 years’ experience in providing social services in long term care, Shanon has seen firsthand the devastating effects that Alzheimer’s disease has on its victims and caregivers and she shares in the vision of the Alzheimer’s Association of a world without Alzheimer’s disease.

Ali Ramsteck has been a resident of Darien for 16 years along with her three school-aged daughters. Ali received her bachelor’s degree in human development and sociology from Boston College. Upon graduation, Ali entered Columbia University and received a Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work. She began her career at New York Presbyterian Hospital Cornell Westchester Division where she worked for 8 years, initially on the Children’s Inpatient Psychiatric Unit and then as the senior social worker on the Geriatric Inpatient Psychiatric Unit. Ali has been working for the Darien Human Services Department since January 2012. She began as a part-time case manager and was later promoted to full time Assistant Director in April 2016. In April of 2017, Ali was promoted to director of the Department which currently serves hundreds of clients.

Richard Helstein is currently President of Creative Focus, a marketing and advertising consulting firm; as well as having served as an Adjunct Professor of Marketing at the Darden Graduate Business School, University of Virginia. Sue, his wife of 50 years, was first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease 6 years ago. Dick became Sue’s primary caregiver for 4 ½ years until she was admitted to Maplewood at Darien, a Memory Care Residence. He is currently the Caregiver Facilitator to the Giving Alzheimer’s Purpose (GAP) Support Group, working with Shanon Jordan. He has also been working with the Alzheimer’s Association of CT, appearing on various television and radio shows discussing the role of caregivers today.

Gina Z. Blum is Executive Director of At Home In Darien. She enjoys helping senior citizens age in place and stay connected to the community. Gina has also served as Assistant to the Director of the Stamford Senior Center, Coordinator of the Collaborative Alliance of Fairfield County, President of the Junior League of Stamford-Norwalk, and Chairman of the Fairfield County Women’s Center at Norwalk Community College. Gina graduated from Trinity College in Hartford. Her husband, children, and dog keep her busy but she enjoys finding time to volunteer, and to play tennis and paddle.