Congratulations to the Danbury Department of Elderly Services!
The City of Danbury's Department of Elderly Services has again been named a Senior Focal Point by the Western CT Area Agency on Aging (WCAAA) for 2022 to 2024!
The Department of Elderly Services seeks to increase the quality of life of Danbury area citizens who are age 60 plus by developing many comprehensive programs and providing resource and referral services specifically designed to enrich the general well-being of Danbury’s more mature population. Programs include the Municipal Agent’s Office for the Elderly, the Van Transportation Program, the Rent Rebate Program, and Elmwood Hall – Danbury Senior Center, which in itself encompasses various programs in the areas of health and wellness, life-long learning, benefits and support, and leisure time activities. Also included are Intergenerational Programs with area schools and universities.
The website, www.danburyseniors.org, provides information and links to services and resources for seniors, their families, and the greater community. It also provides information on events at Elmwood Hall – Danbury Senior Center. Elmwood Hall – Danbury Senior Center is our largest program and is the gateway to information, as well as the “place to gather” for many seniors. Designated as a Western CT Area Agency on Aging Focal Point for older adults, biennial membership is free. A newsletter titled “The Elmwood Extra” is a bi-monthly publication that keeps all members up to date on what is going on. A grant-funded software called SchedulesPlus provides real time voice messaging information to members on urgent, time sensitive events, such as vaccine clinics and COVID19 home test kit distribution. The Van Transportation Program provides rides to and from Elmwood Hall for activities and special outings in the community. The Rent Rebate Program, a State of Connecticut Program of the Office of Policy and Management, administered through this department, provides a one-time yearly rebate on rental payments for those Danbury residents who qualify.
A “Friends of Danbury Seniors” group, “The Prime Timers, Inc.” is a 501C3 not-for-profit whose sole mission is to support the programs of the department and the Elmwood Hall Senior center. Donations are accepted at any time.
Our accomplishments for 2022 focused on continuing to scale up operations and redesign programs as the COVID19 pandemic shifted to allow for the return of more in person services. New programs were also introduced to meet the changing needs of the older adult community.
Elmwood Hall – Danbury Senior Center is again named a focal point for older adults by the Western CT Area Agency on Aging for 2022 – 2024. We appreciate very much this recognition from the State of Connecticut.
Acquisition of SchedulesPlus Senior Center Software. Obtained via grant money, this powerful software solution is used for contact management, activity registration, volunteer management, payments, donations, rides, services, mailing lists, voice messaging, surveys, reporting, and many other tasks performed daily at the department.
Vaccines, booster shots, free COVID19 home test kits. In partnership with the City of Danbury Department of Health and Human Services and the State of CT Department of Health, the department has become a trusted, reliable, and easy to access location for COVID19 vaccines, booster shots, and free COVID19 home test kits, all of which can be delivered to homebound individuals.
N95 Mask Distribution. In person and delivery distribution of approximately 1,500 N95 masks.
AARP Tax Assistance. Working in partnership with the City of Danbury Department of Health and Human Services and the AARP Foundation, the AARP Tax Assistance program returned to in person appointments at Elmwood Hall – Danbury Senior Center. COVID19 mitigation strategies of masking and social distancing were required. For those who wanted a virtual option, a referral given to VITA in Danbury.
Senior Nutrition Grab and Go / Congregate Meal Program. In partnership with CW Resources, our congregate meal provider for our on-site senior lunch program, four meals per week were provided Grab and Go. On April 18 of 2022, congregate meals returned in person at Elmwood Hall – Danbury Senior Center three times per week.
Resource and Referral. A core program of the department, we continue to connect seniors to resources in the community. In person appointments are encouraged, but are no longer required and seniors, family and community members are welcome to stop by for assistance any time. Key referrals are for food insecurity, homecare, housing, tax assistance, elder abuse, home repair, elder law, transportation, unemployment, and medical equipment.
CHOICES. (Connecticut’s program for Health insurance assistance, Outreach, Information and referral, Counseling, Eligibility Screening, i.e. Medicare A, B, D, Advantage, Medigap, Medicare Savings) This important program has moved from over the phone to a return to in person by appointments.
Rent Rebate. CT State law provides a reimbursement program for Connecticut renters who are elderly or totally disabled, and whose incomes do not exceed certain limits. The application process for the Rent Rebate program for 2022 (rent year 2021) is being conducted in person, over the phone, through email, and text. Strong collaborative relationships with senior housing property managers and resident services coordinators have assisted with client access to this program.
Van Transportation Program. The van program brings seniors who lack transportation to classes, programs and appointments at the Senior Center. This program was reinstated in January at half capacity and expanded to seventy-five percent capacity in April, with the requirement of wearing a mask.
One-on-One Tech Support. Elmwood Hall - Danbury Senior Center and the Danbury Library have resumed One-on-One Tech Support in person by appointment at Elmwood Hall – Danbury Senior Center.
CT Department of Agriculture Farmers’ Market Voucher Program. A partnership with the State of CT Department of Agriculture, Farmers’ Market Vouchers were provided for Danbury seniors who met the eligibility criteria.
Seniors Eating Well / Farm Market on the Move Program. This program pivoted back to its original form to incorporate nutrition education, combined with easy access to a Farmers’ Market. A new addition to this year’s program was a partnership with End Hunger CT who was on-site to sign up older adults for SNAP benefits. Funded by a partnership with CityCenter Danbury, the Danbury Farmers’ Market, UCONN Department of Agriculture, Clatter Valley Farm and CSA, the Peter and Carmen Lucia Buck Foundation, the Savings Bank of Danbury, and the United Way of Western CT. This program provides nutrition education four times per year, combined with twenty dollars in Farmers’ Market Gift Certificates, and the opportunity to shop at a Farmers’ Market that same day at the Elmwood Hall – Danbury Senior Center. Transportation was provided for those in need.
Elmwood Hall – Danbury Senior Center Events and Activities. Regularly scheduled programs and special events have scaled up over the course of the year in the areas of health and wellness, benefits and support, leisure time activities, and life-long learning.
We will continue to work with the State of Connecticut Department of Aging and Disability Services, the State of CT Department of Public Health, the CT Association of Senior Center Personnel, as well as our City of Danbury Mayor’s Office, and Department of Health and Human Services to remain open in a way that prioritizes the safety of Danbury’s older adults.