About At Home in Darien
Helping Darien seniors live independently, comfortably and with dignity in their own homes and the community as long as possible.
Read our Aging in Place+Gallivant brochure.
Adobe Acrobat document [4.6 MB]
2013 Board Members:
Nancy Herling, President,
Ann Mandel and Peter Eder, Vice Presidents
Debby McLean, Treasurer
Maureen Tyrrell, Secretary
Barbara Adams, Anne Ardery, Karen Armour, Dorothy Baker, Jean Baker, William Ball, Kaye Barker, Diane Barston, Nancy Cammann, Charlie England, Cindy Heck, Diana Kalman, Kate Larson, Wyn Lydecker, Anne McGuire, Frank Rosenberry, John Schmidt, Erin Shea, Hester Smith, Amy Squyres, Ernie Steiner, Cathy Sullivan, Maureen Tyrrell, Pete Wright
Olive Hauser (Director, Darien Social Services), Ex officio
Beth Paris (Senior Center Coordinator, Darien Senior Activities Center), Ex officio
Gina Z. Blum, Executive Director
Aging in Place
The First Congregational Church of Darien’s Women’s Association formed an Aging in Place Committee in February 2006. Through their research and outreach to other organizations, they discovered that The Community Fund of Darien (TCF) was also looking into better ways to serve seniors, as was St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.
In 2007 the Human Services Planning Council (part of TCF) began an Aging in Place (AIP) initiative and attracted an Advisory Board of community members and social service leaders, including
representatives from First Congregational and St. Luke’s churches. This initial board conducted focus groups, researched similar aging-in-place organizations (e.g., Beacon Hill Village in Boston and
Staying Put in New Canaan) and brought together service providers at a Senior Summit to explore the best ways to achieve the common goal of enabling local seniors to live independently at home.
In March 2008, AIP became a pilot program sponsored and funded by TCF. Through The Community Fund, AIP hired a part-time coordinator, established a small office (now housed at the Darien Senior Activities Center), announced its creation, and created an improved town-wide newsletter for seniors called Out and About.
AIP became very active in tackling the issues facing residents who want to remain at home in Darien. With minimal marketing activity, AIP attracted hundreds of members, validating its appeal and its mission.
The AIP Strategic Planning and Transportation Committees initiated discussions with Gallivant (see below) to discuss merging the two organizations, since they both serve the older adults of Darien, Connecticut.
Gallivant began many years ago by providing Darien seniors who could no longer drive with a way to get out of the house. The manager of the old Howard Johnson's restaurant was instrumental in getting the organization off the ground. Volunteers drove the van, which enabled seniors to go to dinner at Howard Johnson's. As demand grew and other transportation needs arose, the Social Services Department of the Town of Darien started to provide assistance, and a strong volunteer board evolved. Through a private-public partnership, the town and Gallivant managed the service, dispatched the rides and raised money to pay for gas, maintenance and drivers' salaries. Recently, Gallivant purchased a car to complement its handicap-accessible van and outsourced the dispatching service to Drivers Unlimited, a Darien car and limousine service.
Aging in Place+Gallivant
In 2011, the AIP and Gallivant boards voted to merge the two organizations, creating Aging in Place+Gallivant and establishing itself as in independent, charitable, nonprofit with its own Board of Directors, and hired an Executive Director.
At Home in Darien
In 2013, the Aging in Place+Gallivant Board of Directors renamed the organization At Home in Darien in order to more clearly communicate its mission of helping Darien Seniors live independently, comfortably and with dignity in their own homes. A new graphic identity with simple, comprehensive symbols depicts the array of services offered, and the tag line “connecting seniors to community” has been incorporated into the design, resulting in a more quickly recognized and easily remembered name.