Aging in Place
In 2006 The First Congregational Church of Darien’s Women’s Association, The Community Fund of Darien (TCF), and St. Luke’s Episcopal Church were all individually researching ways to better serve seniors in the community and came together to collaborate on this mission.
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 local groups) 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 Mather Center at The Darien Town Hall), announced its creation, and created an improved town-wide newsletter for seniors called Out & 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.