Connecticut Community Foundation serves 21 towns in Greater Waterbury and the Litchfield Hills – communities ranging from urban to suburban to rural. As part of the Pathways Services for Seniors Initiative, each community is encouraged to take a fresh look at its senior population by holding a Town Conversation on Aging.
A $2,000 noncompetitive grant from the East Hill Woods Fund is available to each town to:
- Convene a conversation of seniors, community leaders and other interested residents
- Complete an asset inventory of programs, facilities and other resources benefiting seniors
- Identify major service gaps and needs and, with group input, select the top three
- Determine key action steps over the next three years
- Begin implementing one of the action steps using the remainder of the grant
Roxbury was the first town to hold a Town Conversation on Aging. Their conversation was well-publicized and included 40 seniors, the First Selectman, members of the clergy, Council on Aging members and representatives of a variety of health and social service agencies.
Jerrilynn Tiso, Municipal Agent for the Elderly, facilitated the conversation and described an “enthusiastic group satisfied with services they already have available, and quite definite in what they see as needs.”
Transportation was one of the top three needs identified. A related action step was determined – continuing discussions with the Town of Washington regarding sharing of their senior van. If talks are successful, Roxbury will use the remaining grant funds toward van and driver costs for weekly trips.
Connecticut Community Foundation hopes that the Town Conversations on Aging help to build:
- Appreciation of the varied resources benefiting seniors in the community
- Greater awareness of the concerns of older adults
- Consensus on priorities and action steps to begin tackling major gaps
- New partnerships to solve problems and bring generations together
- Their understanding of the communities they serve