New Canaan BOS endorses Senior Health Care and Housing recommendations
Published 6:39 pm, Wednesday, December 15, 2010
The team made four major suggestions at the conclusion of its Phase II report that would go "toward building an optimal livable community" for current and future seniors and a "virtual three-tier senior community" as opposed to a conventional continuing care retirement community (CCRC).
Those four key actions included exploring and defining independent living options in town, encouraging support for the Waveny Care Network's expansion over the next 20 years of assisted living and full-care facilities, promoting development of technology to benefit seniors and encouraging more "senior-friendly" private development in town.
Jim Lisher, chairman of the team, highlighted the importance of those recommendations to the Board prior to the vote.
"It is important that we move forward, in particular, with the independent living facilities for seniors," Lisher said. He believes that the independent living aspect will almost work as a "phase III" of the project in terms of identifying all the options. Lisher also expressed that working closely with the Waveny Care Network over the next 20 or so years will be imperative in dealing with the senior issue.
"It is very important for the town to work with Waveny Care to look forward to the future," Lisher said. The significance here, Lisher reiterated, "is to make sure we are ready for the anticipated growth in seniors."
As of now, most of these actions are going to be addressed by the Health and Human Services Commission. In turn, the commission will coordinate with Waveny Care, the Housing Authority, the Town IT Department, Planning and Zoning as well as other long range planning initiatives around town.
In terms of exploring and defining the in-town independent living options for seniors, the Board of Selectmen plans to appoint a new citizen committee of five to seven people by around early January.
"It will be similar to Jim Lisher's group in terms of size but it will involve a whole different set of skills," First Selectman Jeb Walker said. "We are rounding up nominations as we speak and hope to have at least five of them for our next Board of Selectmen meeting in January."
Walker added that he has encouraged the Long Range Planning Committee as well as the Market Demand Study Group to coordinate with the senior initiative to ensure that the groups are on the same page and to avoid redundancy.
As was the case at the last presentation, all three members of the Board of Selectmen praised the group again for producing a very comprehensive and thoughtful plan for the town.
Tom Ferguson, another member of the team, was pleased with the Selectmen's endorsement.
"We were hoping that this doesn't just end up being a well received report, but something that has results."