Senior health and housing study one step closer to start
A senior health care and housing policy development team of seven to nine New Canaan residents will begin researching the importance and needs of local seniors in a week to 10 days, according to policy team leader Jim Lischer.
The Board of Selectmen approved the Health and Human Services Commission's re-vamped process proposal to evaluate senior health and housing needs, presented by Lischer, at its meeting on Tuesday morning.
Lischer, who is also the HHSC chairman, did not release the names of the team members at the meeting.
"Once I go back to the team and make sure everyone is on, I'll re-announce the names," Lischer said.
He added, "There are 2,755 [seniors] in town, according to the Census projection ... so, fundamentally what we will do is take a look at that 20 percent of the electorate [and] see what we can do for them, how to make this a better place to live how to make this a better place to stay and try to come at some facts ... ."
The subcommittee's plan is no longer tied to investigating the possibility of a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) in Waveny Park, as the original plan released in early January proposed.
"It's not my goal or the intent of this group to create senior living as an industry," Lischer said. "I'm only interested in trying to optimize the senior situation here."
Lischer said the new plan's focus is a "broad" look at senior health and housing issues in New Canaan.
He said none of the pending sub-committee members, whose names will be released at the April 27 board meeting, are involved with Waveny Care Network, which, on its Web site, expresses support for a CCRC in Waveny Park.
Lischer's name appeared on the Waveny Care Network's Web site on a list of supporters of the concept of a CCRC in New Canaan, and was removed in January.
"To the best of my knowledge, the only person who has served on the Waveny board is me, and that was 10 years ago," Lischer said. "I specifically tried to avoid any direct conflict."
Lischer said that many of the original people chosen to work on the team remain on the list, with the addition of a resident under age 40 and a medical professional.
"To me, the names on the actual committee are less important than the people you will reach out to in addition to that," said Selectman Rob Mallozzi.
Lischer said the team will aim to complete the study and submit a proposal to the town by the end of October or early November.
"I'm pleased with the way this has evolved," said selectman Sally Hines, who expressed opposition to the original plan proposed in January.
The board unanimously approved the plan with the added provision that it review the members of the subcommittee at its April 27 meeting.
"I remain as committed to this notion as when we first started talking about it but I agree with Sally [Hines] and Rob [Mallozzi] that, thanks to the dialogue we've had over the last couple months, we have a better approach than we would have had before," said First Selectman Jeb Walker.