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September 2020

Adult Day Center Without Walls

The COVID-19 virus has dictated a self-isolating lifestyle for elders. This is the opposite of the adult day center industry’s mission, which has always been to promote social connection and closeness.  Across the country, adult day centers have been developing remote support services and calling this model “adult day without walls.”

During this life-threatening time, Elderly Services is committed to protecting, nurturing and serving our adult day center members and their families—but at a safe distance.

Elderly Services is also committed to maintaining our organization during the pandemic era so that we can be healthy and poised to resume in-person programming when the virus threat ends.

We believe in “adult day without walls” for now. We will offer all-important social engagement and stimulation. We will monitor health, medical and daily living needs and arrange for services for our members. We will support caregiving family members with listening, problem-solving and coaching.  We will offer caregiver support groups, education and resources.

Through frequent contact and safe modes of interpersonal connection among our members, we will maintain the sense of belonging to a group—a key component of our mental health.

— Joanne Corbett, Executive Director

June 3, 2020

Update on Our Continuing Support for Elders and Caregivers

As Vermont gradually opens up, we wanted to provide an update in support of our ongoing work to care for frail elders in our community and their caregivers, and to support those over 65 living independently but facing social isolation.

On March 17 we were told to close by the Department of Aging and Independent Living. We immediately turned to tele-health, telephone counseling, companionship calls, online activities programming, and outreach by mail. For the past 10 weeks we have provided telephonic support to about 150 participants and their caregivers. More than 65 participants are attending our 20 interactive Zoom activities weekly. We provide ongoing eldercare counseling to caregivers and family members who call in. We have restarted elder college classes on Zoom. This is our commitment to the community until the time that we can re-open.

We have not yet received guidelines from the state for re-opening Project Independence. We are concerned it may take a long time until it is safe for this most vulnerable population to congregate again—this includes not only our participants but the majority of our staff who are over 60. We are considering alternative ways to provide respite and additional caregiver support in the meantime.

We will keep you posted as we develop plans for opening our center again.

Until that time, we continue to work hard to serve the needs of older people and caregivers in Addison County using telephone, FaceTime, e-mail and Zoom to provide: 

  • eldercare counseling
  • geriatric mental health counseling for individuals, families and couples
  • therapeutic recreation activities
  • elder college classes
  • caregiver support and education
  • telephone check in and support by nurses and social workers
  • care coordination
  • eldercare resource and respite registry
  • and many other supports.

If you know of someone who could benefit from the kind of support we provide, please put them in touch with us. We look forward to continuing to support the seniors of Addison County through this pandemic.

— Kristin Bolton, Assistant Director

May 14, 2020

At Elderly Service’s Project Independence: Elders are Zooming to rekindle friendships…/elders-are-zooming-rekindl…

May 7, 2020

Building a New Foundation

In the six weeks since we have closed our doors, we have been busy building a new foundation for our services, to reach out to people as long as we need to stay home and stay safe. We are very grateful to the National Bank of Middlebury for helping us in our application for the Paycheck Protection Program, and the federal government for the funding, which has given us the ability to launch many new initiatives. 
We wanted to be in touch with each and every participant who was attending Project Independence when we closed. To that end, we assembled a team of callers to provide companionship over the phone twice a week. Once a week we mail out a bulletin with staff news, participant news, updates and games. Periodically we send handwritten cards. We thank the United Way of Addison County for their support in printing postcards of events at Project at the Little Pressroom that we can send out to participants. Our nurses have been in touch with participants with medical concerns and trips to the hospital and back home again.
We also wanted to support caregivers, so we created a social work and counseling team to help family caregivers who suddenly lost the respite service we were providing. Our team is able to provide counseling, a sounding board, and access to resources as caregivers navigate their way through 24/7 care.
One way that we’re helping caregivers and participants alike is through our activities programming, which now takes place on Zoom three times a day, Monday through Friday. We have more than 50 participants now able to join us for exercise and Bone Builders, talks and chats, as well as visits from special volunteers who used to come to our building to lead programs on creative coloring, favorite books at the Ilsley Library, and even a visit to a beekeeper’s backyard. We are grateful to the United Way of Addison County for helping us purchase some inexpensive devices so that more participants can join us.
“I loved every event I was able to attend. See you all next week.”
What people are saying about our Zoom activities.
And we’re making a lot of behind the scene improvements during this down time, such as upgrading menus, doing additional cleaning, providing staff education, and even sewing cloth napkins for our meals when we’re able to open again.
Outreach to the community is still a priority. We’re piloting holding ESI College classes via Zoom this month, which will help us plan what we can offer to a broader audience. Our social workers and counselors are still providing eldercare counseling for families and/or elders who live in Vermont. Please, please call us if you need help. We know this is a difficult time and we want you to know we are available to support you.
— Kristin Bolton, Assistant Director

April 2, 2020

Elderly Services Reinvents Itself

Elderly Services/Project Independence has offered the wonders of communal group programming for very elderly people for 40 years. We have transformed lives with the philosophy of “getting out is good for you.” Suddenly, the virus has turned our mission upside down.

Elderly Services is still alive and well, though our beautiful facility is closed to the public for a while. We are now using telephones and computers, with home-based staff, to promote a sense of group and belonging—and to monitor and improve health and mood. We are reinterpreting our Project Independence mission to remotely serve participants and caregivers, and are now offering:

  • Twice weekly telephone companionship, emotional support, and monitoring of needs of 150 elders who are our adult daycare members. 
  • Once weekly counselor telephone consultation with family caregivers—40 family caregivers.
  • Two days of weekly adult day care nursing assessments by our nurses.
  • Remote activities programming by a team of adult day care staff for elderly members (with help from family members) to enjoy via Facebook, YouTube, Facetime, Zoom and other computer avenues—increasing belonging and improving mood.
  • A weekly bulletin produced and mailed to all elderly members, families and staff, featuring news, humor and activities.

We will also be creating opportunities for our ESI College students to engage with one another and with our instructors as we pilot an online learning initiative in the coming months.

We will not close up and go silent. We have worked for 40 years to create a thriving, joyous group program that transforms the lives of 80- to 100-year-olds and brings peace and rest to families. Our staff are working creatively from home to sustain our circle of belonging and affection.

We are deeply appreciative of the support of our community at this difficult time. We also want to support you. Our social workers are still available over the phone to help. Please call us (802.388.3983) if you need some support.


— Kristin Bolton, Assistant Director

March 17, 2020

ESI to Pause Project Independence, ESI College and Other Services

Following the recommendation of the Vermont Department of Health and the Vermont Department of Aging and Independent Living, which oversee our agency, we will be pausing our services as of 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 17.

This includes Project Independence, ESI College and our other on-site services such as Caregiver Support Group and Counseling Services.

As directed by these state agencies, we will re-assess after April 15. 

We know these are stressful times and that care for frail elders can be a challenge even at the best of times. Please don’t hesitate to call us (802.388.3983) or e-mail ( if you need some phone support. 

We are working on some ideas for being in touch and providing a different kind of support for our participants and families as we practice social distancing. 

Please make sure we have your e-mail address and your best contact information so that we can reach out to you in the next month and keep you up to date on what’s happening.

Take care, be well, and stay in touch!

— Kristin Bolton, Assistant Director

March 10, 2020

Dear Participants, Family Members and Caregivers:

We’re in a challenging time with the Coronavirus/COVID-19 spread. Older people are considered among the most vulnerable. We’ve been receiving regular memos from the Vermont Department of Health and the Vermont Department of Aging. We will follow their recommendations and have also put in place additional precautions, listed below.

We expect that the situation will continue to change. If you have any questions, please call 802.388.3983.

Would you please provide us with your email and mobile number so we can reach you as quickly as possible? You can email us at

Thank you so much for your attention to this.


— Joanne Corbett, Executive Director
— Kristin Bolton, Assistant Director

Coronavirus Prevention/COVID-19 Prevention Measures

  1. If you (or your loved one) have developed any sign of a fever, dry cough or chest congestion, you must stay home.
  2. If you have been near a family member or friend who has symptoms, you must stay home.
  3. We will be contacting you to ask risk-screening questions, required by the state of Vermont for eldercare centers.
  4. We have intensified attention and supervision of thorough hand-washing.
  5. We have increased our cleaning and sanitizing of surfaces and equipment.
  6. We are reducing volunteers and visitors to reduce exposure risk.
Due to COVID-19, in-person programs at Elderly Services are on hold for now.Read more.