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August 2022

Enjoying Life at Elderly Services Despite COVID

Camaraderie and smiles fill our adult day center, Project Independence, every day here at 112 Exchange Street in Middlebury.

We continue to wear high-quality masks when indoors and require proof of vaccinations. It’s not easy to hold a social group program for elders, as we are the most vulnerable to severe COVID illness. But we have successfully re-opened with in-person programming and our participants enjoy wonderful meals, music, sports and entertainment five days a week.

To date, our COVID protocols have worked well to prevent infection or transmission within our center.

At this time we have decided to double our Project Independence enrollment to 50 percent of our former capacity. We offer two shifts daily, each able to accommodate up to 30 participants.

Prior to the pandemic, we offered two shifts daily, each with 60 participants.

ESI College classes continue online for the fall of 2022. We are blessed with many talented instructors and wonderful class topics.  

And our eldercare counseling team is busy advising family caregivers. We offer helpful family meetings over zoom, providing counseling over the telephone, and meet with families for outdoor appointments in good weather.

— Joanne Corbett, Executive Director

December 2021

Still Zooming While Slowly Increasing Enrollment

Elderly Services is still operating Project Independence with in-person as well as remote services. As the pandemic continues we will maintain a limited enrollment, prioritizing those who are vaccinated and boosted, can wear masks, and maintain physical distancing of six feet or more. We are increasing our enrollment slowly, and those who do attend follow these guidelines, are careful about exposure and work with us closely regarding possible risks. We have become accustomed to wearing our masks inside for most of the day, and enjoy mask breaks outside on our frequent walks. Our three our four Zoom activities each day provide a fun, loving community for our participants in their own homes. They enjoy live music, nature programs, Bone Builders, special guests and discussion groups. You can check out activities at our weekly online calendar.

Our elder college, ESI College, will stay online into 2022 until the risks of infection are much lower and we are able to open our doors to the community again. Our older (60-plus) students still enjoy the high caliber of teachers and students, the variety of classes, and the flexibility to join in from home or when they are traveling. See the latest offerings in our online ESI College brochure.

Our eldercare counselors provide help daily to many families over the telephone, over Zoom and through email consultation. Family caregivers are attending training and support groups over Zoom for the foreseeable future. Many caregivers looking for help and ideas have found these resources helpful.

— Kristin Bolton, Assistant Director

July 2021

In-person Re-opening as Remote Program Continues

Elderly Services resumed in-person service at our adult day center, Project Independence, in June. Our in-person enrollment is limited to 25 percent of our former enrollment level. Instead of 60 members per session, we are limiting at 15 people per session.

As a health-care and long-term-care setting, we give priority to those fully vaccinated. When indoors, we wear masks and practice six-foot distancing.

All here love the two large tents we have rented, where we can enjoy music, games and discussions mask-free!

Our tents allow us to be outside and unmasked for many activities.

Given that many members are not yet able to return, Project Independence is committed to our Zoom activities program. Our three to four live programs daily bring enjoyment and camaraderie into our members’ lives while they are home. Our nurses and counselors are also continuing their telephone check-ins and health monitoring. This one-to-one time on the phone is valued by all.

Our ESI College lifelong-learning classes will continue online at least through December 2021. Online attendance has been very good and our older students often appreciate the safety and simplicity of classes over Zoom. To receive our e-mailed brochure, send a note to

Our eldercare counselor staff provide help daily to many families over the telephone, over Zoom and through e-mail consultation. Family caregivers are attending training and support groups over Zoom for the foreseeable future.

Please call us at 802.388.3983 with your eldercare concerns. We are here to help!

— Joanne Corbett, Executive Director

February 2021

Remote Services Are a Success During Virus Surge

All at Elderly Services are focused on helping our members and staff plan for their vaccinations. We are hopeful that, sometime in 2021, it will be safe enough to gather as a group!

During these months of soaring virus counts, our wonderful staff has been staying in close touch through telephone support with 120 Project Independence members and families. We also offer four support groups and education programs throughout the month to help caregivers of frail elders and stroke survivors and their spouses.

Music is a big part of the Zoom programs offered each week by Project.

Our activities program is thriving! We offer 28 activities weekly over Zoom, providing about 40 hours of programming each week. In January, 60 participants zoomed for over 1,525 hours total, and those numbers keep increasing. Live music from our Cathedral Studio happens Monday through Friday from our group of talented and dedicated volunteers; other volunteers lead discussions, invite special guests from around the world, and lead exercise classes. We post these weekly on our website, and daily on our Facebook page

Our ESI College staff have enjoyed partnering with an impressive array of volunteer instructors for our lifelong learning classes. During January and February more than 115 older students took an average of four online classes each for a total of more than 500 registrations. You can view the ESI College course list online. New offerings for March and April will be released soon. To get on our email list to receive the electronic brochure, send an email to Our technical support has helped many people jump into Zoom and enjoy these rich programs.

The winter cold and darkness has made many older people feel even more isolated. We can offer you:

  • Telehealth and companionship calls
  • Live entertainment and activities over Zoom
  • Lifelong learning classes live online
  • Eldercare counseling for families and caregivers
  • One-on-one counseling for elders
  • Caregiver support groups and caregiver education
  • Help finding in-home respite

Elderly Services is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and answering calls. Please call Joanne and Kristin at 802.388.3983 if you’d like to learn more about our programs. Or you can write to us at We’ve been happy to have new members join Project Independence, and to have new students enroll in ESI College courses.  We look forward to talking with you.

November 2020

Remote Services Available from Elderly Services

As the pandemic continues, Elderly Services is committed to our remote programming. We are providing a variety of services to Project Independence members and their families. We have developed online classes for our ESI College Lifelong Learning older students. And we are offering families advice, counseling and education on eldercare issues. All at a safe distance!

What we offer and invite you to join:

  • Telehealth and companionship calls for Project Independence members from our nurses and supportive staff.
  • Over 22 hours weekly of live, online Zoom activities and entertainment for Project Independence members.
  • An average of three lifelong learning classes weekly online for ESI College students.
  • Veterans Administration-supported “meal delivery for veterans.”
  • Socially-distanced check-in visits for Project Independence members.
  • Family caregiver counseling and guidance.
  • Family caregiver support groups and education programs.
  • One-on-one counseling for elders.
  • Help finding in-home respite.

Please call Kristin or Joanne at 802.388.3983 or write to if you would like to learn more or join our programs.

You can watch the video below for more information on Elderly Services programs, and how ESI is working to meet the challenges of the pandemic:


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.