Editorial: Homebodies

There was a time, not all that long ago, when families lived closer together. The beauty of an extended family is that there is usually always someone at home — someone to watch the kids when they get home from school, someone to keep an eye on the grandparents who live either close by or even in the same house. Sometimes a family can be too close-knit, but generally it’s all for the better.
Rarely is it like that anymore. For whatever reason — following a job, a spouse, or just finding a place that seems better — families tend to split up. Sometimes it’s the older parents who leave. Fleeing cold winters and high taxes during their retirement years, many head south.
But many stay behind in the family homestead, and find that without that extended family, it is no easy task. Maintaining a home takes a financial and emotional toll, but many people just don’t want to move. They like their home, their town, their friends. It’s familiar, both comfortable and comforting.
For the last four years Wilton seniors have had some major help staying at home. The aptly named Stay at Home in Wilton has made it so senior citizens can get help with minor household tasks — the kinds of things that are hard to do by yourself but you just don’t want to have to call and pay someone to do them. Like climbing a ladder to replace a lightbulb, hooking up a new TV or computer, or fixing a broken towel rack.
Stay at Home in Wilton has a corps of volunteers ready to help.
The other big issue facing seniors is when and when not to drive. Maybe someone feels all right driving around Wilton but not to Norwalk or Danbury. Again, Stay at Home has volunteer drivers ready to help out.
There are times when a job requires a professional, but finding a reputable tradesperson can be difficult without solid recommendations. Stay at Home offers this, too, vetting local workers that can be confidently recommended.
With all of that, staying at home all the time is not a good thing, and that’s why Stay at Home offers a laundry list of social events. Last month’s barbecue at Merwin Meadows was attended by scores of seniors and volunteers enjoying a perfect summer evening out. Earlier this summer a ferry trip to Port Jefferson was also a popular draw. There is a monthly men’s breakfast and more.
Assisted and independent living facilities have become increasingly popular — and for some they are the perfect answer, but for those who are not yet ready, organizations like Stay at Home are enjoying a grass-roots growth spurt.
Keeping our seniors here only strengthens a town like Wilton, as they make up a good percentage of our volunteers themselves. They also offer valuable wisdom and insight.
Stay at Home in Wilton offers single and couple memberships. For information, visit stayathomeinwilton.org.