Sunday Seniors: Centers for Health & Aging Celebrates 10 Years

  • Former director of The Dartmouth Centers for Health & Aging Stephen Bartels hugs new director Ellen Flaherty during a celebration marking the 10-year anniversary of the centers in Lebanon. (Valley News — Liz Sauchelli)

Valley News Calendar Editor
Thursday, October 04, 2018

Lebanon — Dozens gathered at AVA Gallery and Art Center last Wednesday to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of The Dartmouth Centers for Health & Aging.

Ellen Flaherty, the newly minted director of the centers, started by thanking the staff “whose mission is to improve the lives of older adults in the Upper Valley and beyond.”

The results of the work of the centers — including the Aging Resource Center, the Geriatric Education Center and the Center for Aging Research — were made clear in posters showing statistics and personal stories that flanked the gallery space.

For example, in 2017, 4,491 people attended programs at the Aging Resource Center. Since the Geriatric Eduction Center was created, 16,000 people ranging from health care providers to caregivers have participated in training.

A study conducted through the Center for Aging Research found that 22 percent of home-delivered meals recipients had no other visitors than the volunteers who delivered meals.

The creation of The Margo Krasnoff Memorial Fund also was announced at the gathering. (Krasnoff was a physician who died five years ago.)

The fund will support projects about “the health and well-being of aging adults; education on the care of older adults and lifestyle medicine; nutrition and plant-based diets; and promoting improved health care in developing countries,” according to a poster displayed at the event.

During her speech, Flaherty touched on the growing senior citizen population and the growth that the centers have experienced, including opening an annex office at the Upper Valley Senior Center in downtown Lebanon.

Joanne Conroy, CEO of Dartmouth-Hitchcock, spoke about how the centers “make a difference in many lives.”

She shared a personal story about her 94-year-old mother still lives alone and how people can continue to live a “really full and fulfilling life even as they age.”

Conroy also spoke about the importance of educating the next generation of health care providers, citing the work Geisel School of Medicine students do with the aging centers.

“It very much changes their perspective early on,” she said.

Conroy concluded her speech by officially naming Flaherty the next director of the centers, replacing Stephen Bartels, who left to take a job at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School as the director of the Mongan Institute.

“Ellen is someone who really gets stuff done, which I love,” Conroy said.

John Wesson, a doctor who was involved in the creation of the centers, marveled at their growth.

“We have come a very, very long way,” he said. “Whenever I walk through the (Aging) Resource Center you get the vibe of people who are just having a helluva a good time.”

Bartels returned for the celebration.

“It’s really about the people,” he said of the centers success. “The work of the staff has just been outstanding.”

He added how special it is to have one place where there is programs for seniors, students, researchers, educators and health care workers in one place working to help senior citizens.

“We’re unique probably in the nation for that,” he said.

Liz Sauchelli can be reached at esauchelli@vnews.com or 603-727-3221.