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Given the choice, most of us want to stay in our homes. Sometimes, people need help to remain at home. That's where Always Best Care Senior Services comes in.

Personal Care Consultation


“Staff is great there a great place to work and call your workplace”

Babispyce S.

“I’ve been a nurse for over 40 years, and I am currently a nursing professor. When my mom was recently in the hospital, I knew it would not be possible for her to be completely on her own right away. She loves where she resides and enjoys all of the activities that are offered. My goal was to get her back into her apartment as soon as possible with the support she needed to increase her strength and return to her prior level of wellness she had before she went into the hospital. She was used to walking a couple miles a day. When I reached out to ABC I made it clear that my mom would need somebody who would be willing to walk with her in the morning, and in the evening enabling her to get back to her baseline. I would like to complement all of the staff at ABC who provided my mom such wonderful support after two weeks she returned to her baseline and remained in her apartment. She really enjoyed all of the staff that were with her , they were professional they encouraged her to walk, drink fluids, eat and were instrumental in assisting her to reach her prior level of independence. I would strongly recommend ABC to anybody who is in need of support for their loved one.”

Robin Y.

“Mom’s care needs have been progressing over the past month - increased difficulty standing. walking, decreased appetite, increased incontinence. (Part of the expected declining process per her Dr.) Tara has been wonderful in adapting to Mom’s changing needs as they develop and a very helpful partner in troubleshooting. brainstorming how to adapt to best support Mom. It’s also been helpful in my regular communication with Mom’s Dr, to let her know in detail what has come up and how we have approached. Thank you (again) for your talented staff!”

Jeremy H.

“Outstanding personal service from this company. All of the caregivers were personable and provided outstanding care to our aunt. I would highly recommend them to anyone who has an elder family member in need. Also, the staff that helped to set up their services was outstanding as well. They made the decisions easy to understand with no hidden agenda. Thank you again to "ABC!"”


“You can't go wrong with this crew. Extremely patient and caring.”

Daniel S.

“Caring for family can be difficult and challenging at times. It's so nice to know that Always Best Care Senior Services is there to help!”

Cathy K.

“Taylor, John, and Kristine and their crew are the best. They are patient, understanding, and a joy to work with.”

Daniel S.

“Sabina always has a pleasant, caring, and respectful attitude. I feel she treats me as she would as her own mother. She treats me the way she would like to be treated. We are a good “team” together.”

Tracy H.

“Diana has a total commitment of compassion, empathy, and respect for myself and my family. My daughters feel she is truly a tremendous caregiver. They know I am in good hands. She acknowledges with commitment of my physical, emotional, and practical needs, my quality of life has excelled due to Diana’s help. I look forward to her presence everyday her attitude is exceptional, Diana comes to work daily with a smile on her face. She enters the front door, singing softly ready to work. She has never taken a day off, I have had many caregivers, but Diana is truly the best!”

Anne H.

“Tina has been with us since the start, caring for my mom. Tina has nothing but my mom’s best interest at heart. She continues to go above and beyond to care for my mom, and ensure anyone else who may be there also understands my mom’s needs. Tina has even gone so far to rearrange her schedule or give up her free time to stay with my mom to avoid her having someone that doesn’t know her. I can see that she genuinely cares for my mom, and treats her as if she was her own family member. That also goes both ways, my mom lights up when she sees Tina. We consider Tina part of our family.”

David L.

“Always Best Care helped our family get through a very difficult time with my mother's care. Kristine and Taylor are a pleasure to work with. They are very knowledgable and had the answers to all our questions. They were able to help with all aspects of the care we needed. I highly recommend them.”

John S.

“Kristine and John are extremely caring and compassionate about helping their client's and family and making sure they receive the best care available. Highly recommended!”

Greg G.

“We needed some home care services for Dad who has dementia, and we made the right decision to trust ABC Senior Services for this support. Dad was lined up with a caregiver who was attentive and helpful, and she and Dad really hit it off. The management and administrative staff from ABC were also very effective and professional. You'll make a good decision to go with ABC Senior Services...”

Liam M.

“I approached Kristine regarding care for my elderly father. Even though he was outside her service area, she helped to find resources for us. Her commitment to providing outstanding care is only surpassed by her desire to help others. Thank you Kristine!”

Matt B.

“I have known Kristine Lajeunesse for many years now through business networking and she and her Team at Always Best Care are very caring and professional and exactly who you would want on your side if you have a loved one who needs help!”

Ann B.

“The client care at Always Best Care Senior Service is outstanding”

Kimberly O.

“Rosemary has many great qualities. She is a hardworker, sensitive, has a giving nature and has an immense desire to help my father. Reliability is vital trait in Rosemary. When my father was in the hospital and came home she immediately wanted to be by his side. My father has come to rely and depend on Rosemary. She is always on time whether it is giving medication or administering food and often encourages my father and helps my father maintain his dignity”

Denise D.

“Always Best Care provides caregivers to our building on a regular basis when we are short staffed. Due to our licensing, we can only have CNAs on the floor and Always Best Care has provided excellent CNAs every time we need some extra help. All of their CNAs have been helpful, willing to go above and beyond for our residents and we always have great responses from our own CNAs and supervisory staff. I am so thankful to Michelle and Wilda who will always staff a shift that I need, even if I call 30 minutes before the shift starts. You’ve been such a huge help!”

Kaytee S.

“I have known John and Kristine Lajeunesse for almost 20 years and when my dad needed care following a diagnosis of dementia, I knew there wouldn’t be anyone better to call than them. The caregivers that have worked with my dad have been wonderful. They are true saints to my family, allowing us the knowledge that Dad is okay to stay at home. They have navigated all of the changes in his cognitive state with grace and kept my father’s dignity in place. He was always a very active man and the caregivers have managed to keep him active, even as his health declines.”

Belinda F.

“Always Best Care helped me to get care lined up for my uncle, after I received their information from a close friend of mine that also used their agency. My uncle was a very proud man and did not want help from anyone, including family. Taylor met with me and spent time getting to know the ins and outs of my uncle’s care as well as his personality. She asked about his background so that they could look for a caregiver with similar interests. Although he took a turn for the worse rather quickly, the short time care was provided was wonderful. Thank you for your help and compassion.”

Karel O.

“My dad’s caregiver is great. He is a man of few words, but she is able to get him talking about all aspects and experiences of his life. They go out regularly and she encourages my dad to participate in the activities put on by the community he lives in. They run errands, go out for meals, or go for a drive just to get a change of scenery. I was nervous at first about how my dad would take having a caregiver come in to help him, but he seems so happy and has great things to talk about after his time spent with his caregiver.”

Martin F.

“Thank you, Kristine - I am very appreciative of the professional manner with which you and your organization operates. From the initial phone and in-person conversations with Taylor, to the ongoing support of my mother's care - it's been thorough, timely and well managed. I am also struck by how the home-health employees conduct themselves. They are reliable/responsive *and* responsible, and making every effort to work through the challenges day to day with my mother. Thanks for the great job you and your organization are doing. It means a lot to me, especially during this trying time! Best Regards”

Anna T.

“I wanted to take a moment to thank you and your staff for all of your hard work and dedication to their clients. When my parents finally realized they needed help in their home, I chose ABC as the company I felt would be the best fit. Yes, we have had some ups and down, but when you paired Leah with my parents, it was truly a blessing. My parents love her. She genuinely cares for them and they speak highly of her work ethic. As my mom says, “she is too good to be true”. I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your working with me to find the right fit. Well on our end, Leah fits like a glove and I hope she feels the same. She is a special person so I wanted to acknowledge her hard work and dedication to my parents. It makes me feel more at ease knowing there is someone coming to the home to properly care for them. Again I want to thank you all and encourage you to keep up the good work.”

Craig F.

“My family provides the care to my mother 24/7, we called Always Best Care to provide respite care to my mom while we took some time to ourselves for a weekend. Mom’s caregiver, Gloria, was great and she had the perfect disposition to work with my mom. She was attentive and kept mom well fed and engaged during the time we were away. We would definitely call Always Best Care again when we need some time away.”


“The caregiver that helped my husband and I were so kind to us both, especially to my husband while I spent some time in the hospital and rehab. Our caregiver brought my husband to see me every day while I was at the hospital and at rehab, I knew he was in excellent hands and I could focus on getting stronger again.”

Heather R.

“i really like my caregiver, Victor very much. Victor is a very patient and observant aide who knows when I need his help. I knew from the first day meeting him that we would get along very well.”

Johnson L.

““I want to give a huge thank you for the care that Always Best Care provided over the last year and a half. They started out assisting just my dad since he was wheelchair bound and then began providing care to my mom as well who had advanced dementia. The two ladies that helped them both did an amazing job and gave me the confidence that they were being well cared for since I live on the other side of the country. Up to my dad’s passing, his caregivers were there for him to provide comfort and companionship while managing my mom’s emotions as well during the difficult time my dad had. Being a nurse myself and in the healthcare field for a while, I had high expectations which were exceeded by the caregivers and office staff of Always Best Care.”

harry B.

“Both of Mom’s caregivers are exceptional. They are always professional, calm and extremely patient with my mom. They know how to keep her calm and to manage her anxiety. My whole family is very grateful, knowing that Mom is getting really competent care, great meals and friendly companionship. Thank you.”

Kathleen F.

“My husband had care from Always Best Care until he passed away. Thankfully he is on his "next journey" and finally pain free, while he was here with us, his caregiver, Craig, did an amazing job caring for him and was here to help us from our first day of services. Craig always managed to get my husband to share stories from his time in the war that even I had not heard before. It was a great way to get to know more of my husband so his memory can continue with others around him.”

Beth F.

“I am very pleased with the care that Craig gave to my husband. My husband enjoyed having another man to talk to instead of conversation only between him and I. Craig managed to keep him occupied and safe so that I could go and get some time to myself, allowing me peace of mind that my husband was in great hands”

Sonia T.

“I hired Always Best Care to help my mom who was living with me at home. She was diagnosed with dementia and within 3 months she could hardly do much for herself anymore. I was able to continue working full time while my mom received care from Always Best Care. We had the same caregiver from day 1 and she was absolutely amazing. She kept everyone in the loop with any changes my mom experienced and the regular in person and phone check ins were a great added support to myself and my family. Thank you ABC for all the help and compassion that you showed my mom until her passing.”


“They are very caring and easy to deal with. They work with the family and the patient to see that the patient has what is needed for their care. In all we had a good experience with Best Care.”

Elaine G.

“Our caregiver is the absolute best, you all got lucky finding her.”

Bob G.

“Anything from Always Best Care is good to have. The care from them has given me my life back. I wasn’t expecting a perfect match on the first caregiver, but Always Best Care did a very good job.”

Claudia B.

“We have been using the services of ABC for almost three years, and I have worked personally with John, Kristine, Taylor, Michelle and Wilda, as well as the many wonderful caregivers who have attended to my mother’s needs with great care and attention. Throughout this time, my mother’s care needs have changed many times, and they have always been very responsive to any requests, including the directives of the hospice nurses that work in concert with all of them. Taylor and Michelle are incredibly diligent about keeping on top of issues that arise day-to-day, and running their questions and concerns by me. I remain a loyal customer to ABC because I feel that my mother is getting really great care, and will continue to see the warm, friendly faces she has come to know and trust today and every day. At 94 yrs old, my mother is quite dependent on the care providers for almost all her needs, and they always show up and make her feel safe and secure.”

Rachel C.

“It has been a true pleasure working with you and your organization. You all demonstrate empathy and compassion in caring for frail elderly family members and insure distant families are comforted knowing you are there.”

Steve S.

“Mom’s caregiver is a part of the family, we absolutely love her!”

Joe L.

“Always Best Care has done a fantastic job in providing us with at-home care for my step-mother while we prepared for her transition to move permanently to a skilled nursing facility. With their help, she was able to spend a full six months at home before moving. We would not have been able to do it without them. All the caregivers we have met and used have been kind and attentive, frequently going the extra mile, whatever that may be on any given day. The office staff is friendly, empathetic and very diligent in keeping all parties informed of all aspects of day-to-day care. They are knowledgeable, respectful and efficient. I would not hesitate in recommending them to anyone who is looking for help in keeping their loved one at home for as long as possible.”

Sarah C.
 In-Home Care Middlefield, CT

How does In-home Senior Care in Middlefield, CT work?

Home is where the heart is. While that saying can sound a tad cliche, it's especially true for many seniors living in America. When given a choice, older adults most often prefer to grow older at home. An AARP study found that three out of four adults over the age of 50 want to stay in their homes and communities as they age. When you begin to think about why, it makes sense. Home offers a sense of security, comfort, and familiarity.

The truth is, as we age, we begin to rely on others for help. When a family is too busy or lives too far away to fulfill this role, in-home senior care is often the best solution. Home care services allow seniors to enjoy personal independence while also receiving trustworthy assistance from a trained caregiver.

At Always Best Care, we offer a comprehensive range of home care services to help seniors stay healthy while they get the help they need to remain independent. As your senior loved one ages, giving them the gift of senior care is one of the best ways to show your love, even if you live far away.

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 Senior Care Middlefield, CT

Aging in Place: The Preferred Choice for Most Seniors

While it's true that some seniors have complicated medical needs that prevent them from staying at home, aging in place is often the best arrangement for seniors and their families. With a trusted caregiver, seniors have the opportunity to live with a sense of dignity and do so as they see fit.

In-home care makes it possible for millions of seniors to age in place every year. Rather than moving to a unfamiliar assisted living community, seniors have the chance to stay at home where they feel the happiest and most comfortable.

Here are just a few of the reasons why older men and women prefer to age at home:


How much does a senior's home truly mean to them? A study published by the American Society on Aging found that more than half of seniors say their home's emotional value means more than how much their home is worth in monetary value. It stands to reason, that a senior's home is where they want to grow old. With the help of elderly care in Middlefield, CT, seniors don't have to age in a sterilized care facility. Instead, they can age gracefully in the place they want to be most: their home. In contrast, seniors who move to a long-term care facility must adapt to new environments, new people, and new systems that the facility implements. At this stage in life, this kind of drastic change can be more harmful than helpful.

Healthy Living
Healthy Living

Institutional care facilities like nursing homes often put large groups of people together to live in one location. On any given day, dozens of staff members and caregivers run in and out of these facilities. Being around so many new people in a relatively small living environment can be dangerous for a seniors' health and wellbeing. When you consider that thousands of seniors passed away in nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, opting for in-home care is often a safer, healthier choice for seniors. Aging in place has been shown to improve seniors' quality of life, which helps boost physical health and also helps insulate them from viral and bacterial risks found in elderly living facilities.


For many seniors, the ability to live independently with assistance from a caregiver is a priceless option. With in-home care, seniors experience a higher level of independence and freedom - much more so than in other settings like an assisted living community. When a senior has the chance to age in place, they get to live life on their own terms, inside the house that they helped make into a home. More independence means more control over their personal lives, too, which leads to increased levels of fulfillment, happiness, and personal gratification. Over time, these positive feelings can manifest into a healthier, longer life.

Cost and Convenience
Cost and Convenience

More independence, a healthier life, and increased comfort are only a few benefits of aging in place. You have to take into consideration the role of cost and convenience. Simply put, it's usually easier to help seniors age in place than it is to move them into an institutional care facility. In-home care services from Always Best Care, for instance, can be less expensive than long-term solutions, which can cost upwards of six figures per year. To make matters worse, many residential care facilities are reluctant to accept long-term care insurance and other types of payment assistance.

With Always Best Care's home care services, seniors and their families have a greater level of control over their care plans. In-home care in Middlefield, CT gives seniors the chance to form a bond with a trusted caregiver and also receive unmatched care that is catered to their needs. In long-term care facilities, seniors and their loved ones have much less control over their care plan and have less of a say in who provides their care.

Empowers Seniors

Affordable Care Plans

In-home care is a valuable resource that empowers seniors to age in place on their own terms. However, a big concern for many families and their loved ones is how much in-home care costs. If you're worried that in-home care is too expensive, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that it is one of the most affordable senior care arrangements available.

Typically, hiring an Always Best Care in-home caregiver for a few hours a week is more affordable than sending your loved one to a long-term care facility. This is true even for seniors with more complex care needs.

At Always Best Care, we will work closely with you and your family to develop a Care Plan that not only meets your care needs, but your budget requirements, too. Once we discover the level of care that you or your senior need, we develop an in-home care plan that you can afford.

In addition to our flexible care options, families should also consider the following resources to help offset potential home care costs:

Veteran's Benefits
Veteran's Benefits

Aid and Attendance benefits through military service can cover a portion of the costs associated with in-home care for veterans and their spouses.

Long-Term Care Insurance
Long-Term Care Insurance

Many senior care services like in-home care are included in long-term care insurance options. Research different long-term care solutions to find a plan that provides coverage for senior care.

Private Insurance
Private Insurance

Home care can be included as part of a senior's private insurance plan. Read over your loved one's insurance policy carefully or speak with their insurance provider to determine if in-home care is covered.

Life Insurance
Life Insurance

Depending on the life insurance plan, you may be able to apply your policy toward long-term care. You may be able to use long-term-care coverage to help pay for in-home elderly care.

Respite Care Middlefield, CT

During your Care Plan consultation with Always Best Care, your Care Coordinator will speak with you about in-home care costs and what options there may be to help meet your budget needs.

Compassionate Care. Trusted Caregivers

When you or your senior loved one needs assistance managing daily tasks at home, finding a qualified caregiver can be challenging. It takes a special kind of person to provide reliable care for your senior loved one. However, a caregiver's role involves more than meal preparation and medication reminders. Many seniors rely on their caregivers for companionship, too.

Our companion care services give seniors the chance to socialize in a safe environment and engage in activities at home. These important efforts boost morale and provide much-needed relief from repetitive daily routines. A one-on-one, engaging conversation can sharpen seniors' minds and give them something in which to be excited.

At Always Best Care, we only hire care providers that we would trust to care for our own loved ones. Our senior caregivers in Middlefield,CT understand how important it is to listen and communicate with their seniors. A seemingly small interaction, like a short hug goodbye, can make a major difference in a senior's day. Instead of battling against feelings of isolation, seniors begin to look forward to seeing their caregiver each week.

Understanding the nuances of senior care is just one of the reasons why our care providers are so great at their job.

Unlike some senior care companies, our caregivers must undergo extensive training before they work for Always Best Care. In addition, our caregivers receive ongoing training throughout the year. This training ensures that their standard of care matches up to the high standards we've come to expect. During this training, they will brush up on their communication skills, safety awareness, and symptom spotting. That way, your loved one receives the highest level of non-medical home care from day one.

 Caregivers Middlefield, CT

Taking the First Step with Always Best Care

The first step in getting quality in-home care starts with a personal consultation with an experienced Care Coordinator. This initial consultation is crucial for our team to learn more about you or your elderly loved one to discover the level of care required. Topics of this consultation typically include:

An assessment of your senior loved one


An in-depth discussion of the needs of your senior loved one to remain in their own home


Reviewing a detailed Care Plan that will meet your senior loved one's needs


Our caregivers are trained to spot changes that clients exhibit, like mental and physical decline. As your trusted senior care company, we will constantly assess and update your Care Plan to meet any new emotional, intellectual, physical, and emotional needs.

If you have never considered in-home care before, we understand that you and your family may have concerns about your Care Plan and its Care Coordinator. To help give you peace of mind, know that every team member and caregiver must undergo comprehensive training before being assigned to a Care Plan.

When you're ready, we encourage you to contact your local Always Best Care representative to set up a Care Consultation. Our Care Coordinators would be happy to meet with you in person to get to know you better, discuss your needs, and help put together a personalized Care Plan specific to your needs.

Latest News in Middlefield, CT

Middletown couple buy old Middlefield biker bar for fifth Italian restaurant

MIDDLETOWN — A Middletown couple will open their fifth area restaurant next year as they renovate and expand the now-closed Red Dog Saloon, a Middlefield biker bar, and turn it into a much larger, family-style Italian restaurant.Fico and Zumra Cecunjanin, who will be operating Red Fox Amore, have ancestors from Montenegro (formerly Yugoslavia). Fico Cecunjanin was born there ...

MIDDLETOWN — A Middletown couple will open their fifth area restaurant next year as they renovate and expand the now-closed Red Dog Saloon, a Middlefield biker bar, and turn it into a much larger, family-style Italian restaurant.

Fico and Zumra Cecunjanin, who will be operating Red Fox Amore, have ancestors from Montenegro (formerly Yugoslavia). Fico Cecunjanin was born there and came to the United States in 2001 at 14. His wife was born in Brooklyn, N.Y.

The two met while working in the same restaurant in the early 2000s.

The couple later opened their first restaurant, Red Fox Restaurant and Bar, at 218 Smith St. in Middletown in 2015, which started with 40 seats. It has grown exponentially since then to a capacity of 600.

A year later, they opened Rustic Pizza in Middletown, and in 2019, they launched Fox on the Green at the Portland West golf course. In October 2022, the couple opened Red Fox Prime Steak House in Glastonbury.

The Cecunjanins appear to have a golden touch: All four of their restaurants remain in operation.

The Red Dog Saloon closed down in 2018 at its 222 Meriden Road location in Middlefield, close to the Middletown line. Fico Cecunjanin’s family was in the restaurant business. One bought the Red Dog property, and then quickly turned around and sold it to him.

“I’ve been after that place for a good three years,” he said.

The couple has big plans big changes to the Red Dog. “It needs to be completely remodeled,” Fico Cecunjanin said, and they're building a new addition for a dining room. The construction will take six to 12 months at a cost of about $700,000, he said.

The new eatery will be much larger, at 5,000 square feet, compared to the 2,000-square-foot biker bar. An open kitchen will allow customers to see the action as food is prepared.

Fico Cecunjanin will serve as executive chef, and the focus of the restaurant will be on homestyle, rustic Italian cuisine, he said. “Every single entree will be able to be ordered as an individual meal or as family style for five people. No other restaurant around here does that. For $55, you can feed five people.”

Middlefield First Selectman Bob Yamartino said the new restaurant is an exciting development. “The town of Middlefield is very excited to welcome a business like that to town,” he said. “We’re looking forward to that, and we’re looking forward to help make them successful.

"With four successful restaurants, they are very competent business people," he added.

Fico Cecunjanin gives his wife credit for making successful the string of restaurants, which employ more than 120 people. “She’s my right hand at all our locations,” he said. “She does the front of the house, and I do the back of the house.”

Zumra Cecunjanin said the same thing that makes their marriage successful also makes their businesses successful. “Our communication is very good. That’s our key to success. It’s knowing each other and being on the same page. It’s a team effort.”

Both said they expect people to be interested in seeing the major changes underway at the location. “They definitely won’t be able to recognize it,” Fico Cecunjanin said.

“I think people will come check it out to see how things changed,” Zumra Cecunjanin said.

Award-Winning Ice Cream Shop Opens In Middlefield

Rich Farm is now serving up its famous slow-churned, small-batch ice? cream daily in Middlefield, just in time for summer's dog days.Posted Fri, Jul 7, 2023 at 1:52 pm ET|MIDDLEFIELD, CT — A well-loved and award-winning Connecticut ice cream franchise has opened a new site in Middlefield, just in time for summer's dog days.Following a soft launch over the July 4 holiday, Rich Farm is now serving up its famous slow-churned, small-batch ice cream daily at 1 Lorraine Terrace from noon to 9 p.m. through Dec. 22....

Rich Farm is now serving up its famous slow-churned, small-batch ice? cream daily in Middlefield, just in time for summer's dog days.

Posted Fri, Jul 7, 2023 at 1:52 pm ET|

MIDDLEFIELD, CT — A well-loved and award-winning Connecticut ice cream franchise has opened a new site in Middlefield, just in time for summer's dog days.

Following a soft launch over the July 4 holiday, Rich Farm is now serving up its famous slow-churned, small-batch ice cream daily at 1 Lorraine Terrace from noon to 9 p.m. through Dec. 22.

Connecticut Magazine named Rich Farm's flagship Oxford site "The Best Ice Cream" in the state for 2023, and not for the first time.

Rich Farm was also recently designated Connecticut's top scoop salon by another elite cohort of highly-regarded gourmands: Patch readers. In an informal and wildly unscientific survey conducted last August, you named it your state favorite by more than a 2-to-1 margin over every competitor.

"I mean, we just make the absolute best ice cream we can," Dan Rich, the shop's owner/operator, told Patch back when we tipped him to the results of the poll. "We don't skimp on any ingredient. We use the best possible ones we could find. It's all homemade, every day, right here in the shop. We make it in small batches. It's slow churn."

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The Rich family moved their cows to Oxford from Seymour in 1950, and opened up the ice cream shop on the property in 1994. The bovine mystique is maintained at the Middlefield location, where cows graze near the picnic tables outside.

All of Rich Farm's ice cream is made daily. The menu shifts slightly throughout the year, with specialty flavors such as Irish Cream (March), peppermint stick (December) and others making seasonal appearances.

Rich Farm has three other ice cream stand locations in Bristol and Brookfield, as well as a site in Placentia, CA.

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Middlefield High School Student Pens Book On Local Government

High school senior Diya Patel is a believer in the power of local government and wants to see the subject explored more in classes.MIDDLEFIELD, CT — When Coginchaug Regional High School senior Diya Patel noticed a lack of local government content in her social studies classes, she made a surprising decision: She wrote a book to fill in the gap.Patel's book "America Starts Local: A Student Guide on Government and Politics" was released in August. She'll be discussing the book at the Levi Coe Library in Middlefi...

High school senior Diya Patel is a believer in the power of local government and wants to see the subject explored more in classes.

MIDDLEFIELD, CT — When Coginchaug Regional High School senior Diya Patel noticed a lack of local government content in her social studies classes, she made a surprising decision: She wrote a book to fill in the gap.

Patel's book "America Starts Local: A Student Guide on Government and Politics" was released in August. She'll be discussing the book at the Levi Coe Library in Middlefield on Oct. 19 at 5:30 p.m.

Patel said she's been working on the book for three or four years. While American government courses often focus on the national government, she said that state and local governments don't receive as much attention.

She said that's unfortunate because state and local governments often play a larger role in people's lives than the national government. Learning about how local government works can help students become good citizens, according to Patel.

Patel interned at Durham Town Hall where she "got to see (local government) up close and personal." There she interviewed local officials about their roles, which she used in her book.

Find out what's happening in Durham-Middlefieldwith free, real-time updates from Patch.

She noted that the local government often facilitates interactions between citizens and the national government. If citizens have a problem, it's up to the state and local governments to facilitate these conversations, she said.

Patel said she intends for the book to be used in social studies classrooms. One of her teachers was very receptive when she told them about the book and wanted to use it in an American Citizenship class.

Patel plans on reaching out to educational administrators in Connecticut and beyond to find a wider audience. She said it's more important that the ideas—the importance of local government and citizenship—are recognized than the book itself.

She also started a podcast, Breaking Bounds, in 2021 at a time when she said the news had become "heartbreaking and toxic." She said that the goal of the podcast is to facilitate conversations between people on both sides of the political aisle while covering news in an unbiased way.

Juggling a podcast, a recently published book, and applying to colleges might sound like a lot, but Patel says she's "not someone who can sit still for very long."

"I love what I do, so it doesn't feel like a job," she said. "It's a fun process for me."

"America Starts Local: A Student Guide on Government and Politics" is available for purchase on Amazon.

Her podcast Breaking Bounds can be found here.

More information on the event at the Levi Coe Library is available here.

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Region 13 School Board Considers Shuffling Grade Levels

DURHAM/MIDDLEFIELD — In an effort to address concerns of inequity among elementary students, the Board of Education is debating swapping school placements for the district’s elementary students.The current proposal, which will be voted on at a Board of Education meeting on Wednesday, would temporarily place all pre-K and kindergartners at Brewster Elementary School, second- and third-graders at Lyman Elementary, and fourth- and fifth-graders at Memorial Elementary. It also comes ahead of a larger facilities project that co...

DURHAM/MIDDLEFIELD — In an effort to address concerns of inequity among elementary students, the Board of Education is debating swapping school placements for the district’s elementary students.

The current proposal, which will be voted on at a Board of Education meeting on Wednesday, would temporarily place all pre-K and kindergartners at Brewster Elementary School, second- and third-graders at Lyman Elementary, and fourth- and fifth-graders at Memorial Elementary. It also comes ahead of a larger facilities project that could ultimately close two of the district’s three elementary schools.

In July, the board voted unanimously to eliminate school choice for kindergartners beginning next school year.

Parents currently have the option to place their prek-K children in either Lyman or Brewster, but have complained that students in different schools aren’t always getting the same learning experiences. The most recent complaint involved a field trip that Lyman students took to the Roger Williams Zoo, while Memorial students did not.

Board member Robert Moore noted that concerns about unequal experiences at the schools date back to 2019, when the decision was made to expand the specialized programs at Lyman Elementary School to the rest of the district. Lyman, which was originally designated a Higher Order Thinking school and followed an Integrated Day philosophy — focused on small groups, hands-on learning and arts instruction — was supposed to close, but a failed referendum prevented the district from going through with the closure.

Some families continue to argue that the district’s other elementary schools never fully adopted the philosophy at Lyman, leading to a difference in children’s educational experiences.

“It always seemed, from a perspective from some of the parents, that the programs were still acting independently of each other,” Board Chair Lindsay Dahlhemier told CT Examiner on Monday. “It’s not so much an inequity of programming, but what some parents have thought may be an inequity of experiences, which can complement curriculum. But it was important for us to listen to that.”

Dahlheimer said at a July 5 meeting that the solution was to have all students in a grade attend the same school.

“Until these kids are starting together and finishing together, my opinion is that it won’t get much better. I think we’re always going to be battling equitability between programs or curriculum or field trips or celebrations or music festivals,” she said.

Board member Maura Caramanello also said she felt all students in a school district as small as Region 13 should be having the same experiences.

But parents have expressed concerns about the potential change in grade configuration.

Jennifer Simmons, a parent of a kindergartner at Lyman Elementary, said if the change went into effect, her son would be moved every year for the next three years — from Lyman to Brewster as a first-grader, back to Lyman for second grade, and then to Memorial for third grade.

“We’re going through the evaluation process right now for special education,” Simmons told CT Examiner. “It is deeply concerning to me that my child will have to undergo all these additional transitions, and how that may impact him as he figures out how to be a learner with exceptionalities.”

Board member Lucy Petrella said she felt the benefits outweighed the costs.

“It’s a lot of transitions, we know that. This isn’t the way we wanted, but … let’s talk about what it provides. It provides that equitableness, equality in the children’s experiences and their education,” she said.

During an Aug. 29 board meeting, Superintendent Doug Schuch suggested a “phased-in” approach that would leave current Lyman kindergartners at the school next year without moving them to Brewster. He told CT Examiner he wasn’t sure how the board would feel about the plan.

“Honestly, from a staff perspective and a planning perspective, the cleanest thing to do is just to implement it at one time,” Schuch said.

Dahlheimer told CT Examiner that the board had not yet discussed the phased-in plan, but that they would consider it if the administration believed it was important.

Schuch said he’s received emails and spoken to parents who were upset about the changes.

“I think they have valid concerns and I think they need to be heard,” he said. “And … ultimately, if that will impact the decision or even the timing of the decision.”

If the district decided to adopt the new grade configurations for next year, he added, it needed to combine it with a long-term plan going forward.

“Otherwise, people could say, how do we know 10 years from now [that] this is not what we’re going to be doing?” Schuch said. “And it’s hard for anyone to guarantee the long-term option because that requires the voters to support these bond referendums. So I do think [for] the district, the board, myself, all of us — it’s a really big challenge.”

A long-term plan

After a referendum to close Lyman Elementary failed in November 2021, the board was forced to look for new ways to address the aging school facilities.

Schuch told CT Examiner that, in the spring, the board discussed transforming Memorial Elementary into a single K-5 school for the district. But he said the price — an estimated $73 million — was much higher than the board anticipated, and they decided to rethink the plan.

At the July 5 board meeting, Kim Neubig, the district’s finance director, noted that the cost of renovating Memorial was high, but the district would save about $13 million on estimated capital improvements for Brewster and Lyman.

The board decided to request estimates from other firms. During an Aug. 9 meeting, Rusty Malik, principal of the QA+M architectural firm, presented 14 possible options for the board to consider – ranging from keeping all five district schools open to closing two of the elementary schools. It also included options for transforming Coginchaug High School into a 7-12 or 8-12 grade school.

Board members ultimately chose not to consider options that would change the middle or high school. Instead, they asked QA+M to take a deeper look at several plans: One that would close Lyman and transform Brewster into a pre-K-2 school, and two that would close both Lyman and Brewster and transform Memorial into a K-5 school. The district could either renovate the current Memorial building or build an entirely new school on Memorial’s campus.

The board also asked QA+M to look at moving pre-K to the high school, where declining enrollment has resulted in unused space. Dahlheimer said this could provide career training for high schoolers who might want to work with young students, and offer space for additional classrooms if the district decided to implement universal pre-K.

Schuch told CT Examiner that the voters would eventually need to approve new construction or bonding for a new school. By asking the architects to show them different scenarios, he hoped community members would see that keeping five schools open wasn’t the best choice.

“I think the point that all of us are trying to make is … if we don’t do anything, this just gets more expensive over the years, to maintain five buildings and dilute the staff — and, even educationally, it’s not necessarily in their best interest,” Schuch said.

Dahlheimer told CT Examiner she felt the board was leaning in the direction of having a single K-5 school.

“I think when it comes down to it, it’s putting K through five in one building. That these kids, no matter what, are starting at the beginning of their educational careers, and they’re ending together. They’re moving together. There’s no question of what kids are getting versus what they’re not,” she said.

The board also decided to evaluate what they called “option 11,” which would maintain all five schools but with the new grade configurations proposed for next year, and develop a plan to make necessary building upgrades and repairs. But Dahlheimer said she didn’t anticipate this being a long-term solution.

The board is expected to vote on the grade configurations at its meeting on Wednesday.

Emilia Otte covers health and education for the Connecticut Examiner. In 2022 Otte was awarded "Rookie of the Year," by the New England Newspaper & Press Association.

[email protected]

Fireworks Near Me: Durham-Middlefield July 4th Events 2023

DURHAM-MIDDLEFIELD, CT — Independence Day is quickly approaching, which means it's time to fire up that barbecue and find out what Fourth of July fireworks and festivities are going on in and around Durham-Middlefield for 2023.We gathered up all the fireworks shows, parades and festivals happening in and around Durham-Middlefield so you can start planning now.Here's what's in store this July 4 in and around Durham-Middlefield:City of Middletown Fireworks FestivalWhat: Live m...

DURHAM-MIDDLEFIELD, CT — Independence Day is quickly approaching, which means it's time to fire up that barbecue and find out what Fourth of July fireworks and festivities are going on in and around Durham-Middlefield for 2023.

We gathered up all the fireworks shows, parades and festivals happening in and around Durham-Middlefield so you can start planning now.

Here's what's in store this July 4 in and around Durham-Middlefield:

City of Middletown Fireworks Festival

What: Live music, food trucks

Where: DeKoven Drive and Harbor Park

When: Saturday, July 1. Festivities start at 5 p.m.; fireworks at 9:30 p.m. Rain date July 2.

More information: Go to the City of Middletown's website.

Norwich Harbor Fireworks

What: The 2023 Norwich Harbor Fireworks will cap off Rose Arts Weekend with a night of celebrating our country’s independence.

Where: Howard T. Brown Park, 100 Chelsea Harbor Drive, Norwich

When: Sunday, July 2, from 5 to 10 p.m.

More information: Go to Norwich Harbor Fireworks' Facebook page.

Groton Fourth of July Parade

What: This hometown event to celebrate America's independence brings together dozens of local businesses, civic, youth sports and other organizations for an old-fashioned parade with fire engines, marching bands and antique cars.

Where: Poquonnock Plains Park in Groton

When: Tuesday, July 4, at 10 a.m.

More information: Go to the Town of Groton's website.

Independence Day at Mystic Seaport Museum

What: Reenactors from several Connecticut and British Regiments will take over our quaint seaport town at Mystic Seaport Museum for a day. The museum invites you to witness what it was like to be a member of a Continental Regiment or British Regiment during these tumultuous times in American history.

Where: Village Green

When: Saturday, July 1, parade kicks off at noon

More information: Go to Mystic Seaport Museum's website.

Celebrate East Lyme 2023

What: Niantic’s Main Street will transform for this celebration by the sea, filled with food, fun, and activities. More than 200 vendors, live music, and a Dominion fireworks display over Niantic Bay.

Where: Main Street in Niantic

When: Saturday, July 15

More information: Go to Celebrate East Lyme's Facebook page.

Clinton Summerfest and Fireworks

What: Food, fun, beer garden, music, and fireworks.

Where: Andrews Memorial Town Hall and Clinton Town Beach

When: Saturday, Aug. 26, starting at 4 p.m., fireworks at 9 p.m.

More information: Go to Clinton Summerfest and Fireworks' Facebook page.

Sailfest New London

What: Sailfest is Southeastern Connecticut’s premiere summertime event, complete with a major fireworks display, amusement rides, free entertainment, ships, and over 200 vendors lining the streets.

When: Saturday, July 8, and Sunday, July 9

Where: Downtown New London

More information: Go to Sailfest New London's website.


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