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Taking care of your Loved One Is What We Do BEST!

It's no secret, most of us would like to stay in our own home as we age. Yet, sometimes our loved ones just need a little extra help to remain comfortable at home. That's where Always Best Care can help....we are dedicated to exceeding expectations....always

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Home Care In Gilford, CT

Home Care Gilford, CT

They say that your golden years are the best years of your life. For most older Americans, that's how it should be - a time to relax, reflect, and live life in a familiar place. After all, senior citizens in the U.S. have worked tirelessly to build a better economy, serve their communities, and raise families.

However, as seniors grow older, completing daily tasks like showering and enjoying activities such as visiting the historic Gilford Commemorating A Revolutionary War Battle NH Historical Highway Marker gets harder without someone by their side. Unfortunately, many older Americans aren't able to rely on their adult children for help. The reality in today's world is that family members do not have the skills or time to dedicate to caring for their parents. That's where Always Best Care Senior Services comes in.

Our in-home care services are for people who prefer to stay at home as they grow older but need ongoing care that family or friends cannot provide. More and more older adults prefer to live far away from long-term, institutionalized facilities and closer to the place where they feel most comfortable - their home. Home care in Gilford, CT is a safe, effective way to give your loved ones the care they need when they need it the most.

 In-Home Care Gilford, CT

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The Always Best Care Difference

Since 1996, Always Best Care has provided non-medical in-home care for seniors to help them maintain a healthy lifestyle as they get older. We are proud to have helped more than 25,000 seniors maintain higher levels of dignity and respect. We focus on providing seniors with the highest level of in-home care available so that they may live happily and independently.

Unlike some senior care companies, we genuinely want to be included in our clients' lives. We believe that personalized care is always the better option over a "one size fits all" approach. To make sure our senior clients receive the best care possible, we pair them with compassionate caregivers who understand their unique needs. That way, they may provide care accordingly without compromising their wellbeing.

The Always Best Care difference lies in life's little moments - where compassionate care and trustworthy experience come together to help seniors live a fruitful, healthy life. Whether you are an aging adult that can't quite keep up with life's daily tasks or the child of a senior who needs regular in-home services, Always Best Care is here to help.

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TESTIMONIALS

“We are 3 weeks into working with this agency for homecare for my dad. There were a few bumps in the road, but we have hit the jackpot with two of our caregivers. Melissa Pericas and Jordene have been amazing! My mother has been struggling with having strangers in her home and letting someone else take care of her husband, but these two lovely women have melded into the family and put her completely at ease. They are both very experienced and are doing and amazing job. My mom is able to put the caregiving into their capable hands and focus on being his wife and spend valuable time with him. These ladies both deserve 5 stars!! I rated the agency with 4 stars because we had some scheduling issues in the beginning and had one caregiver that was problematic, but he was removed from our schedule as soon as I reported the issue.”

Sherry D.
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“Our caregiver Anne Sumner is more than a passionate, compassionate, caring, dependable and dedicated professional. She quickly became a family member and friend.”

t M.
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“Cynthia Montano is the amazing from Always Best Care. Cynthia has helped my parents and us with this transition process. She has been wonderful explaining everything. If we had questions or just needed to talk about what is going on with the parents she was there to help. She goes above and beyond. She has help us tremendously. I feel blessed for having Cynthia during this time. Our family would like to say thank you for everything. We couldn't have done it without her.”

Deborah M.
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TESTIMONIALS

“I just want to thank ABC agency for allowing us our angel giver which is what we call her. Shay is a life saver without her I'll be running like a chicken with my head cut off. She has stepped in and saved the day numerous times between changing her schedule to work with ours, to even making sure Steve visits his wife grave. We appreciate her please don't take her from us steve would be devastated. She's amazing”

Stephanie B.
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TESTIMONIALS

“They are very hospitable and provide a wide range of job and in various locations. They communicate these job very well and make access to these opportunities easy. I definately like working for them.”

Jardene R.
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“My experience with ABC has been great. My current caregiver Tashaya S. Is helpful and quick”

Virginia C.
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“I enjoy my job , I love the flexible hours :)”

Zhane C.
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“The caregivers talk with me. I like that the caregivers clean for me.”

Walter S.
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TESTIMONIALS

“ABC has been very supportive in providing excellent caregivers to take care of my 96 year old father. It’s been a very good experience working with them over the past few months. Responsive and flexible in covering last minute requests. We are also blessed to have Ginny as our full time day caregiver and Mike for overnight. Both are very passionate about the care they give and do a terrific job. We have no worries when they are with dad. They care for him as if he was their own and it means a great deal to my family. They go above and beyond our expectations. We are more than grateful for their assistance.”

Donna M.
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TESTIMONIALS

“My uncle needed support-fast! Cynthia’s assistance helped him weigh his options and make the transition from home to assisted living in surprisingly quick fashion. In addition, she suggested vendors and agencies to help support and manage the distribution of his belongings. We are forever grateful.”

Deborah S.
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TESTIMONIALS

“Nothing in particular. Generally, I get people who are good people, most of the people they send are okay and I have had 2 or 3 people who were bad. I have someone now who is good and I have had some people who were not good from the agency. Some of them need to be more thorough.”

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TESTIMONIALS

“Great company to work with, flexible and reasonable. Always involved and available as well as continued contact from beginning to end of service. The caregiver we had was amazing and devoted as well as super knowledgeable and driven to not only care but to rehabilitate . I would recommend them to anyone in need without hesitation.”

Kevin A.
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TESTIMONIALS

“ABC was a great care giving company to work with. If there were issues, they were corrected quickly by the office staff and the aides my mother had were kind and caring. Kudos to everyone!”

Rich R.
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TESTIMONIALS

“Great company to work with, flexible and reasonable. Always involved and available as well as continued contact from beginning to end of service. The caregiver we had was amazing and devoted as well as super knowledgeable and driven to not only care but to rehabilitate . I would recommend them to anyone in need without hesitation.”

KJA511
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TESTIMONIALS

“She talks with her while I go to appointment and if there is a problem. I would recommend because it provides companionship.”

Connie B.
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TESTIMONIALS

“They've boosted my husband's spirits and his wellbeing. We've had two people, and they're absolutely incredible.”

George G.
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TESTIMONIALS

“My Mom started requiring 24x7 care 2 years ago and her primary aid was attentive to her needs and treated her with dignity and respect. She would often call my Mom her "Queen". They always provided advanced notice whenever the aid needed time off and was responsive to questions and concerns. I don't know what we would have done if not for ABC and its services.”

KBPells
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TESTIMONIALS

“If my back is hurting, the aid will do everything I need. She takes me to every one of my appointments. I would recommend this agency because the people that have cared for me have all been great people, and they are willing to do everything for me.”

Andrew R.
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TESTIMONIALS

“The client feels comfortable with the provider. I like that they are attentive to the patient.”

Domenico B.
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TESTIMONIALS

“The first time you send an aid to someone, send a list of expected duties the aid is supposed to do. I like that they always offer a fill in care giver. They always make sure I have an aid when I am supposed to have one.”

Barry P.
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TESTIMONIALS

“My Mom started only requiring part time care due to her cancer but as it progressed, we needed around the clock care. The aides were always extremely helpful and kind to my Mom and when we needed care 24x7 our aide was Na who was here for my Mom day in and day out. In a six month period she had only taken two days off where we needed coverage which Always Best took care of for us. Na was just wonderful and my Mom loved her and everything she had done to comfort her. I also appreciated everything Na had done for my Mom and to have an aide as dedicated to my Mom was critical in my eyes. I would also like to thank their entire office they always worked with me and were always available whenever I needed anything. Thank you Always best Care, my Mom couldn't have been treated any better!!!”

kevinRK
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TESTIMONIALS

“I deal with Deanna, and I can ask her to do what I need without question. I like that they're prompt.”

Gilmay L.
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TESTIMONIALS

“Tommico, she makes my bed, she helps me with cleaning my floors cleans my bathroom, and she really does a nice job. They try hard to get caregivers and the right care to have someone here for me.”

Barbara K.

What is Non-Medical Senior Care in Gilford, CT?

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Home is where the heart is. While that saying can sound a tad cliche, it is 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.

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When you begin to think about why, it makes sense. Home offers a sense of security, comfort, and familiarity.

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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.

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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 gets older, giving them the gift of senior care is one of the best ways to show your love, even if you live far away.

 Senior Care Gilford, CT

Types of Elderly Care in Gilford, CT

To give our senior clients the best care possible, we offer a full spectrum of in-home care services:

Personal Care

Personal Care Services

If your senior loved one has specific care needs, our personal care services are a great choice to consider. Personal care includes the standard caregiving duties associated with companion care and includes help with tasks such as dressing and grooming. Personal care can also help individuals with chronic conditions like diabetes.

Common personal care services include assistance with:

  • Eating
  • Mobility Issues
  • Incontinence
  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Grooming

Respite Care Gilford, CT
Home Helper

Home Helper Services

Sometimes, seniors need helpful reminders to maintain a high quality of life at home. If you or your senior has trouble with everyday tasks like cooking, our home helper services will be very beneficial.

Common home helper care services include assistance with:

  • Medication Reminders
  • Meal Preparation
  • Pet Care
  • Prescription Refills
  • Morning Wake-Up
  • Walking
  • Reading
 Caregivers Gilford, CT
Companionship Services

Companionship Services

Using this kind of care is a fantastic way to make life easier for you or your senior loved one. At Always Best Care, our talented caregivers often fill the role of a companion for seniors. That way, older adults can enjoy their favorite local activities, such as visiting Lincoln Park with friends while also receiving the care they need daily or weekly.

Common companionship services include:

  • Grocery Shopping
  • Transportation to Appointments
  • Nutritional Assistance
  • Conversation
  • Planning Outings
  • Completing Errands
  • Transportation to Community
  • Events and Social Outings
Home Care Gilford, CT
Respite Care

Respite Care Services

According to AARP, more than 53 million adults living in the U.S. provide care to someone over 50 years old. Unfortunately, these caregivers experience stress, exhaustion, and even depression. Our respite care services help family caregivers address urgent obligations, spend time with their children, and enjoy nearby activities. Perhaps more importantly, respite care gives family members time to recharge and regroup. Taking personal time to de-stress reduces the risk of caregiver burnout. So, if you've always wanted to eat at the local Country Cook'n At The Lakeside or visit Thompson-Ames Historical Society, don't feel bad. Doing so is great for both you and your loved one.

At the end of the day, our goal is to become a valuable part of your senior's daily routine. That way, we may help give them the highest quality of life possible. We know that staying at home is important for your loved one, and we are here to help make sure that is possible.

If you have been on the fence about non-medical home care, there has never been a better time than now to give your senior the care, assistance, and companionship they deserve.

 In-Home Care Gilford, CT

Benefits of Home Care in Gilford, CT

Always Best Care in-home services are for older adults who prefer to stay at home but need ongoing care that friends and family cannot provide. In-home care is a safe, effective way for seniors to age gracefully in a familiar place and live independent, non-institutionalized lives. The benefits of non-medical home care are numerous. Here are just a few reasons to consider senior care services from Always Best Care:

Always Best Care offers a full array of care options for patients at all levels of health. With our trusted elderly care services, your loved one will receive the level of care necessary for them to enjoy the highest possible quality of life.

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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 - something that is unavailable to many older people today.

In-home care makes it possible for millions of seniors to age in place every year. Rather than moving to a strange nursing home, 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, then, that a senior's home is where they want to grow old.

With the help of elderly care in Gilford, 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.

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 a nursing home. 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.

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 and more affordable to help seniors age in place than it is to move them into an institutional care facility. According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, seniors who age in the comfort of their homes can save thousands of dollars per month.

In-home care services from Always Best Care, for instance, are often 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 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.

 Elderly Care Gilford, CT

Affordable Care

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:

If your loved one qualifies, Medicaid may help reduce in-home care costs. Review your CT's Medicaid program laws and benefits, and make sure your senior's financial and medical needs meet Medicaid eligibility requirements.
Attendance and aid benefits through military service can cover a portion of the costs associated with in-home care for veterans and their spouses.
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.
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.
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.
 Senior Care Gilford, CT

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 Gilford, 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.

Assisted Living Referral Services

While it's true that many seniors prefer to age at home, sometimes in-home care isn't the best fit. For those seniors and their families, choosing an assisted living facility makes more sense. Unfortunately, finding the optimal care facility is easier said than done in today's day and age. That's when Always Best Care's assisted living referral services begin to make a lot of sense.

Assisted living is a form of housing intended for seniors who require varying degrees of medical and personal attention. Accommodations may include single rooms, apartments, or shared living arrangements. Assisted living communities are typically designed to resemble a home-like environment and are physically constructed to encourage the independence of residents.


Respite Care Gilford, CT

At assisted living communities, seniors receive help with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, and eating. They may also benefit from coordination of services with outside healthcare providers, and monitoring of resident activities to ensure their health, safety, and well-being. Caregivers who work at assisted living communities can also provide medication administration and personal care services for older adults.

Other services offered within assisted living communities can include some or all of the following:

  • Housekeeping
  • Laundry
  • Recreational Activities
  • Social Outings
  • Emergency Medical Response
  • Medication Monitoring
  • Family Visitation
  • Personal Care
 Caregivers Gilford, CT

At Always Best Care, our representatives can match your senior's emotional, physical, and financial needs with viable assisted living communities nearby. Results are based on comparative data, so you can select the best choice for you or your loved one.

Always Best Care works closely with local senior living communities to gain valuable knowledge that we then use to help seniors and their loved ones make informed decisions. This information can include basic care and rent, resident availability, and services provided. Because Always Best Care is compensated by these communities, we provide senior living referral services at no extra cost to you.

Some of the most popular assisted living communities to consider in our area include the following:

  • Wesley Woods
  • Visiting Angels
  • Congregate Living
  • Taylor Community
  • Forestview Manor
  • Assisted Living Locators of New Hampshire
Home Care Gilford, CT

For many seniors, moving into a senior living community revolves around how and when they want to make a transition to more involved care. Some seniors are more proactive about transitioning to independent living. Others choose to remain home until their care needs or other requirements are satisfied. Remember - our staff is here to help. Contact our office today to learn more about assisted living communities and how we can find a facility that exceeds your expectations.

 In-Home Care Gilford, 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 Always Best Care 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:

A discussion of your needs and how our trained caregivers can offer assistance in the most effective way

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A draft of your care plan, which includes highly detailed notes and a framework for the care that you or your senior will receive

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Discuss payment options and help coordinate billing with your insurance provider

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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.

At the end of the day, we only hire the best of the best at Always Best Care. Whether you need home care in Gilford, CT 24-hours a day or only need a respite for a couple of hours, we are here to serve you.

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.

 Elderly Care Gilford, CT

Latest News in Gilford, CT

Target representatives unveil new design for old Guilford Walmart building and signage at meeting

GUILFORD — Target representatives unveiled proposed changes to the former Walmart building and a rendering of the retailer’s iconic red bulls-eye sign at the Design Review Committee meeting Wednesday, July 12.The proposed 78,000 square foot Target, expected to open in 2025, will include a CVS pharmacy, as well as a Starbucks.The mustard yellow color at 900 Boston Post Road would be changed to a light, warm gray color and the existing gables will be removed, according to Target representatives who presented their sig...

GUILFORD — Target representatives unveiled proposed changes to the former Walmart building and a rendering of the retailer’s iconic red bulls-eye sign at the Design Review Committee meeting Wednesday, July 12.

The proposed 78,000 square foot Target, expected to open in 2025, will include a CVS pharmacy, as well as a Starbucks.

The mustard yellow color at 900 Boston Post Road would be changed to a light, warm gray color and the existing gables will be removed, according to Target representatives who presented their signage and exterior renderings.

Joseph Mayhew, design project architect for Target, presented specific changes the company would like to make.

“It is a pretty heavy handed basic large box building with some gabled roof entrances and a sloped canopy over the whole front of the façade,” Mayhew said about the existing structure.

“We are basically taking off the existing sloped roof canopy and the large vestibule Walmart built out over the sidewalk,” he explained.

“We are doing a whole new finish on the façade of the building, we are adding a new canopy that will align with the new canopy of the development,” he said.

Mayhew talked about maintaining Target’s branding and the look of its stores.

“We want to take that clean modern look and combine it with the Guilford context, that beautiful landscape and environment of the Connecticut, Guilford region,” he said.

This includes incorporating “locally quarried stone veneer across the whole façade that would be about 7-foot-high, 4- inches… and lines up with the new and existing doors that are in the building,” he described.

There are plans for revamping the entire plaza, according to town officials.

“Above the stone wall we are doing a neutral color, that I call it light gray/off white color, that will hopefully match the exterior color of the addition, so there’ll be that tie in,” said Mayhew.

“We’ll be tying the height of the canopies, as well as the color of the façade,” he said.

Shirley Gironi, committee member, asked whether Target officials had seen proposed changes to the entire development.

“Have you seen the plans that were proposed by the developer for the rest of the plaza and do you think it meets what you’re expecting it to do?” asked Gironi.

“I think it’s a very nice remodel,” said Mayhew. “It’s a great improvement over what’s there today.”

Discussions about signage included changes to the Shoreline Plaza sign near Route 1, directional signage throughout parking lot and signage on the building.

A 9-foot red Target sign, including the familiar bulls-eye logo, is proposed for the front of the building. In addition, a smaller CVS Pharmacy sign will be affixed to the exterior.

Committee member Mary Repetti expressed concerns about the large Target sign and wanted them to modify its design.

She proposed that the background be changed to “gray and the word ‘Target’ in red. And the bulls-eye in red and white will show up there and it will coordinate with Big Y because they are white with red and that we would just reverse that out because that red is too dominant for coordination with the others.”

“We really have to think of the whole picture, and I really think that the impact of Target will be strong with the red on white, without the white on the red,” she said. “I think you’ll still have strong impact.”

Signage also included changing the Shoreline Plaza sign to include Target and Big Y logos, directional signage in the parking lot and on the building.

The plans include replacing the white Shoreline Plaza entrance sign with a monument sign, incorporating stone and featuring only the Target and Big Y logos.

Repetti had concerns about these changes, as well, and proposed that “the entrance to stay as Shoreline Plaza because there are 10 other retail stores there, it’s not just Big Y and Target.”

The parking area, which includes 510 spaces, would extend to the west side of the building.

There will be 12 parking stalls for picking up online orders, close to the building, on the west side.

With full approval from the town, Target hopes to open in 2025.

“As we get through the process and design and our building permits that will become a little more defined down the road,“ said Aaron Hemquist, development manager at Target.

Sarah Page Kyrcz can be reached at [email protected]

Guilford class of 2023 graduates in drenching rain; gowns soaked, but spirits high at commencement

GUILFORD — A steady rainfall did not dampen the spirits of the crowd that gathered on the Guilford Green for the Guilford High School 2023 graduation, June 16.Watch MoreThe ceremony was held three hours ahead of its original time to avoid an impending storm, but just as the rain started, the graduates filed onto the green passing a sea of umbrellas protecting the gathered guests.Speakers included Valedictorian Cassandra Pringle, Salutatorian Rylie Mullett and Superintendent of Schools Paul Freeman.Advertisem...

GUILFORD — A steady rainfall did not dampen the spirits of the crowd that gathered on the Guilford Green for the Guilford High School 2023 graduation, June 16.

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The ceremony was held three hours ahead of its original time to avoid an impending storm, but just as the rain started, the graduates filed onto the green passing a sea of umbrellas protecting the gathered guests.

Speakers included Valedictorian Cassandra Pringle, Salutatorian Rylie Mullett and Superintendent of Schools Paul Freeman.

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Mullett spoke about the importance of growing up in Guilford.

“Now, as we cross this stage, many of us embark on journeys that lead us away from Guilford,” Mullet said.

“This moment is symbolic of the end of our education, and childhood, in Guilford,” she said. “But the impact of Guilford on our lives will not end here.

“My family has a sign in our kitchen which reads ‘No matter where life takes us or how far away we roam, our hearts may make the journey but will always be at home,’” she said. “Class of 2023, we will always carry a piece of Guilford with us.”

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“For me, I will always return to the image of the green, where we gather today, and the importance of community,” she said. “Where we call home may change, but we will never be without the lessons, memories, and friendships we found here in Guilford.”

Applause, cheers and the sound of air horns pierced the air as 286 students walked across the stage, green gowns soaking wet, and accepted their diplomas from Freeman.

Faculty covered their heads with their graduation program and hoods, while graduates didn’t seem to be bothered by pelting drops

On Monday Nights, Guilford’s VFW Post 7666 is the Place to be for Big Band Swing

GUILFORD — It’s a stormy summer evening in coastal Connecticut.Raspberry brambles are soggy with rain. Briney marsh air blows in the wind. Tucked quietly back in a stand of pines off Route 1 on Mill Pond Road sits an unassuming red barn-like structure, VFW Post 7666. It’s an unlikely entertainment hot spot.But on Monday nights, it is the happening spot in Guilford. A beehive of activity. Cars assemble with marching band precision in the parking lot. White-clad horn players debunk with instrument cases...

GUILFORD — It’s a stormy summer evening in coastal Connecticut.

Raspberry brambles are soggy with rain. Briney marsh air blows in the wind. Tucked quietly back in a stand of pines off Route 1 on Mill Pond Road sits an unassuming red barn-like structure, VFW Post 7666. It’s an unlikely entertainment hot spot.

But on Monday nights, it is the happening spot in Guilford. A beehive of activity. Cars assemble with marching band precision in the parking lot. White-clad horn players debunk with instrument cases and scurry inside. Couples, families, and groups of seniors arrive with coolers and baskets. They set up picnics at colorfully-draped tables — sandwiches, salads, plates of brownies, bowls of cherries. They glide over to a string-light-decorated cash bar for gin and tonics, rum and Cokes, and Old Fashioneds.

Up front, seat by seat, the horn sections fill in, saxes in front, trombones in the middle, and trumpets standing in the back. “Tuxedo Junction: The Sounds of Swing” weekly public rehearsal is about to begin. In a few minutes, the band will roll into their first of fifteen tunes, during which they rehearse — and perform — for a local crowd, in an infectious mix of informality, fun, and chops.

Begun in 1989 by two World War II veterans as “Dixieland Jazz Band,” Tuxedo Junction was handed over to Guilford resident Pat Todd in 1995. Todd was originally the band’s piano player, and, as she says, its “roadie.” She was given the baton along with the considerable tasks of “organizing the music, finding jobs, getting subs when necessary, schlepping the bandstands….” as Todd describes. Tuxedo Junction has been playing a Monday night rehearsal for over twenty-four years under Todd’s tenure, during which the event has become an under-the-radar local institution, although “the world still doesn’t know about it,” as trombonist Harvey Martin says.

The lights dim. Todd, elegantly casual in sandals and a skirt, steps to the microphone with a laid-back-yet-take charge manner at 7:00 sharp. “Now, this is a rehearsal. It’s possible we may stop in the middle of a song to go over something, but we try not to,” she tells the audience.

“What are we rehearsing for?” quips guitarist Gary Grippo from the bandstand. Todd names a list of regular dates, including Guilford’s annual Lobsterfest, the Sunday in the Park festival, and the Cherry Blossom festival in New Haven. She scans the room for tonight’s featured singer. “Is Val Rogers here yet? Is that Val out in the parking lot? Well, we’ll get started without her.” She turns to the band and counts in “one, two — one two three four!” and the band kicks into “Brown Baggin’ It” by Dave Wolpe, in a classic swing band arrangement. As thirteen horns, Dennis Amato on drums, Jeff Fuller on bass, Grippo on guitar, and Carter Bryan on piano warm into an easy-going synchronicity, a lone Lindy Hopper warms up the dance floor, smiling as she whirls herself around.

The band has a refreshing mix of personnel; some of the most experienced musicians in Connecticut’s jazz scene — Dave Arezzini, John Beers, Tom Boates, Jeff Fuller, and Gary Grippo — are interspersed with musicians who have returned to playing after years away, and young professionals who devote free time to the band. It’s a nice balance. Todd regularly invites newcomers to come sub in on Monday nights; many current band members found their way into the band this way.

At a green-colored table, Joanne Martin sets down a plate of cookies. “Blueberry muffin tops,” she announces. “Want one?” She has arrived with two guests visiting from Baltimore, Anna and Marc Summerfield. They wave up to the bandstand and get a wave back from trombonist Harvey Martin.

It is an evening out with old friends: Martin played with Summerfield during their college days in the “Pride of Connecticut’s” UCMB, or the UConn Huskies Marching Band, known as the best marching band on the East Coast. They were famous enough to be invited on a 1970 tour by the Queen Mother, expanded to a three-week European tour that Summerfield remembers as “one of the most incredible experiences of my life.” That same year, UCMB played a halftime show at Yankee Stadium:

After UConn, both Martin and Summerfield put away their horns to attend to families and careers, but in recent years they have picked them back up — trombone and tenor sax, respectively — and recovered their embouchure. Martin says, “It’s kind of like riding a bike — once you do it, you can pick it up again. And I’ve actually improved over the years.”

Six years ago, Martin was diagnosed with brain and lung cancer. He was told he had a five percent chance of making it five years. He managed to beat those odds, with a long list of treatments. In navigating the unpredictability of this time, Martin says, “Playing trombone — specifically with Tuxedo Junction — I would consider a treatment in and of itself, kind of a rock…a lot of positive energy, maybe as important as surgery, radiation, chemotherapy.” On this Monday, Martin has just received the news from his medical team that his cancer is in near total remission. “We are here to celebrate tonight!” Anna Summerfield says.

And the Celebration is afoot. The band is playing “Dreamsville” by Henry Mancini, a floating, dreamy mid-tempo ballad in a deft arrangement that opens sensitively on Bryan’s keyboard, as a new couple arrives with drinks at the green table. “Can we sit here? Can we dance?” They laugh and leave their drinks untouched, heading off to the floor to join five other couples already whirling around.

Next, in Van Morrison’s “Moondance,” Val Rogers leans in, loosens up her vocals, and the horn’s intricate, punchy arrangements sparkle. As Martin attests, the band has really improved over the past twenty years, in part because of more complex, contemporary arrangements — no longer just “Glenn Miller stack arrangements.” In addition, Martin says, “The other musicians are bringing in more challenging stuff. You really have to rehearse!”

And rehearse they do. Horn sections gather on other days. Band members meet for socializing too, with a regular Guilford breakfast date on Wednesdays at the Brownstone Restaurant. While there are very few women in the band at the moment, there’s a nice mix of ages, interests, and careers. All agree that they are here because of the conviviality and fun, as well as the great music.

North Haven resident and saxophonist Nigel Regan now comes up to the bandstand. As Regan described later, he had just stopped by to consider buying a clarinet from Todd a few days ago, when she invited him to sit in. Now on summer break from University of North Texas, he handily tears through several solos over the next few songs.

In Ira Gershwin’s “A Foggy Day,” appropriate for this soggy evening, Rogers moves out into the audience to sit and sing with an admiring group of seniors. She hands an egg shaker to a gentleman to set the rhythm for “Girl From Ipanema.” Rogers stirs up drama expertly — in singing a song Louis Armstrong made famous, “A Kiss to Build a Dream On,” she elicits a peck on the cheek from a toddler. “Can you tell I was a theater major?” she laughs. In “Evergreen” the 1970s classic by Luther Vandross, famously sung by Barbra Streisand, Rogers really sends gorgeous vocals soaring over the room.

As the evening winds down, Todd tells the audience, “We have over three hundred songs in our repertoire. So come back. You won’t hear the same song Monday to Monday.”

You can find Tuxedo Junction: The Sounds of Swing every Monday 7:00 – 8:30pm at the Guilford VFW Post 7666. You can find out more at the band website, here.

‘A life saver’: Charlie’s Closet in Guilford providing gently used medical equipment for 25 years

GUILFORD — Talk about coming through in a pinch.Watch MoreThat’s Charlie’s Closet, the nonprofit medical equipment clearinghouse under the umbrella of Guilford Interfaith Volunteers (GIV) that’s been taking donations of clean, gently used medical equipment and making it available on loan to whoever needs it, for just one dollar, for the last 25 years.JANUARY SALE: Start Unlimited Digital Access for 25¢!...

GUILFORD — Talk about coming through in a pinch.

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That’s Charlie’s Closet, the nonprofit medical equipment clearinghouse under the umbrella of Guilford Interfaith Volunteers (GIV) that’s been taking donations of clean, gently used medical equipment and making it available on loan to whoever needs it, for just one dollar, for the last 25 years.

JANUARY SALE: Start Unlimited Digital Access for 25¢!

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There has yet to be a silver anniversary celebration. They’re too busy, it seems.

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Last week, director Tony Sicignano and his crew finished shipping their fifth truckload of crutches, canes, walkers, and bandages to St. Michael’s Ukrainian Church in New Haven for the war effort. They did the same for earthquake-ravaged Haiti in 2010, as well as for Tibet and Jamaica. Sicignano said he expects that Turkey and Syria will soon be added to the list.

They’ve come through closer to home as well.

During the pandemic, they provided hospital beds and wheelchairs for families wanting to pull their relatives out of nursing homes, according to Sicignano.

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With an average of 20 to 40 requests a day for equipment, “we’re more popular than ever,” Sicignano said.

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That’s backed up by Christi Burton, director of GIV, which Meals on Wheels, Friendly Visiting, and Guilford Food Bank.

“It’s probably the busiest of all our services because not many other organizations can do what they do,” she said.

It all started in 1998 when Guilford’s Charlie McGowan came by the office of the Guilford Interfaith Ministries in search of an electric stair lift for a neighbor diagnosed with ALS.

When the staff found a stair lift at an auction house, it hit them, volunteer Gwen Fletcher told the New Haven Register in 2018.

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“If one person desperately needed equipment and didn’t know where to go, how many more were there?”

From then on, “people have been coming in,” said Sicignano, seated on a shower chair amid stacks of mattresses, collections of canes, and groups of walkers in the soft light of the sawdust-smelling barn.

“These are people who find themselves at a particularly hard time in their lives, because their insurance company won’t cover the cost for equipment, Medicare will refuse to pay, or they just don’t have insurance or the wherewithal to buy it,” he said.

There are certain rules governing Charlie’s Closet. Most of them include the word “no.”

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There are no income requirements. No geographic restrictions. No red tape. No questions asked.

Then there’s the cost of the medical equipment. It hasn’t budged from 1998. From a hospital bed to a wheelchair to a cane, the cost is one dollar.

A few things have changed over the years.

There are the pieces of equipment that Charlie’s Closet lends out each year. It’s risen from 2,100 in 2009 to 5,800 in 2017. Over the past few years, it’s stayed steady, with numbers ranging from 6,000 to 7,000 pieces, according to Sicignano.

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That’s arguably no wonder, with older Americans one of the fastest growing demographics, according to the Administration for Community Living and, as the AARP.org reported in November 2022, “77 percent of adults 50 and older want[ing] to remain in their homes for the long term.”

That means, Sicignano said, “more hip surgeries, knee surgeries, and other surgeries. That means more people will need more equipment.”

Another change is the protocols for cleaning equipment instituted during the pandemic. “It changed drastically,” said Sicignano, adding that they continue to use a three-part solution that they spray on everything.

Perhaps more significant is the requirement of making appointments.

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“That was out of necessity,” he said. “We had to keep people staggered going in. Prior to that, you came in whenever you wanted to.”

That has led to an unforeseen benefit.

“Now we have a few minutes where people could come in and we could talk to them about their needs,” he said.

That means volunteers like Pam Rowling, a retired occupational therapist, and physical therapist Ellyn Higgins can advise people on the proper type of equipment.

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“We also have a social worker, a nurse, a radiation therapist,” Sicignano said. “I’m blessed with these volunteers with previous experience who can sit and talk to the person, even if it’s just for two minutes, telling them ‘I understand what you’re looking for, let me recommend this.’”

There are two women who are retired lawyers. “One of them just cleans and the other answers phones,” she said.

Then there’s Joe Secki of Killingworth. “He came in one day and said ‘I’m retired’ and I said how handy are you and he told me he was very skilled,” Sicignano recalled. “He has a wonderful personality, nothing frustrates him, he just comes in and says ‘what do you need fixed.’”

The biggest challenge “is when someone comes in and I don’t have that equipment,” he said, adding that the most requested items are wheelchairs, transport chairs, commodes, and shower chairs.

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“That’s the hardest part, and it’s also hard when someone comes in and they’re having to help a kid because we don’t usually get pediatric stuff.”

That said, “I’ve had people call me and say ‘I need this’ and I tell them I don’t have it, and five minutes later, someone calls up and says ‘hey, I got this item I don’t need anymore,’ and it’s what the previous person was looking for,” he said.

“And it always always astounds me when that happens and it happens more than you think it would,” he said.

“You could say this was the work of God, or kismet. I can’t explain it. All I know is I’m so happy when it happens.”

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Charlie’s Closet is located on 310 State Street, Unit 200, Guilford and is open from 9:00 am to 12 noon Monday through Friday. To make appointment for equipment donations and pick-ups (appointments only), call 203-453-8359.

For more information, visit https://givct.org/charlies-closet/.

Lisa Reisman may be reached at [email protected].

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