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Home Care in Killingworth, 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, sometimes they cannot live independently without someone by their side to provide care. Unfortunately, some 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 in the comforts or their home rather than in an assisted living community. Home care in Killingworth, CT is a safe, effective way to give your loved ones the care they need when they need it the most.

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What Our Clients Are Saying

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 age. We are proud to have helped tens of thousands of seniors to maintain a higher level of dignity and respect. We focus on providing seniors with the highest level of 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.

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 care services in Killingworth, CT. Always Best Care is here to help.

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

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

Types of In-home Care in Killingworth, CT

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

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 or Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s.

Common personal care services include assistance with:

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

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

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 activities and hobbies 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

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 other activities. Perhaps more importantly, respite care gives family members time to recharge and regroup. Taking personal time to de-stress helps reduce the risks of caregiver burnout.

When it comes to non-medical home care, 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.

Benefits of Home Care in Killingworth, 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:

  • Age in Place
    According to AARP, 9 out of 10 seniors prefer to age in place within the comfort of their own home. With in-home care, seniors have a way to stay at home, receive the care they need, and maintain a sense of independence, improving overall wellness.
  • Peace of Mind
    If you or a member of your family have assumed the role of caregiver for your senior loved one, you know how stressful the job can be. Between caregiver burnout and constant worry, being a family caregiver is hard. In-home care relieves your burden and gives you peace of mind knowing that your senior family member is in expert hands.
  • Socialization
    Unlike many senior care facilities where the staff and residents rotate frequently, seniors can foster new friendships and build bonds with their caregiver. Seniors who socialize on a regular basis are often happier, which fosters positivity and leads to increased wellbeing.
  • Personalized Care Plan
    No two seniors need the same kind of in-home care assistance. That is why each of our care plans are tailored to meet our client’s individual needs. We offer plans that cover everything from light housekeeping to more involved duties like transportation to doctor’s appointments. Our Care Coordinators will work closely with you to develop a personalized plan to ensure your senior’s needs are exceeded.

Always Best Care offers a full array of care options for clients 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.

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:

Comfort

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 Killingworth, 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

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.

Independence

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

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 Killingworth, 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.

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: Attendance and aid 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: 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: 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: 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.

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 Killingworth,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.

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:

01

An assessment of your senior loved one

02

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

03

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.

Latest News in Killingworth

Local roundup: No. 7 NFA boys beat Killingly and improve to 8-0

Norwich — Nazir Rembert scored 23 of his game-high 26 points in the first half as No. 7 Norwich Free Academy cruised to a 91-59 boys' basketball victory over Killingly on Monday night.Rembert made three 3-pointers for the unbeaten Wildcats (8-0), who led 26-9 after one quarter, 46-26 at halftime and were never threatened.Javen Foster added 23 points for NFA while Austin Cannon finished with 14 and Tony Williams 10.Yianni Baribeau had 25 points and 15 rebounds for Killingly (4-2).In other games:• ...

Norwich — Nazir Rembert scored 23 of his game-high 26 points in the first half as No. 7 Norwich Free Academy cruised to a 91-59 boys' basketball victory over Killingly on Monday night.

Rembert made three 3-pointers for the unbeaten Wildcats (8-0), who led 26-9 after one quarter, 46-26 at halftime and were never threatened.

Javen Foster added 23 points for NFA while Austin Cannon finished with 14 and Tony Williams 10.

Yianni Baribeau had 25 points and 15 rebounds for Killingly (4-2).

In other games:

• Jacob Ritchie had 20 points and seven steals to highlight Old Lyme's 66-48 victory over Haddam-Killingworth in the Shoreline Conference. John Almy and Caden Monte added 19 points and six rebounds apiece for the Wildcats (3-3, 3-2).

Girls' basketball

• Sophia Boras scored 21 points, including a crucial basket with 11 seconds remaining, as St. Bernard edged Lyman Memorial 28-25 in an early-season matchup of Eastern Connecticut Conference Division IV unbeatens. The Saints are 4-3, 3-0. Jenny Lopez scored 10 points for the Bulldogs (3-4, 2-1).

• Milena Walker had 17 points and 11 rebounds during Waterford's 63-29 victory over Wheeler. Izzi Fraser added 14 points and eight rebounds fot the Lancers (6-2), including four 3-pointers, while Natalie Lombardi finished with nine points and four steals. Addie Hauptmann scored 11 points for the Lions (3-6) and Marissa Perkins had eight rebounds.

• Old Lyme, playing for the first time in two weeks, relied on its defense to get past Haddam-Killingworth 36-20 in the Shoreline Conference. Ali Kyle and Kate Walsh had six steals apiece for the Wildcats (3-2, 2-2) with Kyle scoring 15 points and Walsh adding six.

H.S. gymnastics

• Stonington's Lydia Laskey earned all-around honors as the Bears edged NFA 128.8-124.45 in an ECC meet. Laskey finished with 33.75 points with wins on bars (8.3), beam (8.7) and floor exercise (8.65). She also finished third on vault (8.3). NFA (1-3, 0-3) was led by Emma Field, who finished second in the all-around competition (31.9) while sharing first-place honors on vault with teammate Rylee Snyder (8.3). NFA's Kate Titus was third in the all-around (31.7) and Mary Lord was fourth (31.4) for Stonington (2-2, 1-0).

Men's hockey

• Connecticut College, playing for the first time in over a month and its first home game since Nov. 20, dropped a 3-2 overtime decision to Bowdoin in the New England Small College Athletic Conference. Jake Vaughan scored the first goal for the Camels (1-5, 0-3) and Younghoon Choi scored with just under three minutes left in regulation to tie game. Goalie Cam Fernandez made 24 saves for Conn.

Killingworth Farm Tour this weekend aims to get you out to the country

KILLINGWORTH — On a bright, crisp autumn morning, a docile, long-necked, four-legged creature slowly ambled over to greet Melissa Ferrara, nearly nose-to-nose.The creature is Cereza, a 9-year-old alpaca with a curly “top knot” above a sweet face with dark brown eyes and a big black nose that sniffs the air inquisitively. She gave her owner a gentle head butt.Ferrara is owner of New England Alpacas, a stop on the Fourth Annual Farm Tour in Kill...

KILLINGWORTH — On a bright, crisp autumn morning, a docile, long-necked, four-legged creature slowly ambled over to greet Melissa Ferrara, nearly nose-to-nose.

The creature is Cereza, a 9-year-old alpaca with a curly “top knot” above a sweet face with dark brown eyes and a big black nose that sniffs the air inquisitively. She gave her owner a gentle head butt.

Ferrara is owner of New England Alpacas, a stop on the Fourth Annual Farm Tour in Killingworth that is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Nov. 13, which features five working farms.

“Want to give me a kiss?” Ferrara coos to Cereza, who is shy in front of strangers. The pen smells of sweet hay, dry leaves and the earthy scent of livestock. Acorns crunch underfoot. It is fall in the country.

Visitors will have the chance to meet not only Cereza and her brothers and sisters, but to see nature and farming up close at any one of the farms on the tour.

The farms include Bitta Blue Farm, 228 River Road, an organic, family-run farm that sells goat’s milk soap, lotions and bath accessories made from the milk of their herd of Alpine goats, and farm-made jams, jellies, pickles, dried fruits, and late season vegetables (closes at 3 p.m.).

Also on the tour is Down the Lane Farm, 18 Reservoir Road, featuring unpasteurized honey, soaps, tea, beeswax candles, handcrafted gifts and collectibles.

There is also Lavender Pond Farm, 318 Roast Meat Hill Road, offering lavender, bath, body, home lavender products, lavender-themed gifts all from lavender harvested there.

Leightsinger Farm, 293 Route 81 on Facebook, features non-GMO, naturally-raised vegetables, beef, pork, chicken and eggs.

All are open rain or shine except New England Alpacas, which will cancel in case of heavy rains as excess moisture is harmful to their fiber products. In case of light rain, there will be tents.

Ferrara said she has hopes for this farm tour and noted they had to cancel last year’s due to the pandemic.

She came up with the idea for the farm tour about five years ago.

“For the longest time it was just me and the Winterberry Farm — the Christmas Tree farm and us — that was about it.”

“As we started to get more farms I just started chatting with them and said, ‘Do you guys want to start promoting agriculture in our town?’ Killingworth is becoming quite a farm town — as it was many, many years ago,” she said.

The first tour “was a huge success - we had little postcards you could pick up at any farm and it will give you all of addresses of all the other farms and people just be-boop” around the area, she said.

People are very receptive to learn about farming, Ferrara noted.

“Especially young people — they get to really learn where stuff comes from. Whether it’s your clothes, the food or whatever,” she said. “We get so many kids.”

“A lot of kids have never been exposed to farms,” she said. “They really don’t have a clue and they’re like ‘Wait, that animal gave you this? And you made that?’”

“Yes, and that’s how even your clothes are made,” she tells them.

At New England Alpacas, shearing is done in the spring, then Ferrara takes the fiber to her daughter “who is our spinner” (and who will give a demonstration Saturday, weather permitting).

Farming is not new to Ferrara. While she worked as a social worker for years, she grew up on a working farm in Bethany where they raised all their meats and fruits and vegetables.

“That’s a lot of work,” she said.

Alpacas appealed to Ferrara because all she needed to do was to care for them and shear them. She turned to breeding when she realized she could be a stay-at-home mom and manage that business, which was profitable, she said.

“The breeding business allowed me to be home with my kids,” daughter Austin, now 28 and son Jesse, 25, she said. She’s also enjoyed giving tours to visitors.

“I’ve loved sharing my knowledge of alpacas with hundreds of people over our 25 years of farming,” she said.

Farm life fit neatly with family life for her, she said, because “I wanted to raise my children on a farm as I was raised.”

“There is no better way to learn life lessons like the miracle of birth, patience, responsibility, compassion, and dignity in death,” she said.

Her animals are special to her: “I have owned many alpacas over the years and although I love them all dearly, I had a truly spiritual connection to four of them who have since passed on,” she said.

The connection to her animals is evident as Ferrara coaxed them to get camera-ready.

“You two look pretty this morning,” Ferrara told a pair of alpacas who warily watched the guest. “They’ve very gentle, very shy,” she said.

When an alpaca checks out a stranger, Ferrara noted, it’s easy to tell if they think the person is a friend or foe — ears up and they’re OK; ears back, and they are not so sure.

When Ferrara bred alpacas, the farm was home to as many as 50 animals. She and her husband, Lou scaled down their operation to focus on the fiber aspect of raising alpacas.

Alpacas were once only native to Peru, Chile and Bolivia — now there are American herds, bred from the imported animals. Alpacas are cousins to llamas, whose fiber is not considered as desirable for clothing.

Alpaca’s are prized for their soft coats that are called “fiber” and not fur or hair, Ferrara noted.

Ferrara’s daughter, Austin, spins the fiber into hand-spun yarn, which they sell by the skein. They also send the fiber to a mill in Connecticut to make machine-made yarn.

Through a New England cooperative in New Bedford, Mass., they have socks and other clothing produced.

“We do all that local in New England,” she said.

Ferrara is proud to point out a mother-daughter pair of special “Rose-grays,” alpacas with a dappled, rust-colored coat with black and white markings. Their sheared “fiber” makes a lovely yarn, she said.

“When we spin up their fiber into yarn we get this gorgeous gray heather — it’s so soft.”

The place where she sells her goods is a little cottage, the size of a shed, with a porch. The tiny shop is filled with soft knitted alpaca socks and mittens, scarves, sweaters and incredibly fluffy teddy bears whose downy “fur” is made from alpaca fiber.

The socks and mittens are especially warm, Ferrara said and takes one off to show a guest. It envelopes the hand in a soft, toastiness.

Ferrara happily talked about the individual quirks of her small herd of eight — four females and four males, who are kept in separate pens.

Cereza is the “guardian of the herd,” Ferrara said. “She will check out that no one has any bad intentions for the girls. Her mother was our queen until she passed.” Now Cereza is “the protector.”

The animals are penned to protect them from outside critters who might do them harm. Without the 6-foot-high fence, “They will go nowhere” as they are content to graze there on the 4-acre farm surrounded by thick woodlands.

Now, she and her husband are content to take care of this small herd and focus on harvesting their fiber until retirement, she said.

“Being in the presence of these sweet, peaceful animals is naturally relaxing and calming,” she said.

15 CIAC Gymnasts to watch in 2022

Hailey Best, New Milford, Jr.: Named South-West Conference tournament MVP as sophomore when she helped New Milford repeat as league champions. CHSCA second team All-State. State Open runner-up on uneven bars (9.325) and third in all-around (36.450) as a freshman. Won balance beam (9.20) and bars (9.350) for Class M team champion. SWC champion on bars (9.45) and floor exercise (9.45). SWC runner-up all-around (36.80) and bars (9.45). GameTimeCT All-State, All-SWC first team, CHSCA first-team All-State.Lindsay C...

Hailey Best, New Milford, Jr.: Named South-West Conference tournament MVP as sophomore when she helped New Milford repeat as league champions. CHSCA second team All-State. State Open runner-up on uneven bars (9.325) and third in all-around (36.450) as a freshman. Won balance beam (9.20) and bars (9.350) for Class M team champion. SWC champion on bars (9.45) and floor exercise (9.45). SWC runner-up all-around (36.80) and bars (9.45). GameTimeCT All-State, All-SWC first team, CHSCA first-team All-State.

Lindsay Capobianco, St. Joseph, Sr: As a junior placed third in all-around (35.55) at FCIAC meet. Was third in league on balance beam (9.2). First team CHSCA All-State selection. Tied for fifth at State Open on beam (9.0) as a sophomore.

Emma Johnson, Fairfield Warde, Jr: Named the FCIAC meet’s Outstanding Gymnast, Johnson won the league all-around title with a score of 36.9. Also took first in balance beam and floor exercise. She was second on uneven bars.

Ella Forma, Trumbull, Jr.: FCIAC champion on uneven bars (9.5) as a sophomore. First-team CHSCA All-State choice. All-FCIAC. Set school record with score of 9.6 on bars in meet with Wilton in 2021.

Juliana Gagliardi, Haddam-Killingworth, Jr: Gagliardi finished first in the all-around at the Shoreline Conference meet as a sophomore. First team CHSCA All-State selection. Placed fifth on balance beam (9.0) at State Open as a freshman. CHSCA All-State first-team choice. Second-team GameTimeCT All-State.

Caroline Garrett, Fairfield Warde, Sr.: First team CHSCA All-State choice. Fourth on uneven bars at FCIAC championships. Was runner-up in vault (9.30), sixth all-around (35.750) at State Open as a sophomore. Was third all-around (34.750) and tied for third on balance beam (8.50) at FCIACs. GameTimeCT All-State. All-FCIAC first-team selection. CHSCA All-State. Tied for sixth in all-around (9.175) at State Open as a freshman.

Lindsey Gillies, Woodstock Academy, Sr.: Gillies will be looking to help her team extend its run of 10 consecutive state titles. They were Class S champs from 2013-20. Posted scores of 9.0 on vault, 9.35 in floor exercise, and 8.5s on uneven bar and balance beam to help team win in 2020. CHSCA All-State first-team choice and second team GameTimeCT All-State as a sophomore.

Anna Gramlich, Oxford, Sr.: Second-team CHSCA All-State as a junior. First-team All-SWC selection as a sophomore and a junior. At State Open scored an 8.5 in floor exercise as a sophomore. Led team to a second-place finish in SWC as a freshman when she was first on balance beam (8.8), fourth on floor exercise (8.6) and fourth in all-around (33.2). CHSCA All-State first-team choice. Second-team GameTimeCT All-State.

Mia Guster, Staples, Jr.: FCIAC vault champion with a score of 9.35 a year ago. Second in league in floor exercise (9.15), the sophomore was second team CHSCA All-State choice.

Lydia Laskey, Stonington, Jr.: Qualified for New England meet in 2020 with score of 8.6 on balance beam at State Open. CHSCA All-State first team choice as freshman and sophomore. Placed fifth in the ECC in all-around (34.7) as a freshman.

Tallulah Malz, Mercy, So.: First team All-CHSCA All-State. Malz was fourth in all-around (33.0) in SCC. Placed fourth in uneven bars and fifth on balance beam. All-SCC.

Olivia Mannino, Wilton, Jr: First-team CHSCA All-State as a junior. Placed fourth in all-around (35.4) at FCIAC championship meet. Tied for fourth in vault (9.15), at FCIACS. At Class M meet, placed second on uneven bars (8.550), tied for second on vault (9.3) and took fourth in all-around (34.15) her freshman year. Finished second in vault (9.3) and fourth in the all-around (34.15) in FCIAC. CHSCA All-State. First-team All-FCIAC.

Emma Nelly, Jonathan Law, Sr.: Nelly was second in floor exercise, third in vault and balance beam and sixth on uneven bars to place second all-around with a score of 34.2 in the SCC. First team CHSCA All-State. First team All-SCC.

Kiera O’Brien, Killingly co-op, Sr: CHSCA All-State first-team choice as a sophomore. Second-team GameTimeCT All-State. Helped team to fourth-place finish in Class M when she scored 8.350 or higher on all four events. Tied for fifth in balance beam (9.0) at State Open. Tied for first (8.9) on beam and was second on uneven bars (8.5) to help team to second-place finish in states as a freshman.

Hadley Reiss, Daniel Hand, So.: Floor exercise SCC champion with a score of 9.0, Reiss tied for third in all-around (33.9). Second-team CHSCA All-State. First team. All-SCC.

— Bill Bloxsom

Killingworth baker with CT cottage food license spreads sweetness from her home, ‘She’s so creative,’ customers say

KILLINGWORTH — Danielle Henderson has turned her passion for perfection into a sweet business making cupcakes, cookies and cakes that customers say can look too good to eat.After many years serving up her homemade treats to friends and family, this Killingworth native is offering her baked goodies to the public as The Sweet Baker, LLC.Created as a cottage industry, The Sweet Baker has been selling baked treats out of the Henderson home since June 2020.Connecticut ...

KILLINGWORTH — Danielle Henderson has turned her passion for perfection into a sweet business making cupcakes, cookies and cakes that customers say can look too good to eat.

After many years serving up her homemade treats to friends and family, this Killingworth native is offering her baked goodies to the public as The Sweet Baker, LLC.

Created as a cottage industry, The Sweet Baker has been selling baked treats out of the Henderson home since June 2020.

Connecticut cottage food licenses have been available since Oct. 1, 2018. There are some 500 cottage food businesses currently operating in Connecticut, according to the state.

Danielle Henderson said that having a cottage food business allows her to be home for her children, Hailey, 8 and Tucker, 5.

Established just as the COVID-19 pandemic began shutting down many local businesses, The Sweet Baker has continued to grow.

The minimum quantity sold, per order, is a dozen cookies and/or a dozen cupcakes. Danielle Henderson’s largest order to date was 40 dozen holiday cookies.

“I had the biggest order I ever thought I would have this year,” she said of the Halloween sale. Pumpkins, jack-o-lanterns and candy corn cookies were in the order for a local bank.

She said she did in two weeks.

“I was nervous and freaking out,” she admitted. “But I felt awesome about being able to get it done.”

Danielle Henderson’s husband, Dylan Henderson, assisted with the baking.

“That was probably three hours of baking,” he said, with another 20 or 30 hours of decorating. Every individual cookie cutter is unique, made on a 3-D printer by Dylan Henderson.

“Pretty much everything she does is so customized,” he said. “It’s pretty rare that we get the same order twice.”

Standing in her family kitchen, Danielle Henderson noted the art of hand decorating her baked goods. “I’ve always loved doing it,” she said.

“I went to school for bakery and pastry,” she said about her time at the former Connecticut Culinary Institute. “I liked it, but we didn’t learn how to decorate.”

Over the years she taught herself cake and cookie decorating and is constantly perfecting her skill, she said. This is evident on her website, which shows a gallery of her whimsical creations.

Visitors will see cupcakes that look like sunflowers with dark centers made of chocolate chips; cupcake cheeseburgers, with “buns” made of vanilla cake, with a fudge brownie as the “burger” and condiments made from royal icing; cupcakes topped with colorful candy roosters, dinosaurs and unicorn horns, to name just a few.

Cookie designs use everything from super heroes, popular children’s characters, such as Sponge Bob and the like, and a veritable animal kingdom of chickens, goats, safari animals, poodles, black labs, “sea critters” and more.

In addition to making the one-of-a-kind cookie cutters, Dylan Henderson assists his wife with keeping up-to-date with the cottage food license, the Sweet Baker website, and bookkeeping.

To obtain the cottage food license, Dylan Henderson noted that his wife had to acquire a ServSafe certificate and submit all recipes to the state Department of Consumer Protection for approval, among other requirements.

For Danielle Henderson, the ServSafe certificate, which covers time, temperature control requirements and food handling hygiene, was one of the easiest hurdles, as this 34-year-old has been certified for years through her family’s business, the Dairy Queen in Westbrook.

The Sweet Baker-approved recipes include German chocolate and lemon curd filling; Italian meringue, buttercream, chocolate ganache; sugar, chocolate chip and Italian ricotta cookies; gluten free sugar, M&M and chocolate chip cookies; vanilla, chocolate, marble, confetti and carrot cupcakes and cakes.

“I do a peanut butter buttercream,” she said of one of her specialties.

“Everybody loves my Reese’s peanut butter cupcakes. It’s chocolate cupcakes, peanut butter buttercream; I drizzle it with a ganache and I put chopped peanut butter cups on top,” she said.

After Danielle Henderson had to change her diet to gluten free, she began offering gluten free items,she said.

“Every so often I will steal one and have the pain from it,” she said, referring to the sugar cookies that are not gluten free.

Her husband and two children are her main test testers.

“I do a lot of experimenting with my kids and they think it’s awesome,” this mother said. “For my son’s cake, he had a Spider-Man cake. He ended up having a red layer, a blue layer and then a tie-dye layer of the red and blue.”

On a recent afternoon Danielle Henderson pointed to a container of cookies on her kitchen counter that were slightly browned along the edges.

“I won’t use overdone cookies” to sell, she said. “It’s just one thing I won’t do.”

“They are a little bit harder, where these backs are soft,” she said, pointing to a baking sheet full of ready to be decorated cookies.

“That’s why people come to me, because I do soft cookies,” she added. “They’re fresh, they’re soft, they’re ready to go.”

For the Killingworth Ambulance Association’s recent 50th anniversary celebration, , Danielle Henderson baked two round, two-tiered cakes and 100 cupcakes.

One cake was specifically for the organization’s anniversary, with a 50th Anniversary topper, and the other to celebrate Don McDougall’s own anniversary of 50 years of service that continues today at 87-years-old.

For Mary Robbenhaar-Fretz, a member of the association’s board of directors and a volunteer EMT, it was important to support a local business.

“It was very good, not too sweet” said Robbenhaar-Fretz, who worked directly with Danielle Henderson on the order.

The Killingworth resident added that she is very particular about the consistency and taste of frosting.

“This was buttercream frosting and it was really good,” she said, noting the cakes and cupcakes were “great, very moist.”

She said that Danielle Henderson was wonderful to work with regarding the design and colors of the confections.

“She gave me lots of ideas as far as colors and pictures and designs,” she said. “I didn’t really know what I wanted. She was great with suggestions. The EMS emblem, she was able to make that freehand.”

She added that she was very impressed with “how professional she was,” referring to Danielle Henderson.

“She was worried about COVID and she said, ‘I’m vaccinated and I’ll wear gloves and a mask when I’m preparing the food’ and she delivered everything in her chef outfit, the white coat.”

For Caroline Messina, who has ordered multiple cakes and cupcakes from Sweet Baker, “All her stuff is really good.”

Her 200-cupcake order, for a wedding, consisted of three varieties — chocolate ganache, funfetti and carrot cake — and Messina’s last order of a lemon cake was this past summer.

“I am a fan of Danielle’s,” the Middlefield resident said. “To look at, her things are beautiful. She’s so creative.”

In addition, she added, “Everything is delicious. Her cakes are moist, they’re tasty, the frosting is good.”

Like, Robbenhaar-Fretz, Messina raved about the frosting.

“I’m not a big frosting fan, in general,” she said. “It’s usually too sweet and I take most of it off, but for hers, I gobble up her frosting.”

The Sweet Baker, LLC, 860-227-4312; thesweetbaker.biz; Facebook The Sweet Baker, LLC; Instagram sweetbaker87

Contact Sarah Page Kyrcz at [email protected]

Killingworth Officials Announce Public Forums on Water Contamination

KILLINGWORTH — Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS, were detected in three wells serving the age 55+ Beechwood Community, but only one of the wells exceeded state guidelines. Officials at Connecticut Water assured residents that the water, once treated, is safe to drink.Three wells registered levels of PFAS greater than 10 parts per trillion. Only one well exceeded the state guidelines of 70 ppt for the total accumulations of five specific PFAS chemicals in drinking water.Connecticut Water stated in a relea...

KILLINGWORTH — Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS, were detected in three wells serving the age 55+ Beechwood Community, but only one of the wells exceeded state guidelines. Officials at Connecticut Water assured residents that the water, once treated, is safe to drink.

Three wells registered levels of PFAS greater than 10 parts per trillion. Only one well exceeded the state guidelines of 70 ppt for the total accumulations of five specific PFAS chemicals in drinking water.

Connecticut Water stated in a release that because drinking water is treated, the guidelines “apply only to the treated water and not the individual wells.”

PFAS are a group of long-lasting chemicals that are used in some firefighting foams and a range of products from non-stick pans to food packaging. The EPA identifies PFAS with a variety of adverse human health effects.

The Beechwood wells are located near the Haddam-Killingworth Middle School and the Killingworth Elementary School, town hall and library.

The town of Killingworth is working with state officials to identify the source of the PFAS contamination, and has tested other wells in the area for contamination. The tests typically take two to four weeks for results, and the local schools have started using bottled water as a precaution, according to a news release from Killingworth First Selectman Catherine Iino and Director of Health Amy Scholz.

“The local and state health departments have identified no immediate health threat, and they are not issuing a recommendation to alter consumption of water inside the home at this time,” said Iino and Scholz in the release. “We do not yet know the source or extent of the contamination. DEEP is analyzing the geology of the area and will reach out to initiate testing for PFAS in private home wells based on the risk analysis.”

Connecticut Water will hold a forum for Beechwood residents at 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 25.

The Town of Killingworth will hold an online public forum at 7 p.m. on Thursday to provide residents with information about the chemical PFAS and the contamination. Experts from the Connecticut Department of Public Health, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and Connecticut Water will be available to answer questions.

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