Greenwich resident to step down as executive director of River House

After 27 years at River House Adult Day Center — 25 of those years as executive director — Carol Burns is stepping down from her position, the organization announced today. Burns, who is credited with building River House (previously known as Greenwich Adult Day Care) into one of the state’s leading providers of day care for seniors, is planning to launch a consultancy devoted to improving quality of life for seniors and their caregivers by focusing on the continuum of care.

“I am so proud of my 27 years of hard work on behalf of River House,” Burns said. “It has been wonderful to help the organization grow and prosper and to have served so many of our community’s older members and their families. I am particularly proud of leading the move to River House, a beautiful spot for our clients. The organization is in a truly secure position, thanks to our remarkable staff, dedicated volunteers, and loyal donors, and it’s time for me to focus on other projects.”

Burns led the organization’s move from The Nathaniel Witherell to its current home, an award-winning redesign of a 1920s New York — New Haven — Hartford Railroad pump house perched on the Mianus River dam in Cos Cob. This initiative included an innovative public-private partnership that not only gave the organization a new home — one that sets the standard for adult day centers — but also put the organization on a strong financial footing.

During Burns’s tenure, the average number of clients per day has grown from 10 to 50, and River House has expanded and enhanced services for clients, their caregivers, and the community. Thousands of seniors have been clients of River House during Burns’s leadership; they and their caregivers have benefitted from the organization’s wide variety of activities, programs, and supportive services.

From left, Sandy Motland, board president and Carol Burns, executive director

From left, Sandy Motland, board president and Carol Burns, executive director

“Carol Burns has been the soul of River House,” said Sandra Motland, president of the River House Board of Directors. “Thanks to her vision and leadership, River House has been on the cutting edge of eldercare in Connecticut, and it is also recognized as arguably the best adult day center of its kind in the state. And it has a home in the beautifully repurposed pump house, where seniors spend days in a spacious environment filled with light and blessed with spectacular views of the Mianus River and the waterfall. Through her hard work, Carol has touched the lives of many seniors and caregivers. Her work has made a difference.”

Burns, who has lived in Greenwich for 46 years and raised her family here, is launching a consultancy that draws on her deep expertise in elder care. She plans on promoting an understanding of the continuum of care and wellness needs of the growing population of elderly in Connecticut, with the goal of delivering smarter, more efficient care to senior citizens.

River House is a non-profit agency that strives to enrich the lives of older adults in a fun, healthy and engaging environment.  Caregivers gain peace of mind knowing they have a place to find answers and support throughout their journey. The River House Board of Directors has started the search for a new executive director in the meantime the excellent staff are maintaining the level of services expected by caregivers and the community. An outside firm has been hired to assist with the transition and search.  For more information about River House, visit theriverhouse.org.

From left, members of the Campaign Committee at the pump house groundbreaking, Lara Spencer, honorary chair;  Caralyn Stevens, board president; Carol Burns, executive director; and John Cooper, campaign chair

From left, members of the Campaign Committee at the pump house groundbreaking, Lara Spencer, honorary chair; Caralyn Stevens, board president; Carol Burns, executive director; and John Cooper, campaign chair

Carol with her daughter, Siobhan Burns and granddaughter, Catherine Burns, at River House’s 21st annual Garden Party held April 30, 2015.

Carol with her daughter, Siobhan Burns and granddaughter, Catherine Burns, at River House’s 21st annual Garden Party held April 30, 2015.

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