Benchmark Senior Living at Hamden Making 100 Little Red Hats for Local Babies

February 02, 2019

Partnering with American Heart Association to Raise Awareness 
for Congenital Heart Defects and Support Parents with Ailing Infants

Congenital Heart Defects (CHD) are the most common type of birth defect in the country, and every year thousands of babies are born with this life-threatening condition. 

To help raise awareness for CHD during February’s American Heart Month and support affected families with newborns at local hospitals, Benchmark Senior Living at Hamden, an assisted living community in Hamden, Conn., is hoping to knit 100 red hats for the American Heart Association’s (AHA) annual Little Hats, Big Hearts campaign.

As an extension of their mission to elevate human connection and provide support for people of all ages in the towns and neighborhoods they serve, on Jan. 30, Benchmark residents, associates and volunteers gathered to knit tiny red hats. The hats will warm the heads of newborns at area hospitals. Twenty seven hospitals in Connecticut participate in the campaign, including Yale New Haven and St. Vincent’s Hospitals. 

“We want parents to know they aren’t alone in this fight,” says Sandra Hidalgo, executive director of Benchmark. “It’s a small gesture to show we’re thinking about them, and we hope that will give them strength.” 

Many of Benchmark’s 58 independent living, assisted living and memory care communities located throughout the Northeast are participating in the campaign in hopes of donating more than 1,000 hats to the cause.

AHA is committed to raising awareness for CHD and helping children live stronger lives through education, research and public policies. In fact, the organization’s funding for pediatric cardiac research is second only to that of the federal government. Thanks to AHA advocacy, laws were passed in Connecticut to ensure that every baby born receives pulse-oximetry testing, which can help identify heart defects immediately after birth. The AHA also trains parents, caregivers and medical professionals in infant and child CPR for which has created guidelines.

“Heart-related conditions impact so many of our beloved residents, so it’s important to us to support the good work of organizations like the American Heart Association,” says Tom Grape, chairman and CEO of Benchmark. “Whether it’s our continued sponsorship of the annual Heart Ball or participating in campaigns like Little Hats, Big Hearts, we are delighted to support such an important cause affecting so many.” 

About Benchmark 
Based in Waltham, Mass., Benchmark is a leading provider of senior housing in the Northeast with 6,400 associates and 58 communities. Founded in 1997 by Tom Grape, Benchmark offers independent living, assisted living, Alzheimer’s care and skilled nursing in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont. The organization was selected by FORTUNE magazine for its inaugural 2018 Best Workplaces for Aging Services list, taking the number 16 spot on the list of top 40 aging services companies and ranking number three among companies with more than 40 communities. Benchmark is one of only six companies named to The Boston Globe Top Places to Work list every year of the 11 years it has been published. And it has been consistently recognized by Boston Business Journal, Hartford Courant and Hartford Business Journal as a top workplace, and by the Boston Business Journal, Providence Business News and Hartford Business Journal as one of the healthiest employers. Click here for more information.

Press Contact: Carol Arnold, Arnold Communications,, (603) 502-0469. 

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