Ruth Von Behren Award

Carol A. Burns

River House, Greenwich, Connecticut

BurnsThis award recognizes the personal achievements and commitment of individuals who have had a national impact on Adult Day Services. The award is named for Ruth Von Behren, a former NADSA Chair, internationally renowned for her pioneering work in California and throughout the country.

For more than a quarter of a century, Carol has provided leadership that fundamentally improved community-based health care for senior adults through adult day services. At the state level, Carol has spent countless hours advocating in Hartford for recognition of adult day services. She served on many committees lobbying for higher standards of care and a suitable reimbursement rate. Carol served as President of the Connecticut Association of Adult Day Services and helped shape the course of the association through organizational development and strategic planning. As part of a leadership team, Carol was instrumental in the development of a peer review certification process, recognized nationally as a model for other states. As one of the longest tenured executives in Connecticut, Carol has demonstrated an unparalleled commitment to adult day services and has been a mentor to others.


Carol Burns receives the 2015 Ruth Von Behren Award from Laura Dreibelbis.

As executive director of River House of Greenwich, CT (formerly known as Greenwich Adult Day Center), Carol is credited with implementing new innovative programs such as Master Mind, a memory enhancement program; The Gazebo, a program for advanced dementia; A.C.E., a therapeutic recreation program on-site at Greenwich Hospital; the Caregiver Circle, an education and support series for caregivers; and Teens Teach Tech, a collaborative program with local high school students. She has been among the most visible proponents of improving access and the quality of care for participants.

One of Carol’s greatest local achievements was the development of River House, a premiere adult day center overlooking the Mianus River. It was Carol’s dream to upgrade from the basement level of a local nursing facility to a property worthy of the seniors that she served. Carol was the driving force behind a $4.7 million capital campaign to renovate a donated piece of historic property, formerly a 1927 pump house, and turn it into a state of the art future home now known as River House. The capacity grew from 50 to 75 clients per day and River House became one of the largest independent not-for-profit facilities in Connecticut. Throughout Carol’s career, she has never stopped touching the lives of seniors, providing hands-on care whenever needed.

Posted in NADSA Awards


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