The need for senior caregivers is increasing
“A serious situation that concerns us a lot” occupied the Senior Advisory Committee for much of its meeting last Tuesday.
But first, the housekeeping was done by President Sandra Kelly, who hosted Hilary Transue at her first committee meeting after calling the busy meeting to order. Transue received a warm welcome from everyone and before the meeting was over she had volunteered to deliver meals and participate wherever needed.
The committee’s concerns revolve around a growing and immediate island-wide need for more and pervasive caregivers.
housing challenges. Three people need immediate help. “It has become a crisis,” said Gloria Redlich, SAC coordinator.
These people need prolonged help. VNA nurse Sandra Mott, who Redlich said “is
a godsend ”, but the city faces long-term challenges. Of the year-round population, 35 to 42 percent are seniors
more and more need help with daily tasks as they get older.
“The residents stood up and spoke at the Financial Town reunion about the island’s legacy,” Kelly noted. “Most of
the island is its history and its people, and my question is, can we stay here? “
The committee decided that there needed to be an island-wide conversation that included the city council, an expanded human services component made up of churches, NAMI-BI, housing council, central medical and others. The committee voted to draft a letter to forward to the city manager and council for review and action.
Ideally, a long-term solution could involve a facility where caregivers and senior housing could coexist, but the committee
recognized that it would be years in the making with a million dollar price tag. “We have to find solutions today and that is to keep people in their homes as long as possible by providing services,” suggested Gail Pierce.
“Housing comes again and again,” said Member Jennifer Phillips. “It’s not going away.”
In other cases, the Committee reviewed its financial statements and indicated that it needed to meet with Deputy Director of Finance Mona Helterline to address issues prior to the year-end grant and budget cycles. There are still funds that could
be assigned to rides or other urgent needs.
Members noted that the Block Island bulletin board had 36,103 posts from 1,459 participating members. The committee voted to resuscitate the soup group over the summer, while maintaining strengthening exercises at the community center as
authorized and via Zoom. Support groups for caregivers and people living with loss will also begin meeting in June at the Community.
Center. Tai Chi continues.