Finding the right caregiver

Thu, 03/14/2019 - 5:45pm

The growing demand for caregivers on Block Island led Senior Coordinator Gloria Redlich to call for a better system of matching needs with available resources. She told the Senior Advisory Committee at its February meeting that Human Services Coordinator Maryann Seebeck agrees with her, and may be able to help.

“Maryann and I are of like mind that this kind of process needs more oversight, it needs more coordination, and we’re going to put our heads together” with SAC leadership, Redlich said. One possible solution would be to expand the Human Services Coordinator’s responsibilities to formally include coordinating the caregiver search.

“Maryann can offer that oversight. She has the credentials” as a Registered Nurse to do so, Redlich continued. “We have to have an efficient, effective process for all of this.”

The process will need to include background checks for caregivers. Until now, Redlich explained, she has put families in contact with caregivers who have worked on the island in the past and who had positive, if informal, recommendations from previous clients.

Since last summer, however, caregivers have been moving to Block Island and looking for placements.

“Now that we’re getting new people, getting resumes and credentials and recommendations” is more important, Redlich said. “So we have to formalize (the matching process). It will need more planning and involvement.”

Upcoming events

The committee is continuing follow-up discussions of its 2018 survey of residents and caregivers. Redlich hopes to invite Bill Flynn, Executive Director of the Senior Agenda Coalition of Rhode Island, to meet with the Committee (tentatively in March). According to Redlich, Flynn has led workshops that develop personal narratives from survey responses. The narratives can be used to garner support for improved services.

Redlich and the Committee are planning a series of workshops on the island with the Alzheimer’s Association’s Rhode Island office, in addition to the statewide Alzheimer’s conference on April 25 in Warwick.

Also in the works are two programs during July and August to be led by Mary Ellen Thibodeau of the Parkinson’s Association. Both the Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Associations have presented at SAC-sponsored programs before.

February marked Jennifer Phillips’s first meeting as a newly appointed member of the Senior Advisory Committee. The committee’s next meeting will be March 19 at 9:30 a.m. at Town Hall.

For more information about available services and SAC programs, contact Senior Coordinator Gloria Redlich at or (401) 486-9278.