SAC looking for CNA candidates
The Senior Advisory Committee is moving forward with plans to utilize the Community Center as a senior center. During the committee meeting on November 16, Co-Chair Sandra Kelly presented a draft of the annual budget for next year, which included money for a part time staff person.
The goal is to have the center open two days a week for a few hours in the morning. “The senior center will provide a gathering place for our senior community, in which there is an ongoing need to combat isolation and loneliness among our seniors,” Kelly’s report said. The program would run for 32 weeks, and the proposed annual cost is under five thousand dollars. The SAC is also considering starting the program this winter using volunteers in order to gauge the level of interest.
The draft budget also contained money to fund the Certified Nursing Assistant program the SAC would like to implement. The plan is to pay for the cost of certification of two island residents in exchange for agreements to work on Block Island as CNAs for two years. The SAC needs certified nursing assistants because most insurance plans will only pay for the service if the provider is certified.
The SAC has already secured a pledge to cover the cost of the tuition at Community College of Rhode Island. CCRI offers a 13-week course with some online learning and some in-person class attendance. For the Block Island participants, the in-person classes create the usual logistical problems and necessitate overnight stays on the mainland. Since the tuition has been pledged by a donor, the SAC is planning to cover the lodging and transportation costs, as well as the books and supplies. Altogether, the SAC is planning to spend under $3,000 for the program, the result of which will be two CNAs on the island to serve the elderly population.
The SAC is also looking to provide training for home companion aides. Kelly called it the “most important need at this point.” A home companion aide provides nonmedical support, such as running errands, helping around the house, and providing companionship. The SAC plans to offer two on-island training opportunities. The training will be two days, three hours each day. The SAC will soon announce the dates and times of the training days, as well as begin its search for candidates for the CNA program. The SAC is also looking for volunteers to help get the senior center off the ground.