Senior Advisory Committee pausing some programs

Rising Covid cases a concern
Thu, 08/19/2021 - 6:00pm

The Senior Advisory Committee is pausing some programs due to concerns about the rise in Covid cases. The seated chair strengthening exercise program at the community center will not meet for the rest of the month. Co-chair Sandra Kelly told the group there was concern about the recent spike in cases, especially regarding cases among those who are vaccinated.
“We’re going to reassess in September,” Kelly said, noting that a return to Zoom might be on the horizon.
The SAC has not started the Mexican Train dominoes group this summer, also due to Covid concerns, and Kelly said the group would not start up until at least the fall.
The fall will also bring back the Senior Rideshare program, once the taxis’ tourist season is over. The program provides taxi rides for seniors, paid for by the SAC. During the summer it is too hectic for the taxis to accommodate the seniors in addition to the regular fares. This makes it difficult for seniors who do not want to drive into town in the summer.
The Town of New Shoreham owns a van, donated to be used by the SAC and the Early Learning Center, but it is currently out of commission. The 2011 model van needs some repairs in order to pass the state inspection, and Kelly informed the committee that the estimate from local repair shop, Murphy’s Auto, was $2,966.06.

“We don’t have that in the budget,” Co-chair Gail Pierce said.

Several members of the committee questioned if it was appropriate for the SAC to foot the entire bill, given that it is a shared van that
is technically owned by the town.
“(The van) is ten years old. Keep that in mind,” Dottie Graham pointed out.
Kelly mentioned that the taxis would take over providing the ride service in the fall anyway, with Pierce advising the group they should start working on a solution for next summer, which may or may not include this van.
The group arrived at a consensus that they should not pay for the van expenses, with a short-term plan to reinstate the senior ride program in the fall using taxis.

Several SAC programs are continuing through the summer, including Tai Chi, which meets outside and via Zoom, Living with Loss Support Group and Caregivers Support Group, which meet at the community center, and the Soup Group, which also meets at the community center.

Kelly also reported that the Block Island Bulletin Board is still going strong with 1,501 members and 38,426 postings. Whether it is listing a boat for sale, advertising a free couch, or looking for a missing pet, each posting is reviewed and approved by a volunteer member of the SAC before being sent out to members’ inboxes.