New senior coordinator announced
After a brief, closed session meeting among members of the the Senior Advisory Committee, it was announced, with a great deal of applause, that Anna Christina Rogers would be the new senior coordinator. The announcement comes after nearly a year-long search and was made at the SAC’s April 15 meeting.
Rogers has been a member of the Block Island Rescue Squad for the last four years and a live-in caregiver to senior Willis Dodge for the past seven years. She has a background in herbal medicine, massage therapy and injury rehabilitation. She will start in a few weeks time, after a brief trip to help a friend who is having a baby.
She also said she had a lot of questions about how to work toward the needs and goals of the senior community on Block Island. Rogers said that she felt her strong suit would be in the area of healthcare and care-giving. “So many seniors do not have a caregiver to ask questions of and there are so many levels of care-giving. I’d like to find ways to get volunteers trained to become caregivers, to be able to check in with seniors and know how to ask the right questions,” said Rogers.
Rogers also told the group that her overall goals would be “to make people smile and make them feel comfortable.”
Co-chair Sandy Kelly next gave an update on Notify Now. Town Manager Nancy Dodge is working with the town’s IT expert, Michele Spero, to set up the program, which is a way to notify seniors, as well as other members of the community, via landline, text or email, of impending emergencies that could impact the island. The start-up costs would only be about a dollar per household and will be funded by the town. According to Kelly, there may be a way in the future for non-profits to create notifications on the same system for no additional cost.
In other news, the Recreation Board has asked that a member of the SAC join its group. SAC member Deb Martin asked, “What kinds of things are they looking for from us?”
“There are only a few programs for the 50 and older groups. The Recreation Board needs input on ways to better serve that population,” said SAC Co-chair Gail Pierce. The SAC member sitting on the recreation board would be an alternate position.
Pierce led the meeting with a question that focused on the goals of the SAC itself: “What are the needs of the senior population?” The committee debated whether a needs assessment should be undertaken to provide updated answers about what seniors need most and who would develop a needs assessment.
The SAC also hoped it could secure an intern for the summer, a student earning an undergraduate degree in family health that could be here for the summer and put in about 100 hours of service that would go toward their undergraduate degree.