Around the Island

Richard’s Almanac: Virtual tour, and the Island opens up

The Senior Center is planning a virtual scavenger hunt around the Island starting this week, according to Director Laurie Fanelli.

The current focus will be for the frail elderly folk and their caregivers, whether professional home aides or family or friends. The first scavenger hunt will be through Sylvester Manor. Then there will be a discussion on the hunt on Zoom on Friday. The seniors will be driven through the areas prior to the discussion group.

This program will be carried out by occupational therapy students from Touro College, Stony Brook University, Suffolk County Community College and a licensed occupational therapist.

It’s designed to provide a much needed shot-in-the-arm for seniors who have been on lockdown since March.

According to Laurie the program will move toward improving health through increasing engagement within the community.

“This will improve their quality of life by providing seniors with opportunities to do the things they need and want to do,” she said.

According to the prospectus, participants will explore the Island by car with their caregiver, exploring the natural environment, helping them feel comfortable, while reducing some of the stress and anxiety that has built up during this pandemic time.

It’s generally agreed upon by therapists that social interaction, even when it’s virtual, can help those with memory issues. This program is looking toward outcomes that create an increased sense of well being and an improved quality of life.

So, Shelter Island Senior Services will be the clinical site for the occupational therapy students. They will be working with Island seniors and their abilities to cope with the pandemic. This is a six-week program meeting once a week.

To register, please call the Senior Center at 631-749-1059.

Occupational therapists usually have a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree and must be licensed by their state. They work with individuals to help them do the things they want or need to do despite injury or illness. They deal with all age groups.

I must say I’ve noticed changes here since we went into lockdown in mid-March. When I go out in public, which for me is to the IGA, the Post Office, the hardware store and the dump, people seem to be getting more relaxed and not as tense as before. And I must say that everyone seems to be wearing a mask.

I went to the Historical Society’s farmers market last Saturday where masks and distancing were strictly enforced, yet without a feeling of rigidity. Everyone seemed to enjoy what the vendors had for sale. I did notice that sometimes I was unable to identify those who said “hello” to me because of the masks. Maybe we should put our names on the masks.

And our beaches are masterpieces of social distancing. We’re very fortunate here.