BEVERLEA WALZ PHOTO | Home care-giving course graduates at the Senior Activity Center, from the left: Tony Montalvo, Alex Binder, Instructor Lois Charls, Emma Goodale and Rudy Kehoe.
The annual Home Care course has been sponsored by the Senior Citizens Affairs Council for almost 20 years and is considered by many to be the one program unique to Shelter Island among all the programs offered by the Office of Senior Services.
This year the scheduling of the program, which is free to Island residents, was in jeopardy; there were too few prospective students and the likelihood of its being cancelled loomed large at the beginning of March.
Mary “Rudy” Kehoe saw the poster advertising the course on the Senior Bulletin Board at IGA and signed up, thus ensuring the course would run.
Lois Charls, R.N. has been the instructor since 2001. She describes the course content as meeting the Suffolk County Office for the Aging instructional guidelines for a Level 1 home care-giver course.
The care-giver’s duties may include light housekeeping, preparing meals, changing bed linens, escorting the elderly loved one (or client) to appointments and community events and providing companionship. The focus, in sum, is on caring for an elderly relative at home.
Lois’s credentials as course instructor are impressive. She was an OR nurse for 40 years at Brookhaven Memorial Hospital in Patchogue and, on retiring, joined the Dominican Sisters in Greenport, serving as one of their visiting nurses on Shelter Island and elsewhere on the East End.
Rudy Kehoe, who was one of the four graduates last Friday night, said in a phone interview, “The course was informative, fun and free.” Her mother is 91 and she anticipates being a primary home care-giver in the years to come.
Special thanks to Tony Montalvo and Alex Binder, two other graduates, for their positive comments on the Home Care course. Space limitations this week make it impossible to include their remarks.