04/24/12 10:00am

Island residents age 55 and older comprise a significant proportion of our population. The following “overview” contains a listing of those organizations and programs that provide specific services for seniors.

Senior Citizens Affairs Council (SCAC)

The Council was organized in 1986 as an arm of the Shelter Island Town Board. Its mission is to coordinate and monitor all senior programs supported in whole or in part by the town, chief of which is:

The Office Of Senior Services (OSS) 

This office provides the following:

• Telephone Reassurance Program. Volunteers call home-bound seniors seven days a week and check on participants who do not answer the phone.

• On- and off-Island Transportation. Volunteers transport seniors to medical appointments.

They also provide a once-a-week local trip for shopping, banking and U.S. Post Office services.

• Home Caregivers Course. Provides local residents with the training to care for an elderly loved one at home.

In addition, the OSS hosts the AARP Defensive Driving Course twice a year and maintains an early-warning hotline in anticipation of a weather-related emergency.

Henrietta Roberts is the coordinator of the Office of Senior Services. Dana Hallman is the administrative assistant. They can be reached at 749-1059, weekdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Ron Lucas is the chairman of the Senior Citizens Affairs Council. He can be contacted through the Office of Senior Services.

Christine Lewis is the Town Board liaison to  SCAC. She can be reached by calling Town Hall 749-0291.

Senior Citizens Foundation of Shelter Island, Inc.

The foundation was organized in 1999 as a private, non-profit entity. Its mission is to provide additional funding for existing senior programs endangered by shortfalls in county and state Office for the Aging funding, special financial assistance to local seniors in need and to projects approved by the foundation’s Board of Directors.

In 2011, for example, the foundation gave the Town of Shelter Island $8,000 towards the purchase of the kitchen equipment needed to bring the Senior Activity Center kitchen in compliance with the Suffolk County Department of Health Services’ code.

In early 2012, the foundation provided financial assistance to three Island seniors who were having difficulty paying their fuel bills.

The foundation raises money through its annual appeal to the Shelter Island community. All donations are tax deductible. Currently there is an eight-member Board of Directors of which Seymour Weissman is the president. He too can be reached through the Office of Senior Services at 749-1059.

Senior Home Repair Program

Funding for this program is provided in part by the Town of Shelter Island, the Suffolk County Office for the Aging and the New York State Office for the Aging.

It is open to Shelter Island residents age 60 and over, providing help with non-emergency repairs such as replacing light bulbs or repairing broken windows or screens.

Labor is free. Participants only pay for materials. To schedule an appointment or for more information, call Karin Bennett or Barbara Bloom, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Town Hall —749-0291.

Senior Nutrition Program

A county- and town-supported lunch program that offers congregate meals known as the Dinner Bell on Mondays and Fridays at the Shelter Island Presbyterian Church.

Volunteers deliver Meals-on-Wheels on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

The program is open to Island residents, 55 or older; suggested donation is $3. Reservations are requested. Call Karin Bennett, site manager, at 749-0805 or 749-0291 for information and reservations.

Shelter Island Senior Citizens Association (SISCA)

This organization was founded in 1972. Its meetings include educational and social programs and special events. It also sponsors trips open to all Island seniors.

Annual dues are $10 per person. The Town Board continues to allocate $3,000 in its recreation budget to SISCA. These funds are used to subsidize bus trips and site rental.

The current president is Emily Hallman, who can be contacted at 749-5092.