For current information on the state of the senior center and its programs, please read this update from our Director.
Well what a year it has been. It was March 16t 2020 when The Estuary Council had to pause most of our programming and suspend activities. We all had to change how we went about our daily lives due to the COVID pandemic. We missed our card games, we missed our gym and exercise classes, we missed our Thrift Shop and our painting classes. We missed seeing each other, laughing and enjoying this great center. Most of all, the staff and I have missed you!
One year ago, we canceled our congregate dinning in Old Saybrook, Old Lyme, Clinton and Killingworth. We started a “Grab & Go” meal service in Old Saybrook and Old Lyme, and Clinton that continues today. With our Grab& Go service, we were able to see many of our old friends and we have even made a lot of new friends. I have had the privilege of seeing many of you stop by to chat from your car while picking up your meal. It has been great to catchup, and try to get you all to guess the answer to the ‘joke of the day”! I must admit, it is not the same as seeing everyone sitting with friends and enjoying our delicious lunches. However, this was something that had to be done to keep everyone healthy and safe. I am proud to say that we have accomplished that task! However, we still have more to do.
Here we are one year later, the pandemic is still with us, but we are getting vaccinated and there is finally some light in what surely has been a dark year. With vaccinations ramping up, the question we are being asked many times a day is ‘when are we going to open up?” Well my friends the answer is a complicated one. We have never closed the center, as we have continued our nutrition program, which has increased almost 30%. Myself and the staff have continued to come to work, answer the phones, clean the building from top to bottom, we have held town halls with the community to keep everyone up to date on the latest developments at the Estuary and to answer any questions you may have had. . As we like to say, ‘we’re still here”!!! We started our EMOTS medical transportation program back up in June, and opened our thrift shop and Gym in Sept. We have started doing haircuts and nursing services as well as benefits counseling all by appointment only. We continue to monitor trends in the pandemic and we are in touch with state & local leaders to determine when we will be able to open fully. The challenge currently for us is space. We simply do not have the space for everyone to come back to the center and adequately social distance. Therefore, we must continue to limit attendance at the center and offer our services by appointment only for the time being. We will continue to update you as things change so keep watching our website and facebook page for new information.
Also, we have taken this time to rethink some areas of our facility and improve upon them. As many of you know, we have begun construction on a new front entrance. When completed, we will have separate entry and exit with automatic doors. Our lobby will also get a re-fresh with a new reception area. I am sure you will all love our new look.
Another project on the horizon is our landscaping and grounds. We have identified a landscape architect and contractor to add an exciting new feel to our grounds. As many of you know, we are fortunate that we have the most awesome views of the north cove. Our objective is that while we cannot gather inside, we can do so outside most months of the year. We plan to upgrade our patio for more seating and dining options, and we will offer an outdoor senior playground!!…you might find me out there more often than in my office!!The grounds will be a place you can come to relax, have lunch with family and friends, or just take a leisurely stroll around, or sit and read. Whatever you like to do, there will be a space for you to enjoy! I am excited and looking forward to these wonderful changes to our facility.
We had planned to make some of these changes in the coming years, but COVID has pushed up our timetable. I want to thank my staff and our Board for coming along with me on this ride, for seeing the value in the vision I have for the future of our organization. We could not accomplish all that we do without them and without you!
You have all done such a great job this past year of keeping yourselves safe and checking in on friends and family. It warms my heart that we have truly built a family here at the Estuary Council.
So please continue to have patience with us as we move closer to opening up. We are here in the office and available to answer any questions or just to chat or lend a friendly ear. Let us know how we can help. “We are still here”!
Remember, we are not out of the woods yet. Please continue to wear your masks, social distance when you can, and wash your hands frequently.
We miss you all and look forward to a bright future!