55Plus: MVCL Supportive Day Program to reopen in-person Monday, Oct. 19

Here’s an interview with Mary Holmes, supportive day program supervisor, about the upcoming opening of in-person care.


Tell us the latest news at the Center.

Like everyone else on Martha’s Vineyard, we closed the physical building on March 13, in line with the CDC and Mass.gov guidelines at the onset of the COVID-19 response. For the past six months, we have adapted and changed our delivery of services in multiple ways.

We continued our programs with two goals: continue providing respite and support to caregivers, and social engagement for our clients. We have done this with cards and letters, friendly phone calls, activity packages, and a regular Zoom Supportive Day Program, Monday through Thursday. The center also increased the frequency of meetings of the Dementia Caregiver Support Group, to every Friday morning from 10 to 11 am over Zoom.

Over the summer, with a grant from the Permanent Endowment for Martha’s Vineyard, we expanded our reach to include TV for Living on MVTV. We just finished producing 10 episodes, and will continue this series indefinitely. We have a regular Wednesday 11 am slot on Channel 13. TV for Living brings caregivers tools and activity ideas for living with someone with dementia.

Our goal now is reopening the in-person Supportive Day Program, but keeping all our virtual Zoom and television outreach. So on Monday, Oct. 19, we plan to bring a small number of clients back to the building, to provide respite and support to our caregivers.

How will you do this? 

We will follow the health guidelines: no more than 10 people in proximity, our hours will be shortened, we will be socially distancing ourselves, and following all the proper safety protocols.

We will continuously monitor the community information as we move ahead. We will do our utmost to keep clients and staff safe.

What is your biggest challenge? 

Our challenge is to continue all the work we are doing: Zoom programs and TV for Living while reinitiating the much-needed in-person program. We want to keep both going because some of our clients are choosing to stay at a distance. One of the added benefits of Zoom has been welcoming new Islanders to the virtual program — many may have limited transportation or means to attend in person.

This is also a really big announcement. 

Yes, and we think it’s so important that we initiate this for our clients. We also know that across the state and the Cape, many Adult Day Health programs have closed; home care services are limited and in high demand. This has been devastating to the community of those working and living with dementia. Martha’s Vineyard Center for Living now has the opportunity to lead in this new field of engaging elders with new technology and providing care to a rather exhausted group of caregivers.

For more information, contact the Center for Living at 508-939-9440 or visit the website, mvcenter4living.org