Patricia (“Paddy”) Moore, an Island activist for seniors, was announced as this year’s Spirit of the Vineyard award recipient. She is being recognized by Vineyard Village at Home “for her outstanding volunteer service to the community,” according to a press release from the organization.
“Paddy has distinguished herself in notable ways in our community. Due to her determination and persistence, she has enabled several Island organizations to a) come into existence, and b) serve the particular needs of our senior citizens. It is for this reason that we are excited and proud to recognize Paddy Moore as this year’s incredibly deserving recipient of the Spirit of the Vineyard award,” the press release stated.
Moore’s work on behalf of Island seniors began after a career in healthcare mediation and consulting to executives, according to the release. While volunteering at the Dukes County Health Council, she initiated the Rural Scholars program in collaboration with the University of Massachusetts to address Island issues, including “drug use by Island youth, attitudes towards healthcare for women, and [tick-borne] illnesses, among others,” the release says. One survey showed that the fastest-growing population on Martha’s Vineyard were people 65 and older, which led Moore to establish the Healthy Aging Task Force, now known as Healthy Aging Martha’s Vineyard.
“It showed at the interview level what older adults would need,” Moore told The Times. Moore’s response to the issue “brought cutting-edge thinking and programming to the attention of Islanders through the many public forums she fostered,” according to the release. Other programs that grew from creating the Healthy Aging Task Force were First Stop, a searchable clearinghouse for Island services available to seniors that included a computer program to help seniors enroll in the Island’s Council on Agings’ offerings, and a day program for “people suffering from dementia” that allowed people to care for “loved ones at home while managing to continue working.”
A concept Moore introduced to Islanders was the Green House elder home model, “which seeks to redefine residential care and give elders the privacy they deserve, as well as the support they rely on.” This model is what is being used for Navigator Homes of Martha’s Vineyard, a skilled nursing home that will replace Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Oak Bluffs. The Green House model is used in 380 communities in the U.S., and “has been adopted as the best model for nursing home care by the U.S. Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services,” according to the release. This model for Vineyarders was developed by Moore through a partnership between Healthy Aging and Martha’s Vineyard Hospital.
“When it is built, it will stand as a lasting legacy of how Vineyarders rally to take care of our elders. And we will have Paddy Moore to thank for inspiring others and working to make it a reality,” the release stated.
Outside of elder advocacy, Moore helped get facilitators for the Sacred Ground program at the First Congregational Church of West Tisbury and the Federated Church of Martha’s Vineyard. This program “seeks to recognize and honor the place of our Native American tribes in our history and our community” through spiritual and historical teachings, according to the release. Moore told The Times this was a curriculum designed by the Episcopal Church that takes a person through American history, starting with the Doctrine of Discovery, “basically telling the untold stories.”
When asked how it felt to be the Spirit of the Vineyard award recipient, Moore said she was startled but very happy. “It’s very exciting,” she said.
Moore will be honored in a reception on Saturday, Dec. 3, at the West Tisbury Congregational Church from 4 to 6 pm.