Life Enrichment Center at Oyster Bay

Coronavirus Updates

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Community Resources

April 1, 2021

A message from our Executive Director, Judy Palumbo

Happy Days are Here Again, The Skies Above are Clear Again… Good things are happening at the Center with breaking news – we are re-opening! We have so much information to share as we prepare for our opening, and we want to keep you up to date on all that is happening at the Center.

Opening date is April 12th (barring any unforeseen circumstances)! It is an understatement to say we are jumping for joy in anticipation of seeing old friends once again gather at the Center. We are purposely keeping programming light to allow people to kick back, relax, and reconnect with friends. We also want to safely ease back into our pre-pandemic programs and services. We can operate at a 40% capacity to start, so there will be restrictions on the number of people we can serve for lunch, or how many can participate in an exercise class. Not everyone is ready to be out and about however, so we hope that 40% will accommodate the demand. If not, we may have to limit attendance to alternating days, but we will cross that bridge when we come to it.

Grab-and-Go lunches will continue to be available for people who are not ready to return to in-person programming. As restrictions ease, we will slowly increase on-site dining and phase out Grab-and-Go meals. We will always have fond memories of our brief but meaningful daily interactions with people.

In other good news, our beloved Chef Anthony is fully recovered and better than ever after having back surgery last month. We now have a new and improved chef in our new and improved kitchen! Last year we received a generous contribution from Manuel H. Barron to support our work at the Center. With his help we were able to renovate the kitchen, updating and upgrading all our commercial appliances. When you are savoring one of Chef Anthony’s special lunches, remember to say a little thank you in your heart to Mr. Barron for his contribution to your delicious meal. We are planning a celebration with a special meal with a ribbon cutting ceremony to be announced.

The skies above are clear again, happy days are here again!
Judy Palumbo, Executive Director

March 1, 2021

A message from our Executive Director, Judy Palumbo

Can you believe it was one year ago this month that the pandemic turned our world upside down? Never in my wildest dreams did I think we would be in this position a year later. The good news is the infection rates are dropping and there is talk about reopening this month. Unfortunately, it is just talk right now and we do not have a definitive date yet. When we get the word, you will be the first to know.
 
Vaccines are still the number one topic of conversation – our phones are ringing off the hook! We are hearing success stories from many who are finding the elusive appointments, albeit painstakingly slow. The secret: persistence pays off. These are the top three sites to access vaccines:
We have heard of success at other small distribution sites and pop-ups, so keep your eyes & ears open.
 
The sooner we are all vaccinated the sooner we will have our programs up and running. We cannot wait to see you all and fill the rooms with activities – music, exercise, dance, and games. But mostly to gather and break bread with old friends, tell our COVID ‘war stories,’ and simply be in the company of people!
 
Warmest regards, Judy Palumbo, Executive Director
 
P.S. Our beloved Chef Anthony is ‘back’! Anthony had back surgery in January and has returned to the Center with a spring in his step! Dannette, his second in command in the kitchen, carried us through the past few weeks and did an amazing job.
 
P.P.S. March is Social Work Month. Our favorite social worker is right here at the Life Enrichment Center. Please give Beth a call sometime this month to let her know you appreciate her!
December 1, 2020

A message from our Executive Director, Judy Palumbo

Happy Holidays!  I’m struggling with my holiday message.  I want to send a message of good cheer, hope, and joy, but I feel remiss if I don’t also mention COVID, and the need for caution and restraint.  With the health and safety of our members in mind, we are suspending in-person programs, including lunch, for the last week in December.  We will be closed beginning December 24th, and resume in-person programming on January 3rd.

With that being said, I just want to bypass the holidays, and accelerate to 2021!  But not so fast, I cannot move ahead without reflecting on the year 2020.  I am not going to focus on the negative, but instead on the silver linings.  I feel particularly blessed to be a part of this Center, and here are a few reasons why:

  • Our dedicated and fearless staff. When other nonprofit organizations were struggling to get their staff back to work, ours never left.
  • The wise judgement of our board of directors. The sage guidance from our board to help make critical decisions for the safety of our members and staff, and future of the Center.
  • Our members who exhibited caution, resilience, and patience. Friends and neighbors who formed their own “bubbles” and “pods” and took care of each other.
  • Our devoted donors, patrons, and volunteers who support the Center through good times and bad. They could not have been more generous and caring to help meet the needs of the elderly in our community during this difficult time.

I am feeling a bit more festive now!  If you take a few moments to find the silver linings of 2020, I guarantee you will feel a little more like celebrating.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, and Happy New Year!
With much love and hope, Judy

November 1, 2020

A Message from our Executive Director, Judy Palumbo

We did it – we are open!!! It is wonderful to see all your (masked) faces. Thank you all for your 100% compliance with procedures, and your thoughtfulness and concern for the safety of others. It is the only way we are going to get through this. I am doing my part, writing from home, under quarantine since returning from my son’s wedding in Florida. Try as I might to convince him to postpone the wedding, his new wife prevailed. You’ve heard the saying: “a son is a son ‘til he gets his wife…”.

As much as you may be tired of hearing about COVID (I believe they are calling it COVID fatigue), my message is to continue to be diligent! Stay masked, keep your social circle tight, and stay close to home, or else you will have to quarantine too. Take it from me – it is boring!

We are going to continue with the current schedule through November: In-house meals on Mon/Wed/Fri; Grab & Go meals on Tue/Wed/Thu; Delivery on Tuesdays. We will reevaluate in December and, based on the local infection rates, decide if we can expand our services.

In other news: we are hosting a virtual gala on November 7th! The gala is our biggest fundraiser for the year, and we rely on its proceeds to keep Center programs running. Instead of our usual in-person event with dinner, drinks, and dancing, we are presenting a virtual event via Zoom. Our supporters never cease to amaze me. Despite what little we have to offer compared to our past lavish galas, we have generous event sponsors and ticket buyers. There is still time to join the fun!

I cannot express how grateful we all are for the outpouring of support for the gala, and from our recent appeal. It is by far our most successful appeal ever. With no program revenue or fundraisers, your donations have kept our doors open. I like to believe in karma, and hope with all my heart that your generosity will come back to you twofold.

With much appreciation, Judy

October 1, 2020

Looking Ahead with Hope – A Message from our Executive Director, Judy Palumbo

After seven long months, we are finally ready to reopen. We thought we were going to throw open the doors this week and welcome people back with open arms (no hugs). The menu is set, the programs are scheduled, and yet we wait. We hope to reopen in mid-October, but we are not announcing a date until it is set in stone! When we do open, social distancing will limit our programs to half capacity. It has been a challenge for the staff to develop a schedule of activities deemed safe in this new environment. We have also been tasked with keeping groups of people together, much like the pods schools are using. Members will be assigned the same lunch day every week. Classes will be limited to the same 10 people. These restrictions will loosen up in time but for now we need to start slow.

Here are some other things you need to know:

  • All activities including lunches are by reservation only
  • Congregate lunches will be Mon/Wed/Fri, limited to 30 people
  • Grab-and-go lunch will still be available Monday through Friday
  • You must be temperature checked and sign a health attestation when entering the building
  • Enter the building through the front door, and exit through the back door
  • MASKS ARE REQUIRED AT ALL TIMES
  • PEOPLE MUST REMAIN 6 FEET APART
  • WASH AND SANITIZE YOUR HANDS FREQUENTLY
  • STAY HOME IF YOU ARE SYMPTOMATIC

We will have information posted in the building, and a full copy of our reopening plan will be available. The only way we will reopen safely (and stay open) is if people follow the rules. Our health is in each other’s clean hands. Thank you for your patience and understanding. Keep your spirits up – we will be together soon!

Missing you, Judy

August 31, 2020

Thank you for your support. This community, our donors, and our members, never cease to amaze me. I was at first reluctant to send a summer appeal knowing so many people had their own financial hardships to endure. After cutting expenses, reassessing our finances, and cutting again, I realized I must ask for help. An appeal letter went out, and the response was overwhelming. Our supporters generously donated more than ever before! Despite the uncertainty of these times, our community showed their dedication to the Center and our mission to serve local older adults.

We are by no means “out of the woods” (you can still donate!), but we are holding steady and optimistic that there are better times ahead. We are excited to announce we will be opening for in-person programs in late September. We are one of five senior service organizations in Nassau County cleared to open; call us guinea pigs or trailblazers depending on your perspective.

With your help we will forge ahead – albeit slowly and carefully. All of us at the Center want you to know how much your support means to us. We are truly grateful!
Many thanks, Judy

July 8, 2020
As of today, Long Island has entered Phase four of the New York Forward coronavirus plan. Activities most affected by this phase are low-risk outdoor and indoor arts & entertainment. While we are not quite ready to reopen our building for indoor activities, we are preparing our staff and facility to welcome members in a safe way at some point in the future. You’ll find social distancing floor decals leading into and inside the building at various areas, plexiglass dividers at the welcome desk and some staff desks, restrooms and other touch points being cleaned on a consistent schedule, plus we are researching an enhanced filtration system for our air conditioning to ensure COVID particles are captured prior to air re-circulation. Please let us know if you have any concerns or questions about entering the facility or participating in outdoor or indoor activities. Your health and safety is our number one concern, and we want to help keep you active and engaged in the community!
 
Nassau County Office for the Aging recently gave us a carload of animatronic cats and dogs, to ease the sense of isolation some of our members have been feeling due to the pandemic. Member Evelyn Gruber received a dog, and couldn’t have been more delighted!
June 1, 2020

Phase one is here! We are hopeful to stay on course, and if we continue safety practices that have been drilled into our brains, we may open our doors in a few weeks. Note: there is no commitment here, but know we are as anxious as you to resume our programs and see people face-to-face. Well, it will be half a face since we will all be wearing a mask. It goes without saying things will be different. There will be new safety procedures in place, and limitations on the number of people we can have in our programs at one time. A special THANK YOU to our volunteers who helped deliver meals, groceries and medication to our seniors in the last few weeks!

GRAB & GO lunches are now available Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays between 12:00 and 1:00 pm. Click Menu under the Programs heading above to see the anticipated schedule of lunch offerings (schedule is subject to change due to possible delivery delays). Call ahead by 2:00 pm the previous day to make your reservation. A more generous donation would be highly appreciated to help us cover additional packaging and supplies. Pickup will continue to occur outdoors on White Street, at the side door closest to the kitchen. Please wear a mask and gloves to protect yourself and our staff.

We are starting programs again virtually, on a limited basis. Call Beth at 516-922-1770 on Tuesdays or Thursdays, or email her at beth@lecob.org for more details on joining by computer, tablet/smartphone, or telephone.
Grumpy Old Men – Tuesdays at 10:30 am
Women of the Ages – Wednesdays at 10:30 am
Happy Hookers Crochet & Knit with Chris – Thursdays at 10:30 am

May 15, 2020
Starting Tuesday, May 19, GRAB & GO lunches will be available on Tuesdays and Thursdays starting at 12:00 pm. Call ahead by 2:00 pm the previous day to make your reservation. A more generous donation would be highly appreciated to help us cover additional packaging and supplies. Pickup will occur outdoors on White Street, at the side door closest to the kitchen. Please wear a mask and gloves to protect yourself and our staff.
 
For the time being, all indoor programs and activities continue to be cancelled. We will follow guidance by Nassau County and New York State officials on when it is safe to reopen our building to members.
April 22, 2020

More helpful tips from Manda Kristal, Financial Exploitation & Abuse Program Coordinator, at Family & Children’s Association.

Protect yourself from 2020 Census scams!

Scenario: In this scam, an imposter may call, email or come to your door to fill out a 2020 Census Survey. You may respond to the census by phone, email or online. If you do not respond, people may come to your house to help you respond to the survey.

What you need to know:
• The real US Census will only be mailed from Jeffersonville, Indiana
• The census bureau will not send an email asking you to participate in the census
• You will not be asked for immigration status, Social Security numbers, bank account or credit card information
• You will not be asked for your driver’s license, passport number or any numbers associated with financial holdings
• No person will ever threaten you with jail, detainment or deportment if you do not fill out the census

Protect Yourself:
• Verify any website you go on that mentions being affiliated with the census
• There is no payment or fee associated with completing the census
• Beware of phishing emails looking to get your personal information
• Do not click on links from sources you do not know
• Verify a census worker’s identity. Check for a valid ID badge with their photo, US Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date

Report the scam: If you suspect fraud, call the Census Contact Center at 800-923-8282.

If you have been a victim of a scam and would like to talk or need more information call Manda Kristal at 516-485-3425 extension 2333 or email mkristal@fcali.org.

April 14, 2020

Manda Kristal, Financial Exploitation & Abuse Program Coordinator with Family & Children’s Association, shared information with us recently on scams that are being perpetrated on seniors. If you have been a victim of a scam and would like to talk or need more information, call Manda at 516-485-3425 ext 2333, or email her at mkristal@fcali.org.

Scenario: In this scam, scammers may send phony alerts from the CDC (Center for Disease Control) or the WHO (World Health Organization) asking you to click on links to get local Covid-19 information. They may also send fake messages offering test kits, treatments such as lotions, potions, or over the counter drugs to treat or cure Covid-19, or they may ask you to download a form which asks for sensitive information such as your Medicare number, passwords and usernames. They may also ask you to donate money to specific charities.

Objective of the Scammer: In these situations, the scammer will urge you to give up personal information, click on unsafe links, or send money to non-verified charitable organizations or drives set up to help first responders.

Protecting Yourself:
• Do not give out personal or financial information to anyone you don’t know. Verify the identity of any charity, business or person contacting you regarding Covid-19.
• Never make a donation or pay for a service using a gift card, wire transfer or cash.
• Treat your Medicare number like a credit card. Do not give it to anyone other than your doctor or your medical care provider.
• Don’t click on links from unverified sources, especially those coming from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) or the World Health Organization (WHO). Doing so may infect your computer.
• Make sure your anti-malware software is operating and updated.
• Be cautious when purchasing medical supplies from unverified sources, especially through on-line ads, emails and phone solicitations. Ignore online offers, or door-to-door solicitors offering free Covid-19 testing, supplies or treatments.
• Be wary of Covid-19 “investment opportunities.” The SEC warns about online promotions of companies claiming they can prevent, detect or cure the virus.

Report the scam: Call the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) hotline: 866-720-5721 or email disaster@leo.gov.

April 2, 2020

Our doors are closed, but our hearts and minds are open…
Just like the invisible virus, you can’t see us, but we are here. For this very critical period as the pandemic reaches its apex, we are operating with a bare bones staff. We don’t know how long we will be closed. We’re hopeful we can reopen in May, but it will depend on the recommendations of the Governor and the CDC. I do know that all of us at the Center are looking forward to the day when we can welcome our old friends with open arms once again.

At this time, meal delivery is available but limited to emergency situations for those with food insecurity, or who are home bound. If you find yourself in need, please reach out. For everyone else, please stay home – stay safe.

Home is where you’ll find most of our staff. We’ve set up home offices, video conference calls, and an extensive phone reassurance program. We are connecting with hundreds of our members weekly to provide comfort and assess needs. Our social worker Beth is just a phone call away. We have a list of volunteers who are ready to be deployed who are willing to do grocery shopping or run errands for seniors.

The staff is developing virtual classes and finding resources to inform, entertain and engage our members. We will soon be hosting virtual support groups – get ready for online Senior Chat!

Stay positive and focus on the future, know that better times are coming, and life will be all the sweeter because of the hardships we’ve endured together while apart.

Judy Palumbo, Executive Director

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