07/05/15 2:00pm
07/05/2015 2:00 PM
Gregory Garrett, executive vice president and administarator of health services for Peconic Landing. (Credit: Peconic Landing)

Gregory Garrett, executive vice president and administarator of health services for Peconic Landing. (Credit: Peconic Landing)

Big things are in the pipeline at Peconic Landing.

Next May, the Greenport retirement community will open two new specialized treatment centers: a 16-suite “memory care unit” for residents suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s and a 16-suite short-term rehabilitation center. The additions are part of a $44 million construction project the facility began last year.

“We’ve broken ground and are framing the building now,” said Gregory Garrett, Peconic Landing’s executive vice president and administrator of health services. “We’re really moving along now.”

Mr. Garrett, a central New York native who lives in Mattituck with his wife, Maria, and their kids, Michael, 9, and Kaitlyn, 7, joined the Peconic Landing team nine years ago. He is currently responsible for all aspects of Peconic Landing’s health services: the nursing home, enriched living residence, the home care agency and the organization’s physicians’ clinic.

“When I came here for the job interview I said to myself, ‘I have to get this job,’ ” he recalled. “I fell in love with the North Fork.”

Last week, I chatted with Mr. Garrett about his work at Peconic Landing and the facility’s new memory care unit. Here are some excerpts from that conversation.

Q: What do you enjoy most about your job?

A: That’s easy: the people. I grew up in the industry and I find it to be a privilege to serve the residents we serve and to learn from them. What I also love just as much are the amazing team members I get to work with on a daily basis. The type of people I work with is just a caring, wonderful group.

Q: What’s a typical day like for you?

A: The great thing about life at Peconic Landing is that there is no regular day. When you’re serving human beings, things change on a regular basis. I’m fortunate in my position to be able to sit with a resident and spend time with them, help them with any concerns. But at the same time, I have the opportunity to be involved in all other aspects of our community, such as cultural arts, marketing and finance.

Q: How did the idea for the memory care unit come to fruition?

A: About nine years ago, when I came to Peconic Landing, we felt that it was something we could do better. We provide memory support for our residents at all levels of care at this time, but we felt that if we could individualize the care and promote that sense of purpose that we could do a better job for our residents. And not only our residents, but the community. It’s also something that’s really lacking on the East End.

Q: What kind of care will the unit provide?

A: A lot of that is going to depend on the population. The way we look at it, we have to provide individualized care and activities to provide purpose to our residents. That purpose is going to be different for each individual. We’ll use certain technologies that are unobtrusive to help us monitor the residents and see what their daily routine is.

Q: Tell me more about the type of individualized activities residents will be able to take part in.

A: From the moment a person becomes a member of our care center we try to identify who the person is, and who the person was, by working with the family to identify what their profession was, what their interests were. That’s where we can develop a program. So the sky’s the limit in terms of what we’ll provide. For instance, if a gentleman was passionate about washing his car then we’ll provide a bucket, a car, some soap and a hose for washing it on a daily basis. For that moment in time, that resident will have a purpose.

Have a health question or column idea for Rachel Young? Email her at ryoung@timesreview.com.

07/03/15 2:30pm
07/03/2015 2:30 PM
Robert Mince, 66, has his artwork on display in the hallway of the Riverhead Town Senior Center, where he spends a lot of his time during the week. (Credit: Joe Werkmeister)

Robert Mince, 66, has his artwork on display in the hallway of the Riverhead Town Senior Center, where he spends a lot of his time during the week. (Credit: Joe Werkmeister)

As a visitor approaches, the man with graying hair sits at a table, blending in among the dozen or so other senior citizens. He turns his head and introduces himself, politely asking if he can finish his oatmeal. He loves oatmeal.

“A lot of people complain that they don’t like it,” he later comments.

His name is Robert Mince, the son of a famous clarinet player, a man who can sing opera, who plays the piano and spends much of his time painting abstract drawings using bright, vibrant colors.  (more…)

06/21/15 7:00am
06/21/2015 7:00 AM
Raw milk at Ty Llwyd Farm in Northville costs $6 a half-gallon. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo, file)

Raw milk at Ty Llwyd Farm in Northville costs $6 a half-gallon. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo, file)

Last week, when my coworker posted a picture to Facebook of a bottle of raw milk she had just purchased from Ty Llwyd Farm in Northville, I was intrigued — and a little unnerved.

After all, Louis Pasteur, who discovered the principles of pasteurization in the 19th century, was revered in my elementary school science classes. It was there that I learned how lucky I was that Pasteur had figured out how to prevent dangerous bacteria from contaminating the chocolate milk I loved so much. Why would anyone choose to seemingly go back in time and drink it raw? And is the practice dangerous? (more…)

06/18/15 3:00pm
06/18/2015 3:00 PM

For those who may be swimming in the Peconic River or eating fish caught in area waters in the wake of a pair of fish kills that have led to the death of thousands of bunker, the Suffolk County Department of Health has issued a Peconic River recreation advisory, reminding residents to “follow some common-sense recommendations.” (more…)

06/14/15 5:59am
06/14/2015 5:59 AM
(Credit: Caroline, Flickr)

(Credit: Caroline, Flickr)

A new bill passed unanimously last week by the Suffolk County Legislature will help keep kids healthy by blocking the sale of toys containing potentially unsafe levels of lead and other chemicals linked to serious health conditions.

The Toxin Free Toys Act aims to protect children from toys that contain “potentially unsafe levels of six hazardous chemicals” and known carcinogens, according to a press release. If the proposal is signed into law by Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, the county Department of Health will begin notifying retailers in January. Beginning December 2016, inspectors would conduct random checks for unsafe toys at stores using an X-ray fluorescence analyzer, which evaluates the items’ chemical composition.

“As a mother, I am outraged that children’s toys contain these toxic chemicals that can cause cancer, learning and developmental disabilities and respiratory, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal disorders,” said county Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket), who sponsored the bill.

Similar anti-toxin measures were recently signed into law in Albany and Westchester counties.

Under the proposal, toys sold in Suffolk County would only be allowed to contain strictly regulated amounts of antimony, arsenic, cadmium, cobalt, lead and mercury.

“I certainly wouldn’t want to give anything bad or toxic to a child,” said Kathy Halliwell, owner of Goldsmith’s Toys and Electronics in Greenport. “We carry all quality toys here.”

Suffolk County’s initiative was introduced in response to a report issued by the New York League of Conservation Voters and Clean & Healthy New York that found “several products” containing toxic components on Long Island store shelves.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, lead paint was banned by the United States in 1978 but is still widely used by other countries in manufacturing toys. Because lead is odorless and invisible to the naked eye, young children can inadvertently expose themselves to it when they put toys that contain lead in their mouths.

While the use of lead paint is prohibited, the use of lead in plastic toys hasn’t been banned in the U.S. According to the CDC, lead softens plastic and makes it more flexible.

Only a certified laboratory can accurately test a toy for lead, the CDC said, and a blood test is the only way a child’s lead levels can be measured.

For a list of recalled toys, visit cpsc.gov.

Have a health column idea or question for Rachel Young? Email her at ryoung@timesreview.com

06/07/15 5:58am
06/07/2015 5:58 AM
Aside from being delicious, strawberries are packed with antioxidants and vitamin C. What's not to love? (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)

Aside from being delicious, strawberries are packed with antioxidants and vitamin C. What’s not to love? (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)

“Popeye” character J. Wellington Wimpy famously promised that he’d “gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today,” but I’d rather have a cup of fresh strawberries. And, like Wimpy, I want them right now.

Aside from being delicious, strawberries are fat-free, rich in dietary fiber and packed with vitamin C and antioxidants. Combined, these attributes make my favorite fruit “nutritional jewels,” said dietitian Lara McNeil of East End Nutrition in Riverhead.  (more…)