Health Column Q&A: Gregory Garrett of Peconic Landing

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 [email protected].