Tender Years Treasury. Photo from Town of Smithtown

The Smithtown Senior Citizens and Recreation Departments are actively seeking crafters to book tables and showcase their offerings at the annual Tender Years Treasury event. The special shopping experience for children to purchase affordable, handcrafted holiday gifts for their families will be held on Saturday, December 2nd from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.  at the Eugene Cannataro Senior Citizens Center located at 420 Middle Country Road in Smithtown. Senior crafters can reserve a table at no cost to them through the Smithtown Senior Citizens Department or by calling 631-360-7616.

“This event is always so well received by the community. We have so many incredibly gifted senior residents, all of whom are remarkably talented at making hand-crafted gift items. I had the pleasure of speaking with a few of our center’s quilters last week. The quality in craftsmanship leaves you speechless. I can’t wait to see who participates this year… The Tender Years Treasury gives kids the chance to shop for family and friends using their own allowance money, without ruining the surprise. The lesson in independence, combined with multiple generations of Smithtown community members, all coming together to keep the magic of the holiday season an everlasting tradition, makes this event truly unique and beloved by all,” said Supervisor Ed Wehrheim.

The Tender Years Treasury is an award-winning program for children, hosted by the Smithtown Senior Citizens Department and the Recreation Department with support from the Youth Bureau. Senior residents within the Town of Smithtown create handmade items, which are available for purchase, and must be priced at $5 and under. The Youth Bureau’s volunteer students chaperone young gifters through the shopping experience, so they may choose holiday gifts for family and friends, without ruining the surprise. Popular handcrafted gift items may include jewelry, scarves, hats, wreaths, ornaments, pot holders, key chains, etc. There is no charge for crafters tables, and all monies collected belong to the crafter.

To Reserve a Craft Table:

For questions or more information about booking a craft table for the Tender Years Treasury, call Patty or Mae at the Senior Citizens Department at (631)360-7616.

  • ●  Participating crafters must be Smithtown residents and a senior citizen (60 years of age and older.)
  • ●  All proceeds from the sale of goods belong to the seller.
  • ●  All items on the selling floor must be priced at $5 or less.
  • ●  There is no charge for tables.

    The Smithtown Senior Citizens Department located at 420 Middle Country Road, Smithtown

Artist Ann Pols. Photo courtesy of Jefferson's Ferry
Artist Ann Pols with one of her paintings.
Photo courtesy of Jefferson’s Ferry

Jefferson’s Ferry’s resident and avid painter Ann Pols was recently recognized among the winners of LeadingAge New York’s annual art competition. Her “Seaside Fourth” is one of 70 paintings that was selected out of 218 entries for a traveling exhibit that will be displayed at LeadingAge NY’s annual conference and in the advocacy group’s headquarters outside of Albany. 

LeadingAge represents not-for-profit, mission-driven and public continuing care providers, including nursing homes, senior housing, adult care facilities, continuing care retirement communities, assisted living and community service providers. 

A 19-year resident of Jefferson’s Ferry, a Life Plan Community in South Setauket, Ann recalls dabbling in art as a child but didn’t think she had any talent for it. 

At the age of 86, despite being blind in one eye and relying on her non-dominant hand due to a stroke, Ann joined an art class at Jefferson’s Ferry Bove Health Center, and felt that something was awoken inside of her. She rediscovered painting and regularly joins her fellow residents in painting classes and studio time. 

When asked what her artistic process is, Ann says that she chooses her subjects by looking at pictures and first sketches, then paints the subject. Her award-winning painting is one of approximately 30 drawings she has done over the past five years.

Photo courtesy of LI Game Farm

The Long Island Game Farm in Manorville has announced that it will continue its new social club for seniors through September. Every Thursday morning through September 26, senior citizens (65 years+) can visit the animals, walk the grounds (get your steps in!), attend a presentation in the newly renovated Woodland Hall, and enjoy a beverage and snacks with fellow seniors. The special rate is $10 per person. Reservations are strongly encouraged and can be made by calling 631-878-6644.

Photo courtesy of LI Game Farm

“Inspiring a love of nature through educational programming is important to our mission,” shares Long Island Game Farm president Melinda Novak. “Being able to launch a special social club for seniors and utilize the newly renovated Woodland Hall for this purpose is pretty exciting for us. I’m also excited to give the first presentation about life on the game farm, including my family’s 50+ year history.”

Each week guests will begin a walk on the grounds at 10 a.m., visiting animals and learning more about the various species at the game farm. At 11 a.m., seniors will gather in Woodland Hall for talks that will vary weekly. Topics include rescued animals, birding, nature photography, and more.

Tickets are $10 per person and for seniors only. Please do not bring grandchildren. Pets are not allowed.

For more information about the game farm and upcoming programming, visit


Long Island Game Farm Wildlife Park and Children’s Zoo was founded in 1970 by Stanley and Diane Novak. As the largest combined children’s zoo and wildlife park on Long Island, they offer families a natural environment where they can learn about wildlife and animals through education and entertainment. A member of American Association of Zookeepers and Zoological Association of America, the farm is located at 489 Chapman Boulevard, Manorville, New York.


Residents and staff of Gurwin Healthcare System in Commack commemorated the 54th anniversary of Woodstock with a campus-wide celebration filled with peace, love and music at the System’s nursing and rehabilitation center, adult day care program, and assisted living and independent living communities on August 17.

“Woodstock was more than just a musical festival, it was also a cultural movement,” said Kathleen Biggs, Assistant Director of Therapeutic Recreation at Gurwin Jewish Nursing & Rehabilitation Center. “It was so wonderful to bring our residents back to that time and for them to share memories of the 60s and the significance of the festival.”

Created by Gurwin staff, the Woodstock celebrations transported residents back to the summer of 1969, dripping in bright 60s hues and tie-dye prints.  Staff members throughout the System dressed their Woodstock best, donning tie-dye, fringe, headbands and peace signs.  

At Gurwin Center, residents enjoyed Woodstock makeovers, complete with flower power crowns, peace sign medallions and  teashade glasses. Throughout the celebration, Johanna Cutuolo, ATR-BC, CTRS , Gurwin’s multi-talented Recreation Therapist and music minstrel, strummed the guitar, singing folks songs and ballads performed at the iconic festival. Other Woodstock activities included a peace sign kaleidoscope craft, and a vintage Volkswagen “hippie van” photo booth for social media posting for friends and family.  The celebration extended to Gurwin’s Adult Day Care Programs where an outdoor festival was held in the courtyard for day program participants, and included a live concert performance, henna tattoos, tie-dye activities and a hippie-style beaded jewelry craft.

In Gurwin’s senior living communities, staff at Gurwin’s Fay J. Lindner Residences helped residents get into the Woodstock spirit with a themed Glow Party, complete with a laser light show to groovy 60s music in the  community’s movie theater.  And at Fountaingate Gardens independent living community, members decked out in vintage denim and tie-dye enjoyed a Woodstock-themed happy hour filled with music, tasty treats and lively banter about the legendary festival.

“Growing up in California, I remember my friends and I desperately wanting to attend Woodstock,” said Fountaingate Gardens member Carol Sanderson. “Although I wasn’t able to make it to New York, I do have fond memories of our West Coast version of Woodstock at Stanford University in 1967. I remember seeing Janis Joplin and Jefferson Airplane.  Woodstock was an opportunity for everyone to escape into music and to spread the message of unity and peace.”

All photos courtesy of Gurwin

CBS News personality Steve Overmyer visited the St. Johnland campus recently to get residents reactions to Virtual Reality. Several residents volunteered to demo VR headsets provided by MyndVR and experienced adventures, travel, music and other virtual activities. The residents, ranging in age from the early 80s and into their 90s were able to visit Amsterdam & Paris, watch the opening scene of Lion King, catch butterflies in a net and even sky-dive!

“I always wanted to go the Europe, but it was never possible” said resident Paul Reuther who visited Amsterdam, “It feels like I’m right there. You are seeing all the sights and all the people.” Ronni Izzo, Rita Sandalena and Bill Moran joined Paul on various adventures including skydiving and going to Broadway. Just seeing the smile on their faces was proof that this new technology may someday be used in senior care facilities worldwide.

Pictured from left, Audrey Goodfriend, Tamara Baker, and Phyllis Stark with blankets to be donated to hospitals. Photo courtesy of Fountaingate Gardens

Audrey Goodfriend and Phyllis Stark, avid crocheters and knitters who are members of the new 62+ Independent Living Community Fountaingate Gardens in Commack, were so pleased to learn of We Care Blankets, a charity that aligns with their talents and interests. Recently, they welcomed Tamara Baker, founder of the charity, to their community to donate more than a dozen blankets for children and young adults who are going through chemotherapy.

Blankets made by Fountaingate residents will be donated to hospitals. Photo courtesy of Fountaingate Gardens

According to Baker, she started We Care Blankets more than two decades ago because she saw how cold children in treatment could be while in the hospital. “We have a network of more than 25 hospitals, and we supply them with 15,000 blankets each year, keeping children warm and comforted while they battle cancer. I’m so thankful for volunteers like Phyllis and Audrey,” Baker said.

“I think this is an amazing cause for those who are going through such difficult and challenging times,” Stark said while packing the blankets for pick up. “It creates a positive impact not only on the recipients, but also on the broader community, inspiring others to get involved!”

Goodfriend, who crochets while attending the weekly Needler’s Group at Fountaingate Gardens as well as while watching her Mets play, said, “Combining passions and interest with a purposeful act is a win-win situation; we enjoy our leisure time, but also make a positive difference in the lives of others.”

Baker noted that a network of volunteers meets regularly to wrap the blankets she has gathered from her volunteers, usually wrapping between one and two thousand blankets for delivery to the many hospitals in the We Care Blankets network. 

For information or to volunteer for We Care Blankets, contact 516-797-2250 or visit their website at

The Suffolk County Veterans Services Agency in partnership with the Long Island Veteran Suicide Prevention Coalition will host the 5th annual Veterans Resource and Stand Down Event to provide information and services to our local veterans in need on Tuesday, August 29 from 2 to 6 p.m. in the H. Lee Dennison Building Media Rooms, 100 Veterans Memorial Highway, Hauppauge.

This year, 26 organizations and county agencies will participate, offering a variety of resources free-of-charge.

“I am proud to host this resource event that honors and supports our brave veterans,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. “Suffolk County is home to the largest veteran community in the state so it is vital for them to have access to these essential resources. It’s our way of showing gratitude and providing the tangible assistance our veterans truly deserve.”

 Veterans who attend  will have an opportunity to receive a variety of resources including: sneakers, socks, t-shirts, rain jackets, backpacks, underwear, hats, fresh produce, information about local veterans nonprofit programs and much more!

Over the last two years, more than 500 veteran attendees have received resources from the various organizations and county agencies at the Stand Down Event. The County anticipates 200 veterans will attend this year.

The following organizations will be participating in the event:

  • Suffolk County Community College

  • General Needs Ltd

  • Long Island Cares, Inc.-The Harry Chapin Food Bank

  • American Red Cross

  • VA Medical Center Women’s Healthcare

  • Economic Opportunity Council of Suffolk, Inc.

  • CN Guidance and Counseling Services, Inc.

  • Long Island Problem Gambling Resource Center

  • Veterans Yoga Project

  • St. Joseph’s University NY, Office of Military and Veteran Services (OMVS)

  • National Grid

  • Long Island State Veterans Home

  • Paws of War

  • Stony Brook University

  • PSEG Long Island

  • United Way of Long Island

  • United Veterans Beacon House

  • Northport VAMC Caregiver Support Program

  • Family Service League

  • Northport VA Medical Center

  • Warrior Ranch Foundation

  • Dwyer Project

  • Amazon

  • Catholic Health

  • Suffolk County Office for People with Disabilities

  • Island Harvest Food Bank

Amy Millheiser from the LI Veterans Suicide Prevention Coalition said, “We lose 17 veterans a day to suicide and one of the goals of this coalition is to improve connectedness among veterans and the organizations that support them. This event is an opportunity for organizations to come together to assist veterans in need and connect them with the resources both at the VA and in the community.”

“General Needs Ltd invites the local Suffolk County Veterans to participate in this uniquely collaborative event to learn about services, programs and resources available for them and their families.  It’s been wonderful to see all of the veteran agencies jumping onboard and working together to make this Stand Down/ Resource Day informative, supportive and  respectful. If you’re a vet, it may have been awhile since you’ve reached out for help.  Please come and walk through, take some information that you may need or want in the future. You’ve earned these benefits, please come, receive our thanks and take a step forward for yourself and your family,” said Lonnie & Susan Sherman, Founders of General Needs Ltd.

David Lyons, interim president and COO of PSEG Long Island said, “PSEG Long Island  understands the importance of helping our neighbors, especially our heroes in the veteran community. We are proud to partner with Suffolk County, the General Needs organization and National Grid to support this Stand Down event. Along with providing information on job opportunities in the utility industry and details of our money-saving programs and services, we are distributing new coats and boots, rainwear, socks and other winter essentials that will help our neighbors who served, be more comfortable in the coming months.”

To RSVP for this event please use the following link here or call (631) 853-8387. 

METRO photo

By Michael Christodoulou

When you retire, you’ll experience many changes — should one of them involve your living arrangements?

The issue of downsizing is one that many retirees will consider. If you have children, and they’ve grown and left the home, you might find yourself with more space than you really need. Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean you must pack up and scale down yourself. You might love your home and neighborhood and see no reason to go. But if you’re open to a change, you could find that moving to a smaller house, a condo or an apartment may make sense for you.

Let’s consider some of the advantages of downsizing:

You could save money. Moving to a smaller space could lower your utility bills and upkeep costs.

You could save effort. A smaller home will mean less maintenance and cleaning.

You could de-clutter. Over the years, most of us accumulate more possessions than we really need. Downsizing gives you a chance to de-clutter. And you can do some good along the way, too, because many charitable organizations will welcome some of your items.  

You could make money. If you’ve had your home for many years, it’s certainly possible that it’s worth more — perhaps a great deal more — than what you paid for it. So, when you sell it, you could pocket a lot of money — possibly without being taxed on the gains. 

Generally, if you’ve lived in your home for at least two years in the five-year period before you sold it, you can exclude $250,000 of capital gains, if you’re single, or $500,000 if you’re married and file taxes jointly. (You’ll want to consult with your tax advisor, though, before selling your home, to ensure you’re eligible for the exclusion, especially if you do own multiple homes. Issues can arise in connection with determining one’s “primary” residence.)

While downsizing does offer some potentially big benefits, it can also entail some drawbacks. First of all, it’s possible that your home might not be worth as much as you had hoped, which means you won’t clear as much money from the sale as you anticipated. Also, If you still were paying off a mortgage on your bigger home, you may have been deducting the interest payments on your taxes — a deduction that might be reduced or lost to you if you purchase a less-expensive condo or become a renter. 

Besides these financial factors, there’s the ordinary hassle of packing and moving. And if you’re going to a much smaller living space, you may not have much room for family members who want to visit or occasionally spend the night.

So, as you can see, you’ll need to weigh a variety of financial, practical and emotional issues when deciding whether to downsize. And you will also want to communicate your thoughts to grown children or other family members who may someday have reason to be involved in your living space. In short, it’s a big decision — so give it the attention it deserves. 

Michael Christodoulou, ChFC®, AAMS®, CRPC®, CRPS® is a Financial Advisor for Edward Jones in Stony Brook. Member SIPC.

METRO photo

By Elissa Gargone

Elissa Gargone

Experts on aging agree. What’s most important for a long and healthy retirement is having a continuing sense of purpose and social engagement. 

Retirement gives people freedom from the constraints of the workplace, but it also changes what for many is a significant part of their social lives—being around others in a shared mission. No matter how young or old we are, it’s important to maintain and pursue friendships and activities. It’s this engagement that gives us a sense of purpose and growth.

As a retiree, you may want to move away from or closer to a city, seek warmer or colder weather, or relocate to be near your children or grandchildren. Many retirees downsize to an apartment or condo, freeing themselves from upkeep for a home and yard.  

Finding the right retirement lifestyle that will stimulate and reward you with a sense of purpose is about asking the right questions. That process starts with a thoughtful assessment of your individual needs and desires. While this exercise can present its challenges, it can be mighty stimulating to imagine a new phase of life that isn’t dictated by a workday. 

Planning is critical

The ideal time to begin this process is while you’re still working. It can take some time to figure out just where you’ll want to be, and what you’ll do there. Too many people approaching retirement fall into some version of a failure to plan, whether it’s having no plan, waiting too long to plan, or thinking that they don’t need a plan.

There are plenty of lifestyle choices out there. The more you learn about those options, the easier that decision will be.  You don’t want to be pressed to make a choice when you unexpectedly have a need.  

Understandably, while this hesitation may stem from denial or uncertainty about the future, one thing that is certain is that our needs will change over time, so it’s important to set to the task and make a plan. It’s not unlike starting a business—you’re setting yourself up for success.  

METRO photo

Questions to consider  

1. What do I want my future to look like?

2. What do I want to keep doing?

3. What don’t I want to do?

4. What can and can’t I do physically now?

5. What will I not be physically able to do down the road? 

6. What kinds of activities interest me?

7. Where do I want to be — near family, in my familiar community? City, country, suburbs?

8. What kind of people do I want to be with? 

9. What amenities would I like?

10. How much space do I really need?  

11.Will my finances comfortably cover my healthcare costs, should my health change?   

It’s critical to be realistic with your answers. For example, if you have physical issues now, it’s likely you’ll  be more challenged physically in ten years. You have to be honest about the existing barriers to things you want to do now, and strategize as to how you will manage these challenges later in life.  Then look around the house and ask; what is really important for me to keep, and what can I do without?  

Look for more than real estate

If you’re considering buying a retirement home, make sure to consider the services that come with it or are close by. These services will gain importance as time passes.  A 55-plus community that suits your lifestyle at age 60 or 65 may not be able to comfortably support you after age 75 or 80. You’ll want access to a range of people and activities, various transportation options, shopping, quality health services, and other support systems in place.

Options include: Life plan retirement communities like Jefferson’s Ferry, which enable residents to age in place with independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing services available on one site; assisted living facilities that help you manage the tasks of daily living in a community setting with apartments and shared or private rooms; independent living 55+ communities; condominiums, and shared space with family members.

Most of us need people around us to thrive. That’s not limited to those who’ll provide care, but others who will engage our interests as our friends and companions. Having more time to do the things you like, trying new things and enjoying the company of friends and family is the key to a long and happy life.   

Elissa Gargone is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Jefferson’s Ferry Lifecare Retirement Community in South Setauket.

This article originally appeared in Prime Times, TBR News Media’s senior supplement, on July 20.

The Over 50 Fair will feature free 'Funny Money' Blackjack with Ace Deuce Casinos

Save the date! Organizers of the Over 50 Fair have announced its return to the Huntington Hilton, 598 Broadhollow Road, Melville on Sunday, Sept. 10 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 

The Over 50 Fair will feature a free photo booth, compliments of The Booking Ace.

This year’s event, its 14th annual, will offer Baby Boomers, seniors, and more the chance to meet with exhibitors and attend classes geared toward them. The Over 50 Fair annually entertains and educates hundreds of Long Islanders.

Each year, many dozens of businesses and non-profits promote local products and services, including health and wellness, education, travel, and financial services, plus some less expected, such as a hypnotist and a divorce attorney.

Some of this year’s “draws” will be a singles lounge compliments of MTN Matchmaking, “funny money” blackjack with Ace Deuce Casinos, and a free photo booth, compliments of Smiles Per Hour. There will also be a live acoustic music showcase,  courtesy of The Booking Ace.

Some of this year’s 20+ classes include “How to Improve Your Dating and Sex Life After 50” with Maureen Tara Nelson, “Three Techniques to Reduce Stress Right Now!” with David Lawrence, and “How My Positive Attitude Helped Me Beat Breast Cancer” with Helen Cernigliaro. Additional classes will include a comedy show and talks on Medicaid and Medicare.

Free health screenings this year will include hearing screenings from HearingLife.  There will also be free energy scans and reiki healings available.

The Over 50 Fair will feature over 80 exhibitors this year.

The Over 50 Fair is the brainchild of East Hills resident Barbara Kaplan who said that the Over 50 Fair is “overflowing with opportunities for age 50+. Our attendees enjoy the opportunity to meet with many experts in their fields all in one place.”

Many local beauty queens from the Ms. New York Senior America pageant attend every year, including CJ Marie, Ms. New York Senior America 2015, and Elisabeth Zamarelli, Ph.D., Elite New York American Beauty 2015. The lovely “queens” will also be hosting a dance demonstration as part of the Seasoned Steppers.

Giving is Living, a local non-profit that helps Long Island’s needy, will be in attendance collecting non-perishable food and funds. Those who donate will receive raffle tickets to win terrific donated prizes.

The event will feature:

    • Over 20 Amazing Classes something to interest and entertain all
    • Over 80 Fabulous Exhibitors so many to speak with
    • Our Singles Lounge – Meet someone special! presented by MTN Matchmaking
    • Free “Funny Money” Blackjack with Ace Deuce Casinos
    • Free Photo Booth compliments of Smiles Per Hour
    • Live Acoustic Music compliments of The Booking Ace
    • Free Energy Scans from Acupuncture Wellness Services
    • Free Hearing Screenings from HearingLife
    • Free Discount Pharmacy Card from All Save Rx
    • Free Reiki Healings with Gentle Soul Discoveries
    • Free Confidential Consultations with Hypnotist David Lawrence
    • Free Mini Makeover Color Consults from Beautycounter
    • LOVELY BEAUTY QUEENS, INCLUDING:  CJ Marie – Ms. New York Senior America 2015 and Elisabeth Zamarelli, Ph.D. – Elite New York American Beauty 2015

Tickets in advance are $5, which includes all classes, exhibits, photo booth, “funny money” blackjack, singles lounge, health screenings, and more. Those who purchase tickets online at will receive a raffle ticket at the event for a special door prize raffle. Tickets are also available at the door for $7, free for veterans with ID. For more information, call 516-621-1446.

This article previously appeared in Prime Times, TBR News Media’s senior supplement, on July 20.