SWODA NEWS


Public invited to quarterly SWODA Aging Services Advisory Council meeting

posted Aug 21, 2017, 8:11 AM by Mary Peck

The Advisory Council for the South Western Oklahoma Development Authority (SWODA) Area Agency on Aging will convene for a regular meeting at 1:00 p.m., Thursday, September 7, 2017. This meeting will be held in the SWODA Conference Room on Sooner Drive, Burns Flat, Oklahoma.

The Area Agency on Aging Advisory Council provides leadership and advocacy on behalf of citizens 60 years of age or older residing in Beckham, Custer, Greer, Harmon, Jackson, Kiowa, Roger Mills and Washita Counties and help to determine services needed in the area.

The meeting is open to the public and accessible to the disabled.  Individuals with a profound hearing loss should contact the Area Agency on Aging at least one week prior to the meeting if they wish for a signing interpreter to be provided.

SWODA is one of 11 Councils of Government in the state. SWODA was created to strengthen the economic and social development of the region through various specialized services such as the following: 911 Administration, Aging Services, Community and Economic Development, Geographic Information Systems, Rural Fire Defense and Workforce Development.

These services are funded in part by state and Older Americans Act Funds from SWODA AAA and DHS Aging Services.

It is policy of SWODA AAA to serve all individuals who are eligible for its programs without regard to race, national origin, ancestry, color, religion, gender, age or disability.

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SWODA Aging Services offers respite to caregivers

posted Aug 21, 2017, 8:11 AM by Mary Peck

Many caregivers struggle to provide care for their loved ones on their own. The South Western Oklahoma Development Authority (SWODA) Area Agency on Aging (AAA) believes it is important that caregivers know they are not alone in their struggle to help their loved ones. The SWODA AAA has a program that may benefit many caregivers in southwestern Oklahoma.

The SWODA AAA provides for respite services for eligible caregivers in partnership with the Department of Human Services, Aging Services Division.

Caregivers are defined as “people of any age caring for someone 60 years of age or older with two Activities of Daily Living impairments (dressing, bathing, eating, transferring, toileting, or walking) and/or requiring substantial assistance due to a cognitive or other mental impairment.” Also served are grandparents 55 years of age or older who care for grandchildren, step-grandchildren or children related by blood or marriage and who live with the child, serve as primary caregiver and have a legal relationship with the child (custody, guardianship or raising child informally). The child must be no older than 18 years.

Studies have shown caregivers give better care, maintain their own health and have reduced levels of stress if they can get away from the responsibilities of providing care even if for only a few hours. Respite does just that. It provides a way for a caregiver to get out of the everyday routine of caring for their loved one. For example, a caregiver has the option of using respite services to go to a doctor’s appointment, get their hair done, visit friends at a coffee shop or even go to a movie.   

To apply for respite services, a caregiver should call SWODA AAA at (800) 627-4882. If the caregiver qualifies, they will receive $500 worth of vouchers. The caregiver can then contract with any person of their choice (other than someone living in the same home or under 18 years old) to provide respite services. There are no income or resource limitations.

These services are funded in part by state and Older Americans Act Funds from SWODA AAA and DHS Aging Services.

It is policy of SWODA AAA to serve all individuals who are eligible for its programs without regard to race, national origin, ancestry, color, religion, gender, age or disability.

SWODA is one of 11 Councils of Government in the state. SWODA’s region of service includes municipalities, counties and conservation districts in Beckham, Custer, Greer, Harmon, Jackson, Kiowa, Roger Mills and Washita counties. 

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REAP Meetings in Hobart and Sayre

posted Jul 31, 2017, 8:50 AM by Mary Peck

Please make plans to attend the annual REAP Meetings at the following locations:

HOBART VO-TECH: Wednesday, August 16 at 1:30 p.m., 1000 S Bailey St, Hobart OK.
THE BROADWAY CENTER: Wednesday, August 23 at 1:30 p.m., 210 N Broadway, Sayre OK.

If you have questions, call Clyde Morgan at (580) 5624882 ext. 109.

Volunteer advocates needed – Free training in Burns Flat

posted Jun 5, 2017, 1:20 PM by Mary Peck

The Southwest Oklahoma Development Authority (SWODA) Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is looking for people who are empathetic, diplomatic, assertive and skilled communicators to be Volunteer Ombudsmen. Volunteer Ombudsmen perform invaluable work with residents and their families to resolve complaints or provide information and other assistance.

A free training for volunteers is scheduled for June 27-28 at SWODA’s Small Conference Room, 420 Sooner Drive, Burns Flat, Oklahoma. Training times are 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day. Please RSVP to Gail Wilcox, SWODA ombudsman supervisor, at (800) 627-4882.

“Our focus on residents’ rights provides a vital link to quality of life and care for residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities within the SWODA service area,” said Gail Wilcox, SWODA ombudsman supervisor. By our regular presence, trust develops between the residents and the Ombudsman. The residents know someone is there to speak up for them.”

Some of the key functions of Volunteer Ombudsmen are:

·         Identify, investigate and resolve complaints made by or on behalf of residents;

·         Provide information to residents about long-term care services and their rights;

·         Advocate for changes to improve residents’ quality of life and care

“Our Volunteer Ombudsman are in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities working pro-actively to make sure that minor complaints and concerns don’t develop into major quality of life problems for residents,” said Wilcox.

The SWODA Ombudsman Program serves nursing homes in Beckham, Custer, Greer, Harmon, Jackson, Kiowa, Roger Mills and Washita Counties. For more information about the Ombudsman Program or to become a volunteer in your area, contact Gail Wilcox at (580) 562-4882.

Free dental services coming to southwest Oklahoma

posted Jun 5, 2017, 1:19 PM by Mary Peck

South Western Oklahoma Development Authority (SWODA) Area Agency on Aging (AAA) is pleased to bring MobileSmiles Oklahoma into our service area at no cost thanks to funding provided by Masonic Fraternity of Oklahoma. During August, residents 55 and older without dental insurance can receive services such as exams, fillings, extractions, cleanings, sealants, dental x-rays and fluoride varnish. MobileSmiles Oklahoma, an RV-style dental office, doesn’t provide root canals, oral surgery, partials or dentures.

SWODA AAA is currently accepting applications from the following counties: Beckham, Custer, Greer, Harmon, Jackson, Kiowa, Roger Mills and Washita. Space and time is limited. Please contact Tangela Henry at (800) 627-4882, ext. 126, to see if you qualify and to set up your appointment.

The Mobile Dental Care Program was established in 2006 as a project of the Oklahoma Dental Foundation (ODF). Its purpose was to provide dental care and education across Oklahoma to those unable to access care and to recommend a dental home in their area. In 2013, it became a partnership program of the ODF and its major funder, the Delta Dental of Oklahoma Oral Health Foundation. The name of the program was changed to MobileSmiles Oklahoma (MSO).

SWODA provides programs such as the Masonic Charities Assistance Program dedicated to improving the lives of senior citizens 55 and older.

For more information about the Masonic Charities Assistance Program or other SWODA Area Agency on Aging (AAA) programs, visit www.swoda.org/aaa.

Public invited to quarterly SWODA Aging Services Advisory Council meeting

posted May 16, 2017, 9:05 AM by Mary Peck

By Ada Vanderford, SWODA AAA

The Advisory Council for the South Western Oklahoma Development Authority (SWODA) Area Agency on Aging will convene for a regular meeting at 1 p.m., Thursday, June 1, 2017. This meeting will be held in the SWODA Conference Room on Sooner Drive, Burns Flat, Oklahoma.

The Area Agency on Aging Advisory Council provides leadership and advocacy on behalf of citizens 60 years of age or older residing in Beckham, Custer, Greer, Harmon, Jackson, Kiowa, Roger Mills and Washita Counties and help to determine services needed in the area.

The meeting is open to the public and accessible to the disabled.  Individuals with a profound hearing loss should contact the Area Agency on Aging at least one week prior to the meeting if they wish for a signing interpreter to be provided.

SWODA is one of 11 Councils of Government in the state. SWODA was created to strengthen the economic and social development of the region through various specialized services such as the following: 911 Administration, Aging Services, Community and Economic Development, Geographic Information Systems, Rural Fire Defense and Workforce Development.

These services are funded in part by state and Older Americans Act Funds from SWODA AAA and DHS Aging Services.

It is policy of SWODA AAA to serve all individuals who are eligible for its programs without regard to race, national origin, ancestry, color, religion, gender, age or disability.

Communicating with people who have dementia

posted May 15, 2017, 8:52 AM by Mary Peck

By Gail Wilcox, Ombudsman Supervisor, SWODA Area Agency on Aging

Alzheimer’s disease and dementia gradually diminish a person’s ability to communicate. Communication with a person with dementia Alzheimer’s requires patience, understanding and good listening skills. Additionally, communication skills must change as the disease progresses. Understanding the best practices of communicating helps both caregiver and patient understand each other better.

As the disease progresses, a person with dementia Alzheimer’s will gradually decline making communication difficult. The challenges of a dementia Alzheimer’s individual can lead to frustration. It is helpful to understand what changes may occur in order to be prepared and make adjustments. Knowing how to respond within the changes improves communication and makes it more effective.

Communication varies with each individual as the disease affects each person differently. In the early stage of the disease, individuals may still participate in meaningful conversation and even engage in social activities. However, they may repeat stories, feel overwhelmed by excessive stimulation or have difficulty finding the right word.

The middle stage of dementia Alzheimer’s is typically the longest and can last for many years. Best practices of communication in the middle stage include allowing time for responses so the individual may think, engaging in one-on-one conversations in a quite space, being patient and supportive, maintaining eye contact, avoiding criticizing or correcting, avoid arguing, and speaking slowly and clearly.

Late stages of dementia Alzheimer’s may cause the individual to rely on nonverbal communication, such as facial expressions or vocal sounds. Around–the-clock care is usually required at this stage. Always treat the individual with dignity and respect, avoid talking down to the individual, always approach the individual from the front, identify yourself, look for feelings behind the words or sounds, use touch, sights, sounds, smells and taste as a form of communication. Always remember your presence and friendship are most important to the person.

No matter of the disease’s progress, each individual must be afforded the opportunity for visitors, caring compassionate caregivers and laughter.

The SWODA Ombudsman Program serves nursing homes in Beckham, Custer, Greer, Harmon, Jackson, Kiowa, Roger Mills and Washita Counties. For more information about the Ombudsman Program or to become a volunteer in your area, contact Gail Wilcox at (580) 562-4882.

 

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Older Americans Month 2017: Age Out Loud

posted May 1, 2017, 11:32 AM by Mary Peck

Since 1963, Older Americans Month (OAM) is a time to celebrate older Americans, their stories, and their contributions. Led by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), the annual observance offers a special opportunity to learn about, support and recognize our nation’s older citizens. This year’s theme, “Age Out Loud,” emphasizes the ways older adults are living their lives with boldness, confidence and passion while serving as an inspiration to people of all ages.

The South Western Oklahoma Development Authority (SWODA) Area Aging Services will use OAM 2017 to focus on how older adults in our community are redefining aging—through work or family interests, by taking charge of their health and staying independent for as long as possible, and through their community and advocacy efforts. We can also use this opportunity to learn how we can best support and learn from our community’s older members.

SWODA Area Aging Services provides information about AAA services and other community programs concerning the elderly through the Information and Assistance (I & A) service. The I & A service is designed to help those 60 and older who need information about a program or service, or who simply have problems and do not know where to turn for help. Ada Vanderford, SWODA, welcomes calls from the elderly and their caregivers. Contact Ada at (580) 562-4882.

Some of the services that information and/or assistance can be provided for include the following: respite services for caregivers, hearing aids, transportation, housing, legal services, long-term care, Medicare, nutrition, health care, housekeeping, weatherization and other concerns of the elderly.

Getting older doesn’t mean what it used to. For many aging Americans, it is a phase of life where interests, goals, and dreams can get a new or second start. Today, aging is about eliminating outdated perceptions and living the way that suits you best.

Take Barbara Hillary, for example. A nurse for 55 years who dreamed of travel, at age 75 Hillary became the first African American woman to set foot on the North Pole. In 2011, at age 79, she set another first when she stepped onto the South Pole. Former president George H.W. Bush celebrated his 90th birthday by skydiving. Actress Betty White, now 95 years old, became the oldest person to host Saturday Night Live in 2010, coincidentally during May—the same month recognized as Older Americans Month (OAM).

These services are funded in part by state and Older Americans Act Funds from

SWODA AAA and DHS Aging Services.

It is policy of SWODA AAA to serve all individuals who are eligible for its programs

without regard to race, national origin, ancestry, color, religion, gender, age or disability.

SWODA is one of 11 Councils of Government in the state. SWODA’s region of service includes municipalities, counties and conservation districts in Beckham, Custer, Greer, Harmon, Jackson, Kiowa, Roger Mills and Washita counties

Springtime activities for seniors

posted Apr 17, 2017, 1:10 PM by Mary Peck

Spring is a perfect time to do activities with seniors. People can have fun at any age. The weather is nicer than just a few weeks ago. Sunny warm days can be a great reason to spend time in a fun activity with a senior.

Elderly are able to take part in a variety of activities the same as anyone. Including a loved one in any activity enhances the activity of the joy. Activities involving cognitive and physical activities enrich anyone, no matter age.

Seniors living in long-term care facilities spend the bulk of time managing to get through the day. Most never leave their home except for doctor office appointments and an occasional day out.

Families and friends might like to take a senior out for some fun but they don't know how to go about it. Even seasoned caregivers can be stumped for ideas, so here are a few to get started:

·       Take a Sunday drive. Many elders enjoy a drive through the community checking out activity such as new construction or changes within. Some elders even prefer to compare water levels of ponds and lakes compare to last year. Many elderly enjoy viewing flowerbeds around the community.

·       Go to the zoo/farm/school agriculture barn. Who doesn’t enjoy animals – baby animals? Spring is birth time for most species. Renting or borrowing a wheelchair is always a good idea for these outings. Watch the loved one for signs of fatigue, thirst and too much sun.

·       Go to a restaurant. Now that snow/ice is not a problem, escorting a loved one to a restaurant is easier to navigate. Enjoying the meal at off-peak hours is a good idea. Less stress for everyone. Additionally, less background noise allows many to hear well.

·       Visit an ice cream store. Going for a sundae or ice cream cone makes for a special treat in a day. Some may enjoy staying in the car to eat but others enjoy going inside to eat ice cream.

·       School spring programs. Taking the elder to watch grandchildren perform in concerts, plays or other activities is a great enjoyment. This activity does require planning a little. Always good to have a spouse or friend go along in case the elder needs to return before the program is finished.

·       Have a picnic. A picnic can occur in a park, backyard or the grounds of nursing home. If the loved one is able, going to a park is always preferred. However, enjoying the grounds of the facility is also very nice. The facility grounds are usually equipped with tables and sidewalks for wheelchairs. Even bring picnic supplies and food to the dining room.

·       Visit a specialty store/antique shop. Many elderly have “collections.” An outing to visit a specialty store of their collection items may prompt stories – family/history.

·       Check out crops. Take a drive through the country to view the crop progress. The elderly enjoy experiencing the agriculture experience.

·       Visit a friend/family. Many elderly residing in long-term care facilities lose touch with family and friends usually because of health issues. Choose locations close to facility to limit exhaustion.

 

The ideas listed are only a springboard for others. Think often of activities the loved one enjoyed or participated in younger days. Don’t be afraid to ask the elderly what kinds of activities are enjoyed. They don’t hear those questions often living in long-term facilities. However, if a suggestion isn’t offered then be prepared in advance for another plan.

Remember, these outings are designed for pleasure, don’t overdo.

Gail Wilcox, ombudsman supervisor, welcomes questions about senior activities. Give her a call at 800-627-4882, ext. 132. The SWODA region includes the eight counties of Beckham, Custer, Greer, Harmon, Jackson, Kiowa, Roger Mills and Washita.

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Volunteer advocates needed!

posted Feb 27, 2017, 11:03 AM by Mary Peck   [ updated Apr 10, 2017, 4:18 PM by Michael Ryburn ]

The Southwestern Oklahoma Development Authority Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is looking for people who are empathetic, diplomatic, assertive and skilled communicators to be Volunteer Ombudsmen. Volunteer Ombudsmen perform invaluable work with residents and their families to resolve complaints or provide information and other assistance.

A free training for volunteers is scheduled for March 28-29 at Southwest Technology Center, Room 102, 711 Tamarack Rd., Altus, Oklahoma. Training times are 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day. Please RSVP to Gail Wilcox, SWODA Ombudsman Supervisor, at (800) 627-4882.

“Our focus on residents’ rights provides a vital link to quality of life and care for residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities within the SWODA service area,” said Gail Wilcox, SWODA ombudsman supervisor. By our regular presence, trust develops between the residents and the Ombudsman. The residents know someone is there to speak up for them.”

Some of the key functions of Volunteer Ombudsmen are:

·       Identify, investigate and resolve complaints made by or on behalf of residents;

·       Provide information to residents about long-term care services and their rights;

·       Advocate for changes to improve residents’ quality of life and care

“Our Volunteer Ombudsman are in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities working pro-actively to make sure that minor complaints and concerns don’t develop into major quality of life problems for residents,” said Wilcox.

The SWODA Ombudsman Program serves nursing homes in Beckham, Custer, Greer, Harmon, Jackson, Kiowa, Roger Mills and Washita Counties. For more information about the Ombudsman Program or to become a volunteer in your area, contact Gail Wilcox at (580) 562-4882.

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