SWODA NEWS


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.

Caregiver shortage threatens for baby boomers

posted Feb 27, 2017, 9:30 AM by Mary Peck

By the year 2030, this nation’s 72 million baby boomers will have reached age 65. This many baby boomers reaching retirement age at the same time will create a critical shortage of caregivers. Those employed as caregivers are primarily women in their mid-20s to mid-50s, and the caregiver industry is already suffering from low wages and high turnover rates. This situation is not expected to improve anytime soon.

Paid caregivers mostly fill jobs taking care of older people, usually working as nursing assistants, home health aides and personal care assistants. In the next decade, an additional one million of these direct care professional workers will be needed, and by 2030, an additional three million will be necessary.

Unpaid family caregivers, 61 percent of whom are women, play a significant role as well. They must balance work and family life. They must fill the void left by a paid care professional, if they are able to afford to hire a care professional at all.  Each year, the U.S. economy loses about $33 billion in productivity because of employees who are also family caregivers and who must deal with issues related to taking care of family members.

In the past, older people have been able to rely on family and friends to help with chores such as housekeeping and grocery shopping. However, baby boomers had fewer children, and often they are spread around the country. There are simply fewer people on which to rely.

In partnership with the Department of Human Services, Aging Services Division, SWODA AAA provides for respite services for eligible caregivers, for those caring for people age 60 and over. 

For information about this program and other services offered through the SWODA AAA, call the SWODA AAA Information and Assistant Specialist, Ada Vanderford, at (800) 627-4882 or locally at (580) 562-4882.

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.  

Public engagement invited in development of long-range transportation plan for Jackson County

posted Feb 13, 2017, 8:02 AM by Mary Peck

You are invited to a stakeholder meeting to engage the public in the early stage of developing a regional long-range transportation plan. Scheduled for Tuesday, March 7, 10 a.m., at the Altus Chamber of Commerce located at 301 W. Commerce St. in Altus, the meeting will introduce the long-range transportation process and provide opportunities to share your areas of concern for Jackson County with the Southwest Oklahoma Regional Transportation Planning Organization (SORTPO). Transportation programs to meet the needs of the future will also be identified.

SORTPO, the regional transportation planning organization for 16 counties in southwest Oklahoma, is in the process of developing a regional long-range transportation plan. The region includes the eight counties within the Southwestern Oklahoma Development Authority (SWODA) Council of Government and the eight counties comprising the Association of South Central Oklahoma Government (ASCOG).

Please share this invitation with your associates, as all are welcome. Direct inquiries to Becky Cockrell, SWODA transportation planner, at (580) 562-4882 ext. 118 or becky@swoda.org.

Remember the aging during the Month of Love - February

posted Feb 13, 2017, 8:00 AM by Mary Peck

The aging residing in long-term care facilities can feel more involved in this special month of love in several ways. Since around the 14 century, the offering of gifts in the spirit of love to convey the essence of love happens in February. For those caring for parents, grandparents or other aging relatives, this is a great month for a special celebration for loved ones. Here are just a few ideas:

Cards: Everyone enjoys receiving cards especially from grandkids, nieces, and nephews. Of course, any card is welcome and much appreciated. Those that are handmade brine a special magic of love that touches and warms hearts.

Music: Aging loves music. Surprise love ones with a playlist of songs that have a special meaning. Maybe include a song played at their wedding, when they were dating or when the spouse went off to war. Also, consider a song which mother sang to her children at bedtime. Music has a strong sense to force people to recall forgotten memories or events.

Decorate: One of the things long-term care residents miss is the opportunity to decorate their homes for the holidays. Take a moment to decorate their new home within the facility.

Photos: Perfect time to bring out family photos to share with the aging. Viewing photos is a great way to share loving memories.

Share Memories: Talk to the aging about their most romantic February every. How did they celebrate love in the month of February? Just beginning a conversation will most likely lead to other questions and conversations that very possibly can reveal new and exciting tidbits of information not known previously.

Don’t have aging relatives in long-term care? Caregivers may perhaps deeply appreciate a demonstration of love to make life a little lighter and brighter during the month of love. A night out in which movie tickets are given; tickets provided to a local play; providing care for a loved one for the night are all wonderful expressions of kindness. Gift cards for house cleaning, lawn mowing or meal preparation are a few additional examples of options. The gift of service is a priceless gift to those offering care. You can cook meals, provide transportation or do chores. Always insist the caregiver redeems the offer for some much-needed relaxation time.

How natural the celebration feels varies from resident to resident; some may have sorrows associated to the month of love that may steer them away from any celebration. However, many aging residents are more than willing to enjoy the day. Take a few steps to involve can be most rewarding.

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.

SWODA Area Agency on Aging 2018 Area Plan update

posted Feb 7, 2017, 2:07 PM by Michael Ryburn

The South Western Oklahoma Development Authority Area Agency on Aging has updated its Area Plan. This four-year area plan update reflects services provided under the Older Americans Act, as well as goals and objectives that are set for fulfilling the priority needs of the elderly throughout Southwest Oklahoma.

          SWODA has conducted public hearings on the plan and the SWODA Board of Trustees will vote on plan changes and updates on Tuesday, February 13th, 2017.  A copy of the plan that will be considered for adoption is available below.


PLEASE CLICK ON THE DOWN ARROW ON THE FAR RIGHT TO DOWNLOAD THE DOCUMENT.

Public invited to quarterly SWODA Aging Services Advisory Council meeting

posted Jan 30, 2017, 6:07 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 1p.m., Thursday, Feb. 9. 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 helps 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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