SWODA NEWS


Volunteer advocates needed!

posted Feb 27, 2017, 11:03 AM by Mary Peck

The Southwest 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.

Public engagement invited in development of long-range transportation plan for Greer and Harmon counties

posted Jan 24, 2017, 2:06 PM by Mary Peck   [ updated Feb 14, 2017, 6:32 AM ]

Two different meetings to engage the public in the early stage of developing a regional long-range transportation plan concerning Greer and Harmon counties will be held Thursday, Feb. 9. The first meeting will be for residents of Harmon County at 10 a.m. at the Hollis City Hall. The second meeting is for residents of Greer County at 1 p.m. at the Greer County Chamber of Commerce in Mangum.

The meetings will introduce the long-range transportation process and provide opportunities to share your areas of concern for Greer 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 or becky@swoda.org

SWODA Area Agency on Aging to conduct a public hearing

posted Jan 9, 2017, 2:41 PM by Mary Peck   [ updated Jan 24, 2017, 1:47 PM ]

The South Western Oklahoma Development Authority Area Agency on Aging will be conducting a public hearing at 10:00 a.m., Wednesday, February 1, 2017, in its conference room located at Building 420 Sooner Drive, Burns Flat, Oklahoma. The public is invited and encouraged to attend and comment on the 2017 Area Plan Update. The area plan update may be viewed prior to the public hearing at the main SWODA office or online at www.swoda.org. 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.

          Individuals who are interested or concerned about services available to senior citizens are urged to attend and give oral comments or, if unable to attend, written comments will be accepted. Please send all written comments to Anita Martinez, Aging Services Director, PO Box 569, Burns Flat, OK  73624 by Tuesday, January 31, 2017.

          The facility where the public hearing is to be held is accessible to the disabled and interpreter services can be made available upon one week’s notice.

For more news articles specific for southwest Oklahoma, visit www.swoda.org.

South Western Oklahoma Development Board presents service awards

posted Jan 5, 2017, 11:54 AM by Mary Peck

The South Western Oklahoma Development Authority (SWODA) Board of Trustees honored the service of six board members and five SWODA employees at the monthly meeting held Tuesday, Dec. 13, in Burns Flat. SWODA Board Chairman John Schaufele presented the awards.

Board members receiving service awards were Lyle Miller, Custer County commissioner, 5 years service; John Gallagher, Harmon County municipalities representative, 10 years service; and Guy Hylton, at-large representative, 25 years service.

SWODA employees honored for their service were Josh Anderson, aging services case manager, 5 years service; Denice Sadler, aging services case manager, 10 years service; and Danette Traugott, E911 database technician, 10 years service.

Schaufele also presented Perfect Attendance certificates to SWODA board members who attended the meetings held from January through December of 2016. Members receiving awards were as follows: Anita Archer, at-large representative; Tim Binghom, Kiowa County commissioners; John Dee Butchee, Jackson County conservation district representative; Geary Caswell, Harmon County conservation district representative; Leo Goeringer, Washita County commissioner; Sterling Moore, Roger Mills County conservation district representative; and Tom Talley, Kiowa County municipalities representative.

SWODA Executive Director Debora Glasgow honored John Schaufele of Lone Wolf as the outgoing 2015-2016 board chairman. Schaufele served the board for 12 years.

SWODA comprises eight counties—Beckham, Custer, Greer, Harmon, Jackson, Kiowa, Roger Mills and Washita—covering over 7,000 square miles and approximately 110,000 residents. For more information, contact the South Western Oklahoma Development Authority at (580) 562-4882. 

Masonic Fraternity of Oklahoma provides funding again to Oklahoma’s Area Agencies on Aging

posted Jan 5, 2017, 10:49 AM by Mary Peck

The Masonic Fraternity of Oklahoma has again partnered with the South Western Oklahoma Development Authority (SWODA) Area Agency on Aging (AAA), along with other Area Agencies on Aging across the state, to assist with funding direct services for people 55 years of age and older. There will be an application process for individuals 55 and over who are in need of some type assistance that is not otherwise provided by other agencies. These funds will be used on a first come first serve basis until they are all utilized. Some of the types of services that can be purchased by the SWODA AAA include minor home repairs, wheelchair ramps, air conditioner window units or space heaters, and/or air condition or heater repairs. Funding for each type of service will be limited. Those who have desperate or unique needs should file an application because those situations will be looked at on a case-by-case basis. Assistance will be available once per person every three year.

Counties covered by the SWODA AAA are Beckham, Custer, Greer, Harmon, Jackson, Kiowa, Roger Mills and Washita. The SWODA Aging Services Information Assistant receives calls daily from older people and/or their caregivers with needs, and many are told nothing is available to help. This Masonic funding will enable AAA staff to assist many callers with resources that were not available previously. This funding “will not only help Oklahoma’s older population, but will also relieve some of the stress placed on caregivers whose older relatives are continually turned down because of the lack of resources needed to help,” said Anita Martinez, SWODA director of Aging Services.

To learn more about this and other available services, call the SWODA Aging Services Information Assistant, Ada Vanderford, at 1-800-627-4882, or call the statewide toll-free Senior Info Line at 1-800-211-2116.

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. 

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.

For more news articles specific for southwest Oklahoma, visit www.swoda.org.

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