SWODA Press Releases

February 4, 2019

Applications open for qualified elderly to receive reduced-cost eye care

Many elderly people can’t afford the treatment they need to correct vision impairments. Good News! South Western Oklahoma Development Authority (SWODA) Aging Services, in cooperation with area optometrists, are providing reduced-cost eye exams and eyeglasses to qualified elderly individuals in your area.

In order to qualify, participants must be 60 years of age or older, and/or an ADvantage consumer, live in Beckham, Custer, Washita, Roger Mills, Kiowa, Greer, Harmon, or Jackson counties, meet certain income and resource guidelines.

Elderly and/or disabled ADvantage applicants must not be case managed by any agency other than SWODA Aging Services Case Management. Deadline for applications is May 31, 2019. Apply by contacting Tangela Henry at (800) 627-4882, ext. 126. SWODA ADvantage consumers will need to contact their SWODA Aging Services case manager.

Verification of income and resources such as tax records, bank statements or Social Security check stubs is required. All information is held confidentially.

Healthy eyes are something most people take for granted. But there are millions of elderly people in this country who have severe vision impairments. These impairments could be treated and corrected, but many of the elderly can’t afford the treatment they need.

SWODA Aging Services would like to thank all optometrists who have agreed to participate in working together to find solutions to the problems and concerns of the aging and disabled.

If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Tangela Henry at SWODA Aging Services, P.O. Box 569, Burns Flat, OK 73624 or call (800) 627-4882, ext. 126.

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.

January 22, 2019

Resident rights of long-term facilities

Making a private phone call, receiving mail unopened, visitors and staff knocking on the door before entering are everyday experiences that makes residents in the long-term facility setting feel more comfortable. It’s also their rights as residents.

Resident rights include such opportunities as voting privileges, individualized care, respect, dignity, the right to visitation, the right to privacy, the right to complain and the right to make independent choices.

So what do you do when the rights are of concern or violated? Resident advocates can pursue the following options:

· Talk directly to facility staff

· File a written grievance with the facility

· Voice your concern and get support at a resident council meeting

· Call the area Ombudsman Supervisor; Cherrie Nutley for advice and/or assistance at 580-562-4882

· Call the DHSS Complaint Hotline (800-562-6078) to report your concern.

The U.S. Congress recognized long-term facility residents are more vulnerable than those who live independently. In 1987, Congress passed The Nursing Home Reform Act giving nursing home residents additional legal protections including Resident Rights. In 1995, the Resident Rights extended to other long-term care facilities, boarding homes, adult family homes and state operated veterans’ homes.

January 15, 2019

Caregiver shortage threatens for baby boomers

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. 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.

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.

Paid caregivers mostly fill jobs taking care of older people, usually working as nursing assistants, home health aides and personal care assistants. 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.

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.

For information about respite services and other services offered through the SWODA AAA, call 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.

January 8, 2019

Tangela Henry ready to answer your questions about services for elderly

Are you 60 or older and need information about programs or services or just have problems and don’t know where to turn for help. Tangela Henry welcomes calls from elderly and their caregivers. She is the I&A assistant for the North West Planning Service Agency Eleven (NWPSA 11) Area Agency on Aging (AAA) which includes Beaver, Cimarron, Dewey, Ellis, Harper, Woods, Woodward and Texas counties.

Some of the services for which information and/or assistance can be provided 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.

To learn more about available services, call the NWPSA 11 Aging Services Information Assistant Tangela Henry at 1-800-627-4882, ext. 126 or call statewide toll-free Senior Info Line at 1-800-211-2116.

SWODA is the Interim Administrative Organization for the NWPSA 11. NWPSA 11’s region of service includes Beaver, Cimarron, Dewey, Ellis, Harper, Woods, Woodward and Texas counties.

These services are funded in part by state and Older Americans Act Funds from NWPSA 11 AAA and DHS Aging Services. It is policy of NWPSA 11 AAA to serve all individuals who are eligible for its programs without regard to race, national origin, ancestry, color, religion, gender, age or disability.

Tangle Henry is ready to answer your questions about elderly services.

January 8, 2019

Masonic Fraternity of Oklahoma again provides funding to elderly for services not provided by other agencies

The Masonic Fraternity of Oklahoma is again partnering 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 in need of some type assistance not otherwise provided by other agencies.

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.

There is an application and funds will be used on a first come first serve basis until they are all utilized. 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.

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 enables AAA staff to assist many callers with resources 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 for needed 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 (800) 627-4882, ext. 127, or call the statewide toll-free Senior Info Line at (800) 211-2116. Counties covered by the SWODA AAA are Beckham, Custer, Greer, Harmon, Jackson, Kiowa, Roger Mills and Washita.

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.

January 8, 2019

Masonic Fraternity of Oklahoma again provides funding to elderly for services not provided by other agencies

The Masonic Fraternity of Oklahoma is again assisting with funding direct services for people 55 and older. This is great news for Northwest Oklahoma! Some of the types of services funded include minor home repairs, wheelchair ramps, air conditioner window units, space heaters and/or air conditioner or heater repairs.

Funding for each type of service is limited, and the funds are used on a first come, first served basis until they are all utilized. Individuals 55 years of age and older who are in need of assistance not otherwise provided by other agencies can apply. Applicants with desperate or unique needs are looked at on a case-by-case basis. Assistance is available once per person every three years.

The Masonic Fraternity of Oklahoma is partnered with the South Western Oklahoma Development Authority (SWODA) NWPSA11 Area Agency on Aging (AAA), along with other Area Agencies on Aging across the state to provide this funding.

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 for needed help,” said Anita Martinez, SWODA NWPSA11 director of Aging Services.

The SWODA NWPSA11 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.

Counties covered by the SWODA NWPSA11 AAA are Beaver, Cimarron, Dewey, Ellis, Harper, Texas, Woods, and Woodward.

To learn more about this and other available services, call the SWODA NWPSA11 Masonic Program Coordinator Ada Vanderford at 800-627-4882 or call the statewide toll-free Senior Info Line at 800-211-2116.

Ada Vanderford, SWODA NWPSA11 Masonic Program coordinator, can assist you in securing funding for minor home repairs, wheelchair ramps, air condition window units or space heaters, and/or air condition of heater repairs? These are just some of the services covered.

SWODA Board Chairman Carl Don Campbell and SWODA Executive Director Debora Glasgow present Anita Archer, at-large trustee, an award for 15 years of service to SWODA.


SWODA Board Chairman Carl Don Campbell and SWODA Executive Director Debora Glasgow present Leo Goeringer, Washita County commissioner trustee, an award for 10 years of service to SWODA.


SWODA Board Chairman Carl Don Campbell and SWODA Executive Director Debora Glasgow present Anita Martinez, director of aging services and case management, an award for 15 years of service to SWODA.


SWODA Board Chairman Carl Don Campbell presents Debora Glasgow, SWODA executive director, an award for 20 years of service to SWODA.

SWODA Board Chairman Carl Don Campbell and SWODA Executive Director Debora Glasgow present Mark Gardner, rural fire defense coordinator, an award for 15 years of service to SWODA.


SWODA Board Chairman Carl Don Campbell and SWODA Executive Director Debora Glasgow honored Bob Plummer, Washita County municipalities trustee, as an out-going trustee from the board.

December 26, 2018

South Western Oklahoma Development Authority Board presents service awards

The South Western Oklahoma Development Authority (SWODA) Board of Trustees honored the service of nine board members and three SWODA employees at the monthly meeting held Tuesday, Dec. 11, in Burns Flat. SWODA Board Chairman Carl Don Campbell presented the awards.

Board members receiving service awards were Anita Archer, at-large trustee, five years; and Leo Goeringer, Washita County commissioner trustee, 10 years.

SWODA employees honored for their service were Anita Martinez, director of aging services and case management, 15 years; Debora Glasgow, SWODA executive director, 20 years; and Mark Gardner, rural fire defense coordinator, 35 years.

Campbell also presented Perfect Attendance certificates to SWODA board members who attended meetings held from January through December of 2018. Members receiving awards were as follows: Thedis Mitchell, at-large trustee; Cynthia Gerhardt, Custer County conservation district trustee; John Dee Butchee, Jackson County conservation district trustee; Sterling Moore, Roger Mills County conservation district trustee; Donna Gilpatrick, Greer County conservation district trustee; Geary Caswell, Harmon County conservation district trustee; Leo Goeringer, Washita County commissioner trustee; and Lyle Miller, Custer County commissioner trustee.

SWODA Executive Director Debora Glasgow honored Bob Plummer, Washita County municipalities trustee, as an outgoing board member.

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.

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SWODA Board Trustees receiving perfect attendance awards are (from left) Leo Goeringer, Washita County commissioner trustee; Cynthia Gerhardt, Custer County conservation district trustee; Sterling Moore, Roger Mills County conservation district trustee; John Dee Butchee, Jackson County conservation district trustee; Donna Gilpatrick, Greer County conservation district trustee; Geary Casell, Harmon County conservation district trustee; Thedis Mitchell, at-large representative; and Lyle Miller, Custer County commissioner trustee.

December 18, 2018

ATTENTION GRADY AND MCCLAIN COUNTIES!

The Southwest Oklahoma Regional Transportation Planning Organization (SORTPO) is seeking public comment on the 2040 Grady County and the 2040 McClain County Long Range Transportation Plans. The Long Range Transportation Plan establishes the goals and transportation strategies for addressing the County’s transportation needs. Prior to adoption of the plan there is a 30-day public comment period which will end on January 21, 2019. During this comment period individuals, agencies, and organizations are encouraged to review the document and submit comments. The plan is available from the SORTPO offices located at the Burns Flat or atwww.sortpo.org (see “Publications” page) for review. Please submit written comments to Becky Cockrell, SWODA/SORTPO, 98 Frontier, PO Box 569, Burns Flat, OK 73624 or to becky@swoda.org.

December 18, 2018

Different ways to visit people at long-term care communities

Christmas is the holiday season which sees an uptick in visitation and attention being paid to our residents in long-term care communities. The residents are very excited by the children from schools, the ladies and gentleman from various civic organizations and the singers who come to carol and visit. However, the best gift would be to come every week or every month and share a few moments of your time with a resident who may not get to see anyone other than staff or other residents for long stretches of time.

Are you a person who loves crafts? Come join the activity group at the facility and share your ideas and talents. Do you love to play the piano, guitar or kazoo? You have a rapt audience just waiting for your performance. Sharpen your domino or card playing skills with a group of avid gamers or spend an hour calling out numbers for a very competitive and lively group of bingo players.

Long-term care communities always need volunteers in different capacities. I would love for you to become an Ombudsman volunteer, but if you only have a little time to share, would you please think of sharing it in the months that follow the most popular a visible month of December?

A quote that says it all about Christmas “ Christmas is forever, not for just one day, for loving, sharing, giving are not to put away likes bells and lights and tinsel, in some box upon a shelf. The good you do for others is good you do yourself” …. Norman Wesley Brooks.

For information regarding the Ombudsman program in your area, please call Cherrie Nutley at 580-562-4882, ext. 132.

NW PSA 11

November 14, 2018

Taking a break supercharges caregivers – Financial assistance available

November is National Family Caregivers Month with the theme “Supercharge Your Caregiving.” This month, caregivers are honored for their dedication in taking care of their loved ones. It is important that caregivers know they are not alone in their struggle to help their loved ones. The North West Planning Service Area 11 (NWPSA 11) Area Agency on Aging (AAA) has a program that may benefit many caregivers in southwestern Oklahoma.

The NWPSA 11 AAA may provide 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 individuals 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 of age.

Studies have shown that caregivers will 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.

These services are funded in part by state and Older Americans Act funds from NWPSA 11 AAA and DHS Aging Services. It is policy of NWPSA 11 AAA to serve all individuals who are eligible for its programs without regard of race, national origin, ancestry, color, religion, gender, age or disability.

To apply for respite services, a caregiver should call Tangela Henry, NWPSA 11, (800) 627-4882, ext. 126.

November 6, 2018

Volunteering just two hours a week makes huge difference for elderly

Do you or someone you know have an interest in volunteering? If so, get ready! We have great opportunities coming to your area! A two-part training for everyone interested in volunteering just a couple of hours a week will be held on Thursday, Nov. 29, and Thursday, Dec. 6, at the Western Technology Center in Elk City. Training will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.

You will learn all about becoming a volunteer ombudsman for a long-term care facility in your area. During your two-hour weekly commitment, you will make contact with residents who may not have much company and can just enjoy a visit.

In addition, while on site, you will be available to listen to complaints or concerns residents may have from the food is served cold to my laundry has gone missing to I would like the staff to knock before entering my home. You will then work to facilitate a change if needed.

You will always have the support and input of the area ombudsman supervisor, Cherrie Nutley. Cherrie will meet with your each month to discuss events and residents. She will also update you on the latest information about long-term care facilities.

If you think this is something you might be interested, in please contact Cherrie Nutley, ombudsman supervisor, at (580) 562-4068, ext. 132. The Ombudsman Program is part of SWODA and the Area Agency on Aging located in Burns Flat, Oklahoma.

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November 6, 2018

SWODA Aging Services offers respite to caregivers

November is National Family Caregivers Month. This month, caregivers are honored for their dedication in taking care of their loved ones. It is important that caregivers know they are not alone in their struggle to help their loved ones. The South Western Oklahoma Development Authority (SWODA) Area Agency on Aging (AAA) has a program that may benefit many caregivers in southwestern Oklahoma.

The SWODA AAA may provide 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."

Studies have shown that caregivers will 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.

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 of race, national origin, ancestry, color, religion, gender, age or disability.

To apply for respite services, a caregiver should call Ada Vanderford, SWODA AAA, (800) 627-4882, ext. 127.

October 29, 2019

Free public speaker available for clubs and civic organizations

Have you been tasked with lining up presentations and programs for your club or civic organizations? Consider giving Cherrie Nutley, ombudsman supervisor, a call at the SWODA office in Burns Flat. 580-562 4882, ext. 132. She would love to come tell you about the Ombudsman program, how it works, what it does and if interested, how to volunteer!

Shaelynn Peck picks tomatoes in preparation for the 4-H and FFA Kids Farmers Market in Sentinel.

October 8, 2018

Photo of Shaelynn Peck wins Peoples’ Choice Award in national photography contest

Once again, Sentinel will be on the national screen at the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) Training Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina. Mary Peck, SWODA business and marketing associate, entered a photo taken of her granddaughter, Shaelynn Peck, in their home garden. Shaelynn is the three-year-old daughter of Tyler and Stephanie Peck of Sentinel

This “People’s Choice” winner was chosen online by the public “liking” her photo. In 2015, SWODA entered the “People’s Choice” winning photo of the Red Barn Drive Thru in Sentinel.

NADO members from across the nation submitted 100 images that demonstrated what makes their regions great places to live, work and play. Visit www.nado.org to see all the images submitted for the contest and learn the stories behind the winning photos.

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September 25, 2018

SWODA providing Title III services to Northwest

South Western Oklahoma Development Authority (SWODA), Area Agency on Aging (AAA) has again been designated by the Department of Human Services, Aging Services Division as the Interim Administrative Organization for the North West Planning Service Area 11 (NW PSA 11) for the state fiscal year of 2019 that began on July 1, 2018. SWODA AAA will continue to oversee Title III services for the counties of Beaver, Cimarron, Dewey, Ellis, Harper, Texas, Woods and Woodward. There will be no interruption to services.

SWODA AAA is pleased to announce that beginning October 1, 2018, Community Action Development Corporation (CADC) will be expanding their Title III services in western Oklahoma to include the NW PSA 11. CADC has provided Title III services in the counties of Beckham, Custer, Kiowa, Roger Mills and Washita counties for over 36 years and has held a contract with SWODA AAA for the duration of this time period.

The citizens of North West Oklahoma and the services they receive through the Title III program are very important to SWODA AAA as well as CADC.

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact Samantha Walker, SWODA AAA planner, at swalker@swoda.org or by phone at 580-562-4882, ext. 105. You may also contact Anita Martinez, SWODA AAA director, at anita@swoda.org or at 580-562-4882, ext. 106.

September 10, 2018

Educate yourself to avoid being caught with large care bills!

Are you confused what Medicare will pay during Skilled Nursing Care? Do you know what your long-term care insurance policy pays? You may go to the hospital and be told you need skilled nursing and you wonder who pays. Before you get caught having a large long-term care bill, educate yourself about what your long-term care policy will pay. All long-term care facilities are not Medicare approved.

You also may be told Medicare will pay for your Skilled Nursing Care (SNF). Medicare has special limits on coverage for care that is provided in a “skilled nursing facility”(SNF). The coverage is intended to pay for skilled medical care for a short time between hospitalization and returning home.

Care must be performed by or under the supervision of licensed nursing personnel. Skilled rehabilitation services may include physical therapy performed by or under the supervision of a professional therapist.

You do not automatically qualify for Medicare SNF payment just because you are receiving some skilled services. Part A will not pay for a patient who needs skilled care only occasionally, such as once or twice a week, or who does not need to be in a SNF to get skilled services.

SNF criteria include the following:

•Hospitalized for at least three days, not counting the day of discharge and,

•Doctor must order skilled nursing care for the same condition for which you were hospitalized and,

•You must go into a Medicare approved, skilled nursing facility or rehab services facility no later than 30 days after leaving the hospital.

SNF benefits include the following:

•Under the SNF restrictions listed above, Medicare will pay for up to 100 days per benefit period.

•The coinsurance is paid for by the patient or a Medicare supplemental policy.

•Medicare’s SNF benefit ends after 100 days in a benefit period, but there is no limit on the number of benefit periods during which you can receive SNF benefits.

If you would like further information on long-term care issues, contact the ombudsman supervisor in your area: Cherrie Nutley (SW), 580-562-4882, ext. 132; or Jerome Thomas (NW), 918-576-9565.

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September 4, 2018

Area optometrists working with SWODA to provide eye care assistance

Reduced-cost eye exams and eyeglasses are now available to area residents. Area optometrists in cooperation with South Western Oklahoma Development Authority (SWODA) Aging Services are making is possible for elderly people with vision impairments and who can’t afford treatment to receive needed services.

To qualify, you must be 60 years of age or older, and/or an ADvantage consumer. You also must live in Beckham, Custer, Greer, Harmon, Jackson, Kiowa, Roger Mills, and Washita counties. You must also meet certain income and resource guidelines. If you are an elderly and/or disabled Advantage applicant, you must not be case managed by any agency other than SWODA Aging Case Management.

You can apply from September 1, 2018, to May 31, 2019, by contacting Tangela Henry at 800-627-4882, ext. 126. If you are a SWODA ADvantage consumer, you will need to contact your SWODA Aging Services Case Manager.

You will need to provide verification of income and resources through such documents as tax records, bank statement or Social Security check stubs. All information will be held confidential.

SWODA Aging Services thanks all optometrists who are working together to find solutions to problems and concerns of the aging and disabled in our area.

If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Tangela Henry at SWODA Aging Services, P.O. Box 569, Burns Flat, OK 73624 or telephone 800-627-4882, ext. 126.

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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August 13, 2018

Recognize abuse and neglect in nursing homes!

Neglect and abuse are criminal acts whether they occur inside or outside a nursing home. Nursing home residents do not surrender their rights to protection from criminal acts when they enter a facility.

According to the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987, all residents in nursing homes are entitled to receive quality care and live in an environment that improves or maintains the quality of their physical and mental health. This includes freedom from neglect, abuse and misappropriation of funds.

The law required nursing homes to have intervention strategies and regular monitoring to prevent neglect and abuse. Anyone suspecting abuse or neglect may report to the facility’s administrator or director of nursing, the state or local ombudsman, the local police or state law enforcement, adult protective services, or the state survey agency that licenses and certifies nursing homes.

Neglect is the failure to care for a person in a manner, which would avoid harm and pain, or the failure to react to a potentially harmful situation. Neglect may or may not be intentional.

Examples include incorrect body positioning which leads to contractures and skin breakdown; lack of toileting or changing of disposable briefs, causing incontinence resulting in residents sitting in urine or feces, increased falls and agitation, indignity and skin breakdown.

Lack of assistance with eating or drinking can lead to dehydration and malnutrition. Lack of assistance with walking can lead to immobility.

Lack of bathing can lead to indignity and poor hygiene. Poor hand washing can lead to infection.

Lack of assistance with participating in activities of interest can lead to withdrawal and isolation. Ignoring call bells or cries for help is yet another form of neglect.

Abuse is causing intentional pain or harm and may be physical, mental, verbal, psychological or sexual. Residents may experience abuse from a staff member, an intruder or visitor from outside the facility, including a family member. Forms of physical abuse include hitting, pinching, shoving, force-feeding, scratching, slapping or spitting.

Forms of psychological abuse include ignoring, berating, ridiculing, cursing and threats of punishment or deprivation. Sexual abuse includes improper touching or coercion to perform sexual acts.

Substandard care is another form of abuse and may result in immobilization, incontinence, dehydration, pressure sores and depression. Abuse may also include rough handling during care giving, medicine administration, or moving a resident.

Financial abuse occurs when a resident’s belongings or money are misplaced or misused without the resident’s consent. Examples include not placing resident funds in separate interest-bearing accounts and stealing or embezzling a resident’s money or personal property, such as jewelry or clothing.

In southwest Oklahoma (counties of Beckham, Custer, Greer, Harmon, Jackson, Kiowa, Roger Mills and Washita), contact your Area Ombudsman Supervisor Cherrie Nutley, 580-562-4882 or email cherrie@swoda.org with your questions or concerns.

In northwest Oklahoma (counties of Beaver, Cimarron, Dewey, Ellis, Harper, Texas, Woods and Woodward), contact your Area Ombudsman Supervisor Jerome Thomas, 918-576-9565 or email jerome@swoda.org.

July 24, 2018

Ombudsman Volunteers Needed

Have you ever heard that strange word, ombudsman, and wondered, just what is an Ombudsman, anyway? A long-term care ombudsman is a person who receives complaints from residents of long-term care facilities, their friends or relatives and attempts to resolve those complaints within the facility. The ombudsman has the authority to explore problems and recommend corrective action.

The volunteers within this area are extremely committed to the program and the residents served. In fact, the volunteers of the area share approximately 40 years of experience. The volunteers say the residents count on the weekly visits. Over half of the residents in long-term care facilities receive no visitors. Ombudsman volunteers visit residents a minimum of two hours weekly and are required to attend one monthly meeting to meet the State continuing education requirement. Elk City, Hobart, Snyder, Altus and Mangum are especially in need of ombudsman volunteers.

Join others experiencing the value of being an Ombudsman volunteer. If you are interested, contact Cherrie Nutley, ombudsman supervisor, SWODA Area Agency on Aging at 800-562-4882, ext. 132. The SWODA region includes the eight counties of Beckham, Custer, Greer, Harmon, Jackson, Kiowa, Roger Mills and Washita.

July 23, 2018

How heat affects the elderly and how you can help

Cherrie Nutley, ombudsman supervisor at South Western Oklahoma Development Authority Area Agency on Aging (SWODA AAA), advises that the elderly are more likely to experience the effects of hot weather than younger adults are. Physically, the elderly cannot adjust to significant changes in temperature as well as younger adults can. That combined with the effects of prescription drugs; which also reduce the body’s ability to adjust to temperature changes, may exacerbate the side effects they may experience. Many medications the elderly take may cause dehydration or affect the ability of their heart, blood vessels or sweat glands. This in turn would affect their overall ability to respond to high temperatures.

When the body's temperature hits 104 degrees Fahrenheit, heat stroke sets in and can cause permanent brain damage or even death. Signs that someone is suffering from heat stroke may include the following:

-A strong, rapid pulse.

-Lack of sweating.

-Dry, flushed skin.

-Faintness or staggering.

-Mental status changes such as: confusion, combativeness, disorientation or even coma.

Another concern concerning high body temperatures would be heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke when the body fails to regulate its own temperature. The affected individual becomes confused, lethargic and may have a seizure. Their skin stops sweating and their body temperature may exceed 106 degrees Fahrenheit. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include the following:

-Thirst.

-Weakness.

-Profuse sweating.

-Nausea and/or vomiting.

-Headache or lightheadedness.

-Cold or clammy skin.

-Normal to slightly high temperature.

If you suspect someone is suffering from heat exhaustion, you should do the following:

-Move them into an air-conditioned environment or a cool, shaded area.

-Provide fluids such as water and juice. Avoid alcohol and caffeine.

-Recommend a cool shower or bath.

-Encourage them to rest in a cool area.

You can also use other items available to cool the body temperature down such as the following:

-Cold soda cans placed under the arm (armpit area).

-Rags with ice placed inside and put around the neck, under the arms, across the back, bends of the legs.

-You want to take care not to leave the ice exposed to the skin for too long, be sure to use a thick rag or towel when using this method. Damage to the skin can occur.

Heat stroke and heat exhaustion are very serious and can be life threatening. If you suspect someone is suffering from these signs, you should call 911 immediately. The best way to prevent heat-related illnesses in the elderly would be to monitor them as often as possible. Also, make sure to keep them hydrated by providing plenty of fluids. Water is always the best bet.

For information about services for area aging, please contact Cherrie Nutley, SWODA AAA ombudsman supervisor, 800-627-4882, ext. 132, or by email at cherrie@swoda .org

June 25, 2018

Ribbon cutting celebrates completion of two more homes for Thomas

The South Western Oklahoma Development Authority (SWODA) recently held a ribbon cutting to celebrate the completion of two new homes in Thomas. The new homes are the third and fourth homes that SWODA has developed in Thomas. SWODA worked with the City of Thomas and Thomas Economic Development Authority (TEDA) to acquire lots for the homes. SWODA's housing program began in 2013 in response to the lack of quality, moderately-priced homes in Southwest Oklahoma.

"SWODA is trying to make a difference in the community by addressing some of the need for new housing and helping continue the strong economic development efforts of the City and TEDA. Thomas has made great strides in recent years and SWODA is proud to work by their side" said Debora Glasgow, SWODA's executive director.

Both of the new homes are under contracts with buyers and SWODA plans to begin construction on two additional homes in coming months.

Members of the Thomas City Council and Thomas Economic Development Authority with Debora Glasgow, SWODA, on far right.

June 18, 2018

Cherrie Nutley completes ombudsman supervisor certification

Elderly residents now have a certified long-term care ombudsman supervisor overseeing the 23 long-term care facilities in Custer, Kiowa, Greer, Beckham, Harmon, Roger Mills and Washita counties. Cherrie Nutley completed 90 hours of training and passed her certification test. William Whited, state long-term care ombudsman for Oklahoma, presented her certificate in May.

Cherrie will be visiting each facility a minimum of every three month. She will oversee ombudsman volunteers and receive, investigate and work to resolve complaints within a facility. Cherrie and the ombudsman volunteers have the authority to explore problems and recommend corrective action.

Ombudsmen are committed to improving and enriching the quality of life of older people. The Aging Services of the Department of Human Services under the Authority of the Older American Act and the Oklahoma Long-Term Care Ombudsman Act administers this program.

Cherrie came on board in February as the ombudsman supervisor at the South Western Oklahoma Development Authority (SWODA). She is married to Joey Nutley, and they make their home in Elk City. She has two children, Malcolm Byer and Chloe. Nutley has a love for the eldercare field and was an ombudsman volunteer before being hired to her current position.

The ombudsman program is always looking for dedicated volunteers. If interested in volunteering, contact Cherrie at 580-562-4882, ext. 132.

May 7, 2018

Caregiver shortage threatens for baby boomers

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. 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.

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.

Paid caregivers mostly fill jobs taking care of older people, usually working as nursing assistants, home health aides and personal care assistants. 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.

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.

For information about this program and other services offered through the SWODA AAA, call 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.