SWODA Press Releases

January 25, 2021

Continue to check with long-term health facilities for current visitation opportunities

By Cherrie Nutley, SWODA Ombudsman Supervisor, 580-562-5032

We’ve entered a new year, and we’re still facing with many of the hard parts of the previous year. For many residents in long-term care, the first weeks of March were the last time they received a hug or had their hands held by loved ones. We are learning how to stay in touch as best we can in these difficult times of quarantines and isolation.

Please remember to write, send packages, and make contact with your loved one via telephone. Better yet, arrange for a window visit or utilize Face Time and Zoom. Many long-term care facilities in our area had moved to in-person visits using various methods to keep the required social distance in place. However, following upticks in the county numbers or positive tests within the facility, they move back to full lock down mode.

Stay in touch with staff at the facility where your loved one resides so you know in what stage of visitation is in place at a given moment. Remember, it is not just your person impacted by COVID-19, but the staff and other residents as well.

Check in with the facility staff to see where they are on the COVID-19 vaccination schedule. Most, if not all, nursing homes in western Oklahoma have at least had their first round of vaccine and assisted living centers are starting to give vaccinations now.

As your area long-term care ombudsman supervisor, I can assist if you feel you’ve not been able to contact your loved one or if you have concerns about their care and wellbeing. Ombudsmen are being allowed in to do routine facility visits and to make visits with residents who may have a concern or a complaint. You may reach me, Cherrie Nutley, at 580-562-5032 or 580-821 4068.

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January 11, 2021

Masonic Fraternity of Oklahoma providing funds again 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.

If you live in one of the counties of Beckham, Custer, Greer, Harmon, Jackson, Kiowa, Roger Mills and Washita, call Tangela Henry at SWODA Aging Services at 800-627-4882, ext. 127, or her direct line at 580-562-5926. If you live in the counties of Beaver, Cimarron, Dewey, Ellis, Harper, Texas, Woods or Woodward, then call Kris Patton, at 800-627-4882 or 580-562-5027.

You can also call the statewide toll-free Senior Info Line at 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.

The Oklahoma Living Choice Program assists Oklahomans wanting to transition out of a nursing home and back into a residence of their own. For more information on the Oklahoma Living Choice program please call 888-287-2443 or email Oklahoma.livingchoice@okhca.org

December 14, 2020

Call Tangela or Kris to learn about services for residents 60+

Residents 60 years and older who need information about a program or service, or who simply have problems and don’t know where to turn for help can give Tangela Henry or Kris Patton a call. They’ll do the best they can to help. Calls from the elderly and their caregivers are welcomed.

Tangela is the information assistant for counties in Southwest Oklahoma. You can contact Tangela at SWODA Aging Services, 580-562-5026 or 800-627-4882, ext. 126. She covers the counties of Beckham, Custer, Greer, Harmon, Jackson, Kiowa, Roger Mills and Washita.

Kris is the information assistant for counties in Northwest Oklahoma. You can reach her at 580-562-4887 or 800-627-4882, ext. 127. She covers the counties of Beaver, Cimarron, Dewey, Ellis, Harper, Woods, Woodward and Texas.

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

Tangela and Kris provide information about AAA services and other community programs concerning the elderly through the Information and Assistance (I & A) service.

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.

SWODA is the interim administrative organization for 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 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.


Sad and bored Elderly woman with white hair, sitting alone at home. Non family visit her on Christmas. Depression for Self isolation during Coronavirus pandemic. Covid quarantine, lockdown.

December 7, 2020

CMS issues alert with recommendations to long-term care residents and their families

The holidays have begun and for many of us they look very differently from years past. For those of us who have loved ones in long-term care facilities, the holidays really bring home to us the feeling of separation. Hard to imagine exactly how the residents are feeling, but I do know from visiting with them that they are feeling lonesome and need to be reminded that they are thought of and thought of often!

With COVID-19 rates increasing throughout the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging all of us to celebrate virtually or just with members of our own household. Moreover, because residents in long-term care facilities are particularly at risk, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has taken the unusual step of issuing an alert with recommendations to residents, their families and their representatives.

Some of the alert points are as follows:

· Families and friends should continue to follow guidelines for visitation, this includes remaining 6 feet or more apart, wear a face covering, and limiting the number of family visiting at any one time.

· Long Term Care Facilities should find creative ways to celebrate the holidays without having parties or gatherings.

· Staff should use extra caution during the holidays and follow CDC recommendations for their own gatherings with families and friends outside of work to protect the vulnerable residents they care for.

· Friends and Families should also keep in mind their outside activities and interactions and how this will affect their loved ones in the facilities.

· CMS advises against residents leaving the facility for a holiday visit because doing so could increase the residents risk for exposure.

· In addition, each facility has put together a set of protocols for their residents and those that leave the facility for holiday visits will have to quarantine upon return and may not be allowed to return.

These are just a few of the recommendations from the CDC and CMS you can view the complete fact sheet at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html.

Gifts and cards can still be dropped off and delivered, window visits and car parades can be arranged and as always call your loved one often. The holidays will be different but they can still be festive and a celebration.

November 16, 2020

Oklahoma Living Choice Project provides more options for people with disabilities

The Oklahoma Living Choice Project promotes community living for people of all ages who have disabilities or long-term illnesses. The project gives Oklahomans more options for managing their health care needs and adding more balance to the state’s long-term care system.

This project assists Oklahomans wanting to transition out of a nursing home and back to a residence of their own. Areas of assistance includes the following: assistance with finding a new residence, home-delivered meals, transportation, skilled nursing, therapy services, personal care, medication management and transitional funds.

To qualify individuals must be at least 19 years of age, qualify for SoonerCare (Oklahoma’s Medicaid program) for at least one day prior to transition, have lived in an institutional setting for at least 90 consecutive days, voluntarily want to transition back into the community and be willing to plan an active role in his/her plan of care.

For more information, call the Help Line at 888-287-2443 or email oklahoma.livingchoice@okhca.org.

November 9, 2020

Show your appreciation to caregivers caregiving in crises during National Family Caregivers Month

November is National Family Caregivers Month with the theme “Caregiving in Crises.” 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.

Family caregivers manage health emergencies, juggle priorities and suffer isolation—and all that was before COVID. The pandemic brings even more challenges for caregivers.

Some of the new challenges facing caregivers are as follows:

· Video Appointments. These are great but they come with their own challengers.

· Keeping Loved One at Home and Out of Nursing Home. Some loved ones are needing to transition to assistant living or nursing homes, but because COVID has visitations limited, families are reluctant to make that move.

· Added Costs. It’s hard enough to cover the added cost of caring for a loved one at home, but many caregiving families are dealing with unemployment.

· Isolation. COVID has limited to visitors to home caregivers causing additional stress and loneliness.

· Risk. With COVID, how much risk is too much? A question with which we all are dealing.

If you have questions or need additional information and live in southwest Oklahoma, please contact Tangela Henry at SWODA Aging Services, 800-627-4882, ext. 126 or 580-562-5026.

To find out about services in northwest Oklahoma, call Kris Patton, NWPSA 11 AAA, at 800-627-4882, ext. 127 or 580-562-5027. She can answer your questions.

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.


Oct. 12, 2020

Long-term care residents honored during Residents’ Rights Month, October 2020

By Cherrie Nutley, SWODA Ombudsman Supervisor, and Stacey Lee, NW PSA11 Ombudsman Supervisor

Across the country, residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities along with family members, ombudsmen, citizen advocates, facility staff and others will honor the individual rights of long-term care residents by celebrating Residents’ Rights Month. Residents’ Rights Month is an annual event held in October by the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care (Consumer Voice) to celebrate and focus on awareness of dignity, respect and the value of long-term care residents.

The theme for Residents' Rights Month 2020 is, “Connection Matters” to emphasize connections to family, to friends, and to the community as an essential component of good health and quality of life for residents.

“The months of restrictions on visitation in long-term care facilities and the inability of residents, families, and friends to be together during the coronavirus pandemic has emphasized the importance of connection, of relationships, and the impact they have on all of our well-being,” said Lori Smetanka, executive director of the Consumer Voice.

The Nursing Home Reform Law, passed in 1987, guarantees nursing home residents their individual rights, including but not limited to: individualized care, respect, dignity, the right to visitation, the right to privacy, the right to complain, and the right to make independent choices. Residents who have made their home in other types of facilities maintain their rights as U.S. Citizens.

Residents’ Rights Month raises awareness about these rights and pays tribute to the unique contributions of long-term residents. The National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program has worked for more than 40 years to promote residents’ rights daily. More than 8,000 volunteers and 1,000 paid staff are advocates for residents in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico.

Authorized under the Older Americans Act and administered by the Administration on Aging, the program also provides information on how to find a facility, conducts community education sessions, and supports residents, their families and the public with one-on-one consultation regarding long-term care.

Please give Cherrie Nutley, SWODA Area Agency on Aging ombudsman supervisor, a call at 580-562-5032, or Stacey Lee, NW PSA11 ombudsman supervisor, a call at 580-562-5039 if you have questions.


September 21, 2020

Check with long-term care facilities for new phase reopening guidelines

By Cherrie Nutley, SWODA Ombudsman Supervisor

As I write this press release, it is with a sense of renewed hope and energy as the OK State Department of Health has issued new Phase reopening guidelines for long-term care facilities. Included in the new guidelines is confirmation of the fact that ombudsmen will once again be allowed in long-term care facilities, using proper PPE and Covid 19 precautions, and requirements for each facility.

I was able to make my first in person facility visit this past week, and I was walking on air when I left. The facility in question had worked hard throughout this pandemic to provide good care for the residents and to keep them connected to their friends and family. I finally saw with my own eyes the faces of the residents I have come to know and care for so much.

They are doing well; what a resilient community they are. But, and this is important, they miss you and want to see you as soon as possible. They are wearing their masks within the community they call home; they are practicing social distancing. They are washing and using hand sanitizers often each day. The staff are doing the same. So, we must practice these same steps out in the world so we can conquer this virus and once again visit freely and in person with our loved ones in long-term care facilities across the nation.

As an ombudsman, it’s my job to advocate for these residents and to be their voice. If you have concerns about what is happening at the facility where your loved one resides or if you need better guidance in having better communication with your loved ones as visitation restrictions vary from facility to facility and county to county, please give me a call. Cherrie Nutley at 580-562-5032. Check in with the staff to see how things are progressing as things are changing week by week.

This is a team effort, and the goal is for long-term care residents to once again have visitors, enjoy group activities and to dine together in the dining room. We can make this happen!


Happy retired senior woman looking at camera while holding eyeglasses. Smiling satisfied woman wearing spectacles at home. Closeup face of old grandmother trying on new eyewear.

August 31, 2020

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, 2020, to May 31, 2021, by contacting Tangela Henry at 800-627-4882, ext. 126 or 580-562-5026. 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 or 580-562-5026.

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 17, 2020

Over $1 million in grants awarded to SWODA to address opioid misuse in 23 Oklahoma counties

By Carol Binghom, Western Oklahoma Opioid Prevention Consortium Project Director

Two grants totaling over $1 million were awarded to South Western Oklahoma Development Authority (SWODA) to address opioid misuse in the following 23 counties: Alfalfa, Beaver, Beckham, Blaine, Caddo, Cimarron, Custer, Dewey, Ellis, Garfield, Grant, Greer, Harmon, Harper, Jackson, Kiowa, Major, Roger Mills, Texas, Tillman, Washita, Woods and Woodward.

The Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP) Implementation Grant is for $1 million. SWODA wants to reduce the occurrence of Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) among new and at-risk users, as well as, fatal opioid overdoses. Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) on a mobile medical unit will be used while utilizing telehealth services for treatment and recovery. This is in collaboration with Red Rock Behavioral Health Services and Northwest Center for Behavioral Health. The mobile unit will be staffed with an advanced practice registered nurse and patient navigator.

Funds will also be used in public schools in conjunction with Oklahoma Department of Health Educators in a life-skill training for third through fifth grade students to help them avoid the misuse/abuse of opioids and prescription drugs.

Other ways the funds will be distributed are as follows: Narcan will be purchased and distributed to Vance and Altus Air Force Base barracks. There will be funds available to train doctors to become Data 2000 waivered to treat opioid abuse disorder patients using MAT. Oklahoma Conference of Churches will train peer coaches and increase the number of recovery programs in our communities. They will also collaborate with The Amethyst House in Altus to establish a MAT recovery house in central western Oklahoma.

SWODA also received a $50,000 grant from Telligen Community Initiative (TCI), a private, Iowa-based charitable foundation. The one-year funds will supplement the salaries of the advanced practice registered nurse and a patient navigator for the mobile medical unit.

Western Oklahoma Opioid Prevention Consortium was one of only 15 grants selected for TCI’s 2020 Oklahoma and Colorado-based funding cycle, which awarded a total of $640,685 in grants to nonprofit organizations in these states ($325,000 to Oklahoma and $315,685 to Colorado). TCI works to support projects in the priority funding areas of health innovation, health care workforce development and access to care for the underserved. Since 2014, TCI has awarded more than $10.3 million to 251 organizations and projects in Iowa, Illinois, Oklahoma and Colorado.

Western Oklahoma Opioid Prevention Consortium is represented by the following:

· SWODA - Debora Glasgow, Executive Director; Carol Binghom, Project Director; Stephanie Haworth, Special Project Coordinator

· Jackson County Courthouse – District Attorney David Thomas

· District II Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Task Force – Chet Glancy, Coordinator/Director

· Southwest Regional Surgical Associates – Dr. William Sims, MD, FACS

· Great Plains Youth and Family Services – Kody Suanny, Executive Director; Kim Rumschlag, Program Director

· Oklahoma Conference of Churches – Michael Owens, Program Manager

· Carnegie Public Schools – Middle School Principal Randy Turney

· Clinton Indian Health Services – Dr. Kara Cline

· Beckham County Courthouse – Associate Judge Michelle Roper, District Court

· Southwest Oklahoma Community Action Group– Kelly Baker, Retired & Senior Volunteer Program Director

· Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs – Laura Broyles, Program Manager

· Parent Group Representative - Renee Roberts

· Person in Recovery Representative - April Ruiz

· Red Rock Behavioral Health Services – Ashley Jackson, BHCM II, RSS Clinical Coordinator

· Jackson County Health Department – April Collom, Public Health Educator

· Beckham County Health Department – Arielle Howard, Public Health Educator

· The Amethyst House – Staci Kirby, Executive Director

· Northwest Center of Behavioral Health – Charita McOsker, Executive Director; Glenda Blosser, Prevention Specialist

· Southwestern Oklahoma State University – Kalie Kerth, Rural Health Services

· Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services - Consultants

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $1,000,000 with zero percentage financed with non-governmental sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government. The overall goal of the program is to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with opioid overdoses in high-risk, rural communities by strengthening the capacity of multi-sector community agencies to increase the access of care and resources for prevention, treatment, and recovery. The Western Oklahoma Opioid Prevention Consortium was developed by SWODA Executive Director, Debora Glasgow, and the SWODA Board of Trustees. Twenty-three counties in western Oklahoma will benefit from the three-year grant.

More information will be coming soon to the SWODA website at www.swoda.org. If further information is needed contact Carol Binghom, project director, carol@swoda.org or Stephanie Haworth, special project coordinator, stephanie@swoda.org or by phone at 580-562-5042.


8/10/2020

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 South Western Oklahoma Development Authority (SWODA) Area Agency on Aging (AAA) which includes the counties of Beckham, Custer, Greer, Harmon, Jackson, Kiowa, Roger Mills and Washita.

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 SWODA Aging Services Information Assistant Tangela Henry at 580-562-5026 or 800-627-4882, ext. 126, or call statewide toll-free Senior Info Line at 800-211-2116.

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.

8/10/2020

Now isn’t the time to be complacent when reaching out to loved ones

By Cherrie Nutley, SWODA Ombudsman Supervisor

We are nearing the end of summer, and we are still dealing with restrictions on visitation and utilizing varying technology to stay connected to our loved ones in long-term care facilities. We had no idea when the summer started they we would end the season in the same fashion.

As with anything a person lives with we are becoming adjusted to this new normal of just driving by the long-term care facility and waving at our loved ones, or in sitting outside by the window trying to converse with your loved one who clearly cannot hear you or understand what is going on.

We have become accustomed to not arranging for Grandma or Grandpa to attend the family birthday parties or taking them on Sunday drives to see the cattle.

We cannot become complacent. We must not let this rhythm continue. Make an extra effort in the coming weeks to reach out and communicate.

If you have found it to be too difficult, time consuming or impossible, be sure to contact your area long-term care ombudsman who can speak to the staff at the long-term care facility in question. The facility staff may be unaware that you cannot reach your loved one, and they will work with you and/or the ombudsman to make a virtual visit or phone call happen.

Keep those cards, pictures and letters coming and above all keeping washing your hands, wearing your masks and keeping the social distancing up. The sooner we get past this pandemic the sooner we can once again hug our loved ones and take those Sunday drives.

For more information about the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program, please contact Cherrie Nutley, Ombudsman Supervisor at 580-562-5032.


Thomas retires from service to ombudsman program in Northwest Oklahoma

By Cherrie Nutley, Interim NW PSA 11 LTC Ombudsman Supervisor

After serving the long-term care (LTC) facilities of Northwestern Oklahoma for more than seven years, LTC Ombudsman Supervisor Jerome Thomas is retiring. Jerome says he is very thankful to have had the privilege of serving the special people living in long-term care facilities as their ombudsmen.

Jerome will not be sitting at home. He is the pastor of the Congregational Church of Shattuck and serves as the mayor of Fargo. His hobbies also keep him very busy. Jerome collects and repairs old radios, loves to sing and entertain.

The DHS Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman will be filling the position left by Jerome, but certainly not replacing him as he has done an amazing job with long-lasting results and relationships.

Cherrie Nutley, LTC ombudsman supervisor for Southwestern Oklahoma, will be covering the area for now. Contact her at 580-562-5032, 580-821-4068 or cherrie@swoda.org.

Remember, the ombudsman supervisor advocates for the rights of the residents and never has this been more important than now!


SWODA Aging Services offers financial support to caregivers

By Tangela Henry

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 eighteen years.

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.

To apply for respite services, a caregiver should call Tangela Henry, SWODA AAA at (580) 562-5026 or (800) 627-4882, ext. 126. 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 of the caregiver/care receiver 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 of 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.

Financial assistance for two types of caregivers

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. The North West Planning Service Area 11 (NWPSA 11) Area Agency on Aging (AAA) has financial resources to help give eligible caregivers a break.

These financial resources are available for two different types of caregivers. One type of assistance is for caregivers over 55 raising grandchildren or some other relative, such as a niece or nephew. The child must be no older than 18 years. The program provides vouchers to eligible applicants to take a break from caregiver duties. Caregivers can use the vouchers to hire a sitter or care provider of their choice. The sitter or care provider must be 18 yrs. or older and not living in the household.

The second type of assistance is for caregivers 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 because of a cognitive or other mental impairment.

The financial assistance provides a way for caregivers 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

For more information, contact Kris Patton, NWPSA 11 Area Agency on Aging information and assistance specialist, at 1-800-627-4882 ext. 127 or 580-562-5027.

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.

NWPSA 11 is one of 11 Councils of Government in the state. South Western Oklahoma Development Authority (SWODA) is the interim administrative organization for NWPSA 11 AAA. SWODA’s region of service includes municipalities, counties and conservation districts in Beaver, Cimarron, Dewey, Ellis, Harper, Woods, Woodward and Texas 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.

Assistance for grandparents raising grandchildren

If you are raising your grandchildren or some other relative, such as a niece or nephew and if you are over 55, the SWODA Area Agency on Aging has a respite care program that may be able to help. The child must be no older than 18 years.

The program provides vouchers to eligible applicants to take a break from caregiver duties by hiring a sitter or care provider of their choice. The sitter or care provider must be 18 years or older and not living in your household.

For more information, contact Kris Patton, SWODA Area Agency on Aging specialist, at 1-800-627-4882 ext. 127 or 580-562-5027.

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.

NWPSA 11 is one of 11 Councils of Government in the state. SWODA’s region of service includes municipalities, counties and conservation districts in Beaver, Cimarron, Dewey, Ellis, Harper, Woods, Woodward and Texas 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.

Studies show that caregivers give better care with breaks

By Kris Patton, NWPSA 11 AAA

Studies show 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. Taking a break does just that.

Are you a caregiver in Beaver, Cimarron, Dewey, Ellis, Harper, Woods, Woodward and Texas counties? It’s important for you to take breaks, and there is a program providing financial assistance in doing just that. Best part, it doesn’t have any income or resource limitations.

This financial assistance program is available for all caregivers who meet the definition. To be considered a caregiver, you must be 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 because of a cognitive or other mental impairment.

A caregiver can use 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.

The program to give caregivers a break (respite) is provided through North West Planning Service Area 11 (NWPSA 11) Area Agency on Aging (AAA) in partnership with the Department of Human Services Aging Division. Along with respite services, assistance with access to respite services and other supplemental services are provided.

To apply for respite services, call Kris Patton, NWPSA 11 AAA, at 800-627-4882 or 580-562-5027. If you qualify, you may be eligible to receive respite vouchers.

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.

Funding still available to assist with services for 55+ residents

By Kris Patton, SWODA NWPSA11 Masonic Program Coordinator

Do you need assistance with minor home repair, building a wheelchair ramp, purchasing an air conditioner window unit or space heater, or repairing your air conditioner or heater? These are just a few examples of how funding from the Masonic Fraternity of Oklahoma in partnership with South Western Oklahoma Development Authority (SWODA) NWPSA11 Area Agency on Aging (AAA) might be utilized.

There is an application process for individuals 55 and over who are in need of some type assistance not otherwise provided by other agencies/programs. These funds are used on a first-come, first-served basis until they are all utilized. Funding for each type of service is 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 is available once per person every three year.

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

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 enables AAA staff to assist many callers with resources that were not available previously.

To learn more about this and other available services, call the SWODA NWPSA11 Masonic Program Coordinator Kris Patton at 800-627-4882 or call 580-562-5027.

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Volunteers handle concerns of residents of nursing homes, assisted living centers and residential care facilities

Residents of nursing homes, assisted living centers or residential care facilities may have common complaints such as quality of food served, temperature of the facility, lack of engaging activities, concerns about finances or how staff interacts with residents. Concerns are as varied as the population of the facilities, but once all the information is in place, remediation of most complaints is easy.

To help with these concerns, there are extra eyes and ears of volunteers who represent and work for the residents and who then work with the long-care facility staff to mediate and/or resolve the complaints. These volunteers, known as long-term care ombudsmen, are committed to improving and enriching the lives of older people.

Ombudsmen trained and then assigned to a facility in their area. These ombudsmen visit their facility a minimum of two hours each week. They are trained to look for and to deal with concerns that may arise and to refer those complaints to Ombudsman Supervisor Cherrie Nutley in the southwest or Ombudsman Supervisor Jerome Thomas in the northwest. Each month, the ombudsmen meet with Cherrie or Jerome to report on their facility and the residents there. They also participate in continuing education opportunities.

Cherrie or Jerome also do routine visits every three months to facilities. Ombudsmen receiving calls seeking assistance prompts additional visits by Cherrie or Jerome

The Ombudsman Program came about with the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987. It basically states that all residents of nursing homes, assisted living centers or residential care facilities are entitled to receive quality care and live in an environment that improves or maintains the quality of their physical and mental health.

If you are interested in finding out more about reporting concerns or becoming an ombudsman, please give Cherrie a call at 580-562-5032 or Jerome at 918-576-9565.

December 16, 2019

South Western Oklahoma Development Authority Board presents service awards

The South Western Oklahoma Development Authority (SWODA) Board of Trustees honored the service of eight board members and one SWODA employee at the monthly meeting held Tuesday, December 10, in Burns Flat. SWODA Board Chairman John Dee Butchee presented the awards.

Board members receiving service awards were Thedis Mitchell, at-large trustee, 5 years; Eddie Tom Lackey, Beckham County municipalities trustee, 10 years; Mike Brown, Custer County municipalities trustee, 15 years; Geary Caswell, Harmon County commissioner, 15 years; and Sterling Moore, Roger Mills County conservation districts trustee, 20 years.

Ruthie Southerland, SWODA Aging Services case manager, was honored for her five years of service.

Butchee also presented Perfect Attendance certificates to SWODA board members who attended meetings held from January through December of 2019. Members receiving awards were as follows: Edie Brown, Washita County conservation districts trustee; Geary Caswell, Harmon County commissioner; Leo Goeringer, Washita County commissioner; Thedis Mitchell, at-large trustee; and Sterling Moore, Roger Mills conservation districts trustee.

SWODA Executive Director Debora Glasgow honored Nicky Boone, Harmon County commissioner, 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.

SWODA Board Chairman John Dee Butchee presents Mike Brown, Custer County municipalities trustee, an award for 15 years of service to SWODA.

SWODA Board Chairman John Dee Butchee presents Geary Casell, Harmon County conservation districts trustee, an award for 15 years of service and perfect attendance at SWODA board meetings.

SWODA Board Chairman John Dee Butchee presents Sterling Moore, Roger Mills County conservation districts trustee, an award for 20 years of service and perfect attendance at SWODA board meetings.

SWODA Board Chairman John Dee Butchee presents Edie Brown, Washita County conservation districts trustee, an award for perfect attendance at SWODA board meetings.

SWODA Board Chairman John Dee Butchee presents Leo Goeringer, Washita County commissioner, an award for perfect attendance at SWODA board meetings.

SWODA Board Chairman John Dee Butchee presents Ruthie Southerland, SWDOA Area Agency case manager, an award for five years service to SWODA.

SWODA Board Chairman John Dee Butchee presents Nicky Boone, Harmon County commissioner and outgoing trustee, an award honoring his work with the SWODA Board of Trustees.

SWODA Board Chairman John Dee Butchee presents Eddie Tom Lakey, Beckham County municipalities trustee, an award for 10 years of service to SWODA.

SWODA Board Chairman John Dee Butchee presents Thedis Mitchell, at-large trustee, an award for five years of service and perfect attendance at SWODA board meetings.

November 12, 2019

Waldrop has a legacy of volunteerism

By Cherrie Nutley, SWODA Area Agency on Aging Ombudsman Supervisor

On October 28, a retirement reception was held at Angelwood Assisted Living Center for W.C. Waldrop who had served as a Long Term Care Ombudsman Volunteer for 23 years.

Willie or Bill as he is affectionately known by most is a volunteer in the best sense of the word as he has a heart for helping those in need. He is a very good listener and in the world of Long Term Care this is of the utmost importance for residents at these facilities.

Residents and staff of Clinton Therapy Center are used to seeing Bill come through just checking in. He always has a ready smile and most importantly, he makes one feel as if he has all the time in the world to just visit. On Bill’s application back in 1996 to become a Ombudsman Volunteer he put down that he wanted to make a positive difference in the lives of Long Term Care Residents . . . and he has.

Boy Scouts of America, the church, neighbors and The American Legion all have enjoyed having Bill as a volunteer. Bill likes to keep busy and has many hobbies including woodworking. Stop by Angelwood and see some of the models of bridges that Bill has built!

October 21, 2019

National Residents’ Rights Month theme is “Stand for Quality”

October is “Residents’ Rights Month,” an annual event designated by Consumer Voice to honor residents living in all long-term care facilities. It is an opportunity to focus on and celebrate awareness of dignity, respect, and the rights of each resident.

The federal Nursing Home Reform Law guarantees residents’ rights and places a strong emphasis on individual dignity, choice, and self-determination. The law also requires nursing homes to “promote and protect the rights of each resident.” Residents’ Rights Month is a time to raise awareness of these rights and celebrate residents.

This year's theme, "Stand for Quality," emphasizes the importance of quality in all aspects of residents’ experiences – quality care, quality of life, quality services, and quality choices – to name a few. Residents’ Rights Month is an opportunity for staff, families, ombudsman programs, residents and other advocates to work together to stand for and promote quality long-term care.

Please give Cherrie Nutley, SWODA Area Agency on Aging ombudsman supervisor, a call at 580-562-5032, if you have questions. Please give contact Jerome Thomas, ombudsman supervisor for northwest Oklahoma, at 918-576-9565.

https://youtu.be/uF2pg3BaWSs

Team SWODA Walks to End Alzheimer's

Walk to End Alzheimer's is October 5 and Team SWODA is doing terrific. We currently have $1,180.00 in donations for our team, but we need lots more! You can give your donation to one of our staff or contact Cherrie Nutley at (580) 562-4882, ext. 132, for more information about donating. And, another option is the online link to donate directly to the SWODA team. https://act.alz.org/site/TR/Walk2019/OK-Oklahoma?team_id=553999&pg=team&fr_id=12476

August 26, 2019

23 counties to benefit from SWODA’s $200,000 RCORP Planning Grant for opioid prevention

South Western Oklahoma Development Authority (SWODA) was awarded a $200,000 RCORP (Rural Communities Opioid Response Program) Planning Grant, and 23 counties will benefit upon completion of the first-year-planning process. Those counties are Alfalfa, Beaver, Beckham, Blaine, Caddo, Cimarron, Custer, Dewey, Ellis, Garfield, Grant, Greer, Harmon, Harper, Jackson, Kiowa, Major, Roger Mills, Texas, Tillman, Washita, Woods and Woodward.

SWODA wants to reduce the occurrence of opioid use disorder (OUD) among new and at-risk users, as well as, fatal opioid overdoses through community awareness education and youth education activities. To accomplish this, SWODA Executive Director Debora Glasgow and the SWODA Board of Directors developed the Western Oklahoma Opioid Prevention Consortium (WOOPC).

During the first year of the grant, WOOPC will develop a strategic plan to address the gaps in OUD prevention and incorporate innovative approaches proven to reduce morbidity and mortality associated with opioid overdose in rural areas. The consortium will develop strategies to improve service coordination to address public safety concerns, such as training, intervention, prevention and diversion programs for children, youth and families directly impacted by opioid abuse. They will also be creating coordinated delivery of resource information and programs in the 23-county area.

The following represent WOOPC:

SWODA: Executive Director Debora Glasgow, Project Director Carol Binghom and Special Projects Stephanie Haworth;

Jackson County Courthouse: District Attorney David Thomas.

District II Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Task Force: Coordinator/Director Chet Glancy;

Southwest Regional Surgical Associates: Dr. William Sims, MD, FACS;

Great Plains Youth and Family Services: Executive Director Kody Suanny, Program Director Kim Rumschlag and Healthy Living Assistant Program Coordinator Donna Davilla;

Carnegie Public Schools: Middle School Principal Randy Turney;

Beckham County Courthouse: Associate Judge Michelle Roper, District Court;

Southwest Oklahoma Community Action Group: Retired and Senior Volunteer Program Director Kelly Baker;

Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs: Program Manager Laura Broyles;

Red Rock Behavioral Health Services: RSS Clinical Coordinator Ashley Jackson, BHCM II;

Jackson County Health Department: Public Health Educator April Collom;

Beckham County Health Department: Public Health Educator Arielle Howard;

The Amethyst House: Executive Director Staci Kirby;

Northwest Family Services: Executive Director Brenda Rose;

Shortgrass Community Health Center, Inc.: Quality Improvement & Risk Management Coordinator, Dennie Christian.

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $200,000 with zero percentage financed with nongovernmental sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government. The overall goal of the program is to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with opioid overdoses in high-risk, rural communities by strengthening the capacity of multi-sector community resources to address youth prevention and community awareness.

More information will be coming soon to the SWODA website at www.swoda.org. If further information is needed contact Carol Binghom, project director, carol@swoda.org or Stephanie Haworth, special projects, stephanie@swoda.org or by phone at 580-562-4882.

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August 12, 2019

Caregiver shortage threatens for baby boomers

By Tangela Henry, SWODA AAA Information and Assistant Specialist

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 Tangela Henry, 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.

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August 4, 2019

Legislators present over $1 million in grant funding

The South Western Oklahoma Development Authority (SWODA) and Oklahoma legislators presented over $1 million on July 24 at the Civic Center in Elk City. Senator Brent Howard, Senator Darcy Jech, Representative Todd Russ and Representative Harold Wright presented Rural Economic Action Plan (REAP) grants and Community Enhancement of Nutrition Assistance (CENA) grants.

Every year SWODA helps rural communities in the southwest area apply for REAP and CENA grant funding, which helps to improve the lives of citizens in rural communities, improve infrastructure and promote economic growth and stability in rural areas. After the legislature approves appropriations, SWODA awards the grant funding.

REAP grant funding is often the only resources small, rural communities can depend on to get things done. Citizens of rural communities usually have to travel to larger communities for their daily needs and as a result pay taxes in those communities instead of their own. REAP funding is a way of giving those tax dollars back to the rural communities.

CENA grant funding assists rural communities in providing nutritional meals for senior citizens through various community or volunteer programs.

Communities receiving REAP grants are as follows:

· Town of Cloud Chief Fire Department, $75,000. Building addition to fire station.

· Town of Colony Fire Department, $20,000. Repairs to fire truck.

· Town of Dill City Fire Department, $15,000. Repairs to fire station.

· Town of East Duke, $75,000. Painting of water storage towers.

· Town of Gotebo, $64,240. Water line replacement.

· Town of Gould Fire Department, $45,000. Purchase personnel protective bunker gear.

· Town of Granite, $61,002. Installation of a water transmission line.

· Town of Headrick, $43,840. Water tower improvements.

· Town of Mountain View, $34,026. Purchase one pickup for PWA.

· Town of Olustee, $75,000. Purchase of oil and chip materials for street improvement project.

· Town of Reydon, $55,000. Water line replacement.

· Town of Rocky, $75,000. Purchase of loader/backhoe unit for water department.

· Roger Mills County/Rural Water District #2, $47,500. Install additional water lines.

· City of Sayre, $75,246. Asphalt street overlay project.

· City of Thomas Fire Department, $75,000. Installation of water softener for fire department.

· Washita County Conservation District, $52,847. Purchase of compact excavator for use on watershed dams.

· Washita County/Washita Rural Water District #2, $75,000. Installation of telemetry system for five standpipes and three water wells.

Communities receiving CENA grants are as follows:

· City of Altus, $1,625.

· Arapaho Senior Citizens Center, $400.

· Berlin Senior Center, $4,278.

· Town of Blair Senior Citizens Center, $5,220.

· Town of Cheyenne Nutrition Site, $1,625.

· Cloud Chief Senior Center, $1,000.

· Cordell Senior Citizens Center, $7,480.

· Corn Senior Citizens Center, $1,000.

· Cowden Senior Center, $1,625.

· Dill City Senior Citizens Center, $5,253.

· City of Erick Senior Citizens Center, $6,810.

· Town of Gotebo Senior Citizens Center, $1,625.

· Town of Granite Nutrition Site, $1,625

· Town of Hammon Senior Citizens Center, $7,380.

· Hobart Senior Citizens Center, $6,840.

· City of Hollis Nutrition Site, $1,625.

· Lone Wolf Senior Citizens Center, $7,268.

· City of Mangum Nutrition Site, $1,625.

· Town of Mountain View Nutrition Site, $1,625.

· Town of Olustee Nutrition Site, $390.

· Town of Reydon Senior Citizens Center, $5,940.

· Town of Rocky Nutrition Site, $1,625.

· Roosevelt Senior Citizens Center, $7,006.

· Sayre Senior Citizens Assn., Inc., $1,625.

· Town of Sentinel Senior Citizens Center, $5,037.

· City of Snyder Senior Citizens Center, $7,570.

· Warren Senior Citizens Center, $6,300.

· City of Weatherford Nutition Site, $1,625.

· Town of Willow Senior Citizens Center, $1,625.

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 about SWODA grant programs, contact the South Western Oklahoma Development Authority at (580) 562-4882.

July 8, 2019

You can bring sunshine to long-term care residents in your area!

July and the sunshine have arrived! Isn’t it wonderful to be able to take a walk or drive down to a scenic overlook and just take in the beauty of our great state? What if you couldn’t do this? What if a simple stroll outdoors required assistance? How would this make you feel?

Many residents in long-term care facilities have given up on fresh air, wind in their faces and watching the seasons change other than beyond the facility windows. For some, it’s a depression that has set in over the loss of their home and independence. For others, it becomes I am old why should I bother to keep moving, get out to see the sights and feel the sun on my face.

We can make a difference for these residents. Volunteer to be an ombudsman and work with facility staff and residents to make getting outdoors easier and more accessible. Visit with the residents and find out what they would like in the way of outdoor trips and what help they need in getting into and out of the facility van or bus.

An ombudsman volunteer acts as the liaison between the residents and the facility staff, voicing the needs and desires of those residents who are hesitant for whatever reason to call attention to themselves and changes they may like to happen. For some residents, the visit from the ombudsman volunteer is the sunshine of their day. How wonderful to be someone’s sunshine!

If you’re interested in becoming someone’s sunshine or becoming an ombudsman volunteer, please give Jerome Thomas, ombudsman supervisor for northwest Oklahoma, at 918-576-9565. For southwest Oklahoma, contact Cherrie Nutley, ombudsman supervisor at 580-562-4882 or 580-821-4068.

Training classes will be forming soon in a town near you.

May 6, 2019

Join volunteers in serving elderly

By Cherrie Nutley, SWODA Area Agency on Aging Ombudsman Supervisor

Are you a person with a concern for older people and their needs? Do you love working with all different types of people? Do you have at least two hours per week to spare? Do your love to visit and listen? Do you have an interest in volunteering with those living in a long-term care facility? Then, this may be the volunteer opportunity for which you’ve been searching.

To sign up or if you need more information, please call Cherrie Nutley, (580) 562-4882, ext. 132.

Ombudsman volunteers are needed in Beckham, Custer, Greer, Harmon, Jackson, Kiowa, Roger Mills and Washita counties.

April 15, 2019

Honoring our area 9-1-1 dispatchers

Southwest Oklahoma Regional 9-1-1 Association (SWOR 911) is celebrating April 14-20 as National Public Safety Telecommunicator Week (NPSTW). We join the nation in honoring the hundreds of men and women who answer emergency 9-1-1 calls, dispatch emergency professionals and equipment, and render life-saving assistance to all citizens in need.

The SWOR 911 region includes 911 centers serving Beckham, Custer, Blaine, Kiowa, Roger Mills, Washita and Harmon counties. These dispatchers are the vital link from the public to life saving services. They literally are the FIRST responders. They are expert multi-taskers. They are proficient listeners, and they are always required to stay calm no matter what they hear on the other end of the phone. Not an easy task!

Join us in honoring these local citizens, who through their dedication make difference every day in someone’s life. They are the behind-the-scenes, everyday heroes.

Clinton
Elk City
Washita Co.
Weatherford
Hollis
Roger Mills Co.
Sayre
Hobart

March 25, 2019

Volunteers make new home more welcoming

Welcome to your new home, in a new neighborhood and maybe a new town. These words may ring with excitement when you are young or ready to make a change in your life or lifestyle. They may not sound so exciting if the move you’re making is to a long-term care facility whether you made the decision for yourself or feel the decision was taken out of your hands by economic issues, health issues or just a need for a different living arrangement.

Residents of long-term care facilities wish for good care, kind and patient staff, a companionable roommate, good food, interesting and fun activities, freedom of choice, visitors, telephone use and a quiet, clean environment. Not any different then what any of us wish. Residents have rights, and volunteer ombudsmen make sure those rights are respected.

If you have an interest in spending time with residents of long-term care facilities as a volunteer ombudsman you are in luck, Cherrie Nutley, ombudsman supervisor for your area, is preparing a new volunteer training for spring. For more information just call Cherrie at (580) 562-4882.

If you are interested in finding out more about reporting concerns or becoming an ombudsman, please give Cherrie a call at (580) 562-4882, ext. 132.

February 25, 2019

Volunteers handle concerns of residents of nursing homes, assisted living centers and residential care facilities

Residents of nursing homes, assisted living centers or residential care facilities may have common complaints such as quality of food served, temperature of the facility, lack of engaging activities, concerns about finances or how staff interacts with residents. Concerns are as varied as the population of the facilities, but most are easily remedied once all the information is in place.

To help with these concerns, there are extra eyes and ears of volunteers who represent and work for the residents and who then work with the long-care facility staff to mediate and/or resolve the complaints. These volunteers, known as long-term care ombudsmen, are committed to improving and enriching the lives of older people.

Ombudsmen trained and then assigned to a facility in their area. These ombudsmen visit their facility a minimum of two hours each week. They are trained to look for and to deal with concerns that may arise and to refer those complaints to Ombudsman Supervisor Cherrie Nutley. Each month, the ombudsmen meet with Cherrie to report on their facility and the residents there. They also participate in continuing education opportunities.

Cherrie also does routine visits every three months to facilities in Beckham, Custer, Greer, Harmon, Jackson, Kiowa, Roger Mills and Washita counties. Additional visits are prompted when ombudsmen receive calls seeking assistance.

The Ombudsman Program came about with the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987. It basically states that all residents of nursing homes, assisted living centers or residential care facilities are entitled to receive quality care and live in an environment that improves or maintains the quality of their physical and mental health.

If you are interested in finding out more about reporting concerns or becoming an ombudsman, please give Cherrie a call at (580) 562-4882, ext. 132.

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.

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.

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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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!

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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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.