SWODA Press Releases

November 22, 2021

Long-term care facilities welcoming visitors. Check with them for details before visiting.

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

It is the season of family gatherings and this year will be a very Thankful Thanksgiving. Long-term care facilities are working very hard to make visitation with your loved one easy and meaningful as they continue to work in the middle of a still active time of COVID.

Facilities are reporting almost 100% of residents have chosen to be vaccinated. Facilities still have very active screening process in place, but are welcoming all visitors. Residents are once again dining in the communal dining areas and enjoying group activities with social distancing and mask wearing becoming part of the normal look of things.

Most facilities will be hosting some type of holiday gatherings in the coming months to celebrate the end of a hard year and hopeful beginnings. Please check with the staff at the long-term care facility of your loved one to see what they have scheduled.

Many facilities are still requiring an appointment for visitation and all should be keeping you in the loop with update processes to keep you in close contact with your loved one. Do plan on making the time to visit during the next few months

If you feel that you are not being allowed to see your loved one as often as you would like or if you have not been able to visit at all please contact your area Ombudsman Supervisor Cherrie Nutley at 580-821-4068.

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Presidential Proclamation 2021

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

October 29, 2021

President Biden Proclaims November 2021 as National Family Caregivers Month

NATIONAL FAMILY CAREGIVERS MONTH, 2021

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BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

Every day, millions of Americans provide essential care and medical assistance to their loved ones. These acts of love, commitment, and compassion enable their family members to receive the support they need to live a life with dignity. This has been especially true throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, during which Americans of all ages have made substantial sacrifices to keep family members safe and healthy. During National Family Caregivers Month, we recognize the important role of our Nation’s family caregivers and thank them for the invaluable and instrumental care they provide.

While the opportunity to provide care to a loved one can be a blessing and a source of connection, it often requires sacrifice. Millions of Americans have sacrificed jobs and altered careers in order to perform caregiving duties. Workers, their families, and our economy suffer when workers are forced to choose between their jobs and their caregiving responsibilities or between putting food on the table and caring for a relative. Too many Americans who need caregiving support struggle with the high costs of caring for a family member in need, or providing long-term care for people with disabilities or older adults.

My Administration is committed to strengthening American families and easing the burdens of caregiving. That is why my American Rescue Plan provided an additional $145 million in funding for the National Family Caregiver Support Program, which continues to help State and community organizations support family and informal caregivers through in-home programs including counseling, respite care, and training. The American Rescue Plan also provided States with additional Medicaid funding to strengthen and enhance their home- and community-based services (HCBS) program. My Administration’s Build Back Better agenda will build on this down payment by continuing to invest in the caregiving infrastructure for HCBS and increasing pay and benefits to address the direct care workforce crisis. I will also fight to expand paid family and medical leave nationwide. Each of these elements is critical to better supporting family caregivers. We want to see our Nation’s paid caregivers, including the majority of home health care workers and over 90 percent of child care workers who are women — disproportionately women of color — have jobs that provide dignity, safety, and decent pay.

Earlier this year, the RAISE (Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage) Family Caregiving Advisory Council, with support from the Department of Health and Human Services, delivered an initial report on how the Federal, State, Tribal, and local governments can work with our partners in the private sector to better support our Nation’s family caregivers, and we will continue working to provide that support.

As my own family members have been caregivers, I understand the struggles family caregivers face and the importance of the care they provide. This month, as we continue our fight to expand access to caregiving, we recognize our caregivers who wake up every single day to do this physically and emotionally demanding yet vitally important work.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 2021 as National Family Caregivers Month. I encourage all Americans to reach out to those who provide care for their family members, friends, and neighbors in need, to honor and to thank them.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-ninth day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-sixth.

JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.


November 8, 2021

NWPSA 11 Aging Services Offers Respite to Caregivers

By Kris Patton, NWPSA 11 Information Assistant, 580-562-4887

November is National Family Caregivers Month. The theme for this month is Supercharge Your Caregiving! This month, we honor caregivers for their dedication in taking care of their loved ones. It’s important caregivers know they’re not alone in their struggle to help their loved ones. The North West Planning Service Area 11 (NWPSA11), Area Agency on Aging (AAA) has a program that benefits many caregivers in northwestern Oklahoma.

The NWPSA 11 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 (ADL) 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.

Studies have shown 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 their 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 Kris Patton, NW PSA11 information assistant, at 580-562-5027.

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Oct. 18, 2021

Residents 60+ can call Kris for information and assistance

By Kris Patton, NWPSA 11 Information Assistant, 580-562-4887

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 Kris Patton a call, and she’ll do the best she can to help.

Kris is the information assistant for counties in Northwest Oklahoma. You can reach her at 580-562-4887 or 800-627-4882. Calls from the elderly and their caregivers are welcomed.

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

The North West Planning Service Area Agency 11 (NWPSA 11) on Aging (AAA) provides information about AAA services and other community programs concerning the elderly through this Information and Assistance (I & A) Service.

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.

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September 30, 2021

Long-term care residents honored during Residents’ Rights Month, October 2021

By Cherrie Nutley, SWODA Area Agency on Aging 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 2021 is, “Reclaiming My Rights, My Home, My Life,” acknowledges the impact of this past year on residents, and highlights the need for residents’ rights to be recognized, recovered, and reasserted. It emphasizes the recognition of the long-term care facility as the residents’ home, and the importance of residents reclaiming their own lives.

“This year’s Residents’ Rights Month theme focuses on raising awareness of federally mandated residents’ rights while also underscoring the need for dignity and self-determination of all residents,” 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 50 years to promote residents’ rights daily. More than 5,900 volunteers and 1,300 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 if you have questions.

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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.

September 20, 2021

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, 2021, to May 31, 2022, 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 23, 2021

Natural aging and decline may be noticeable when visiting elderly

This month I wanted to visit with you about expectations and how things may have changed with your friend or family member in a long-term care facility during the time of the Covid-19 Lockdown.

Things are opening up and visitations are being re-instated. We can once again, with caution, sit beside our person, hold their hands, and give them a hug. And, we may notice they have changed.

It’s been almost a year and half without you being present through no fault of your own. In that time, some natural aging and possible decline may have taken place. Be aware there may be some physical changes such as weight loss or lessened mobility, hearing or vision changes, and some mental acuity changes, as well.

Visit with the facility staff and see what changes they are aware of as they have been with your loved one daily. If you suspect the changes in your loved one are not just a “to be expected normal process of time passing” and the difficulty of being isolated, visit with the facility staff and your loved one’s physician.

Your loved one depends on you and the staff to be sure their needs are met. Your area ombudsman is here to advocate for your loved one and for all the residents in long -term care. Call on them if you think a resident may not have received the care and attention they deserve.

You are allowed to visit your loved one, but before going, check with the facility where they live. They may special visitation requirements such as appointments or limits to the number of folks visiting. You need to be prepared to be screened in and to wear a mask. The number one thing you can do for the residents is to get your vaccination and exercise whatever precautions that are in place in your area.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact your area Ombudsman Supervisor Cherrie Nutley at 580-562-5032.


July 26, 2021

Volunteer opportunity brings satisfaction of helping others

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

Are you looking for a volunteer opportunity with flexible hours, training, support and the satisfaction of helping others? Become a Certified Ombudsman Volunteer! You can help ensure the rights, dignity and quality of care for residents of long-term care facilities through complaint investigation, resolution and advocacy for improvements.

Volunteers advocate for residents who are aging and disable who live in long-term care facilities. As a volunteer, you will visit one facility of your choice. It is a great way to create new relationships.

For more information about volunteering or if you’re interested in signing up for the next volunteer training, please contact Cherrie Nutley, long-term care ombudsman supervisor for western Oklahoma, at 580-562-5032 or email cherrie@swoda.org.

July 26, 2021

Feeling summer love in the nursing home

By Stacey Lee, NW PSA11 Ombudsman Supervisor, 580-562-5039

It is that time of the year when the heat is on. Summer is upon us, and the kids want to go outside and play in the water, eat watermelon and have ice cream. Parents are planning summer family vacations. Everyone is looking forward to fun and love this summer.

But, what about those who aren’t able to get outside and play in the water or take vacations? I’m talking about the elderly, the ones living in nursing homes or long-term care facilities. What can be done to make their summer as close to fun as it was when they were able? It can happen with volunteers.

Taking time to visit with residents in long-term care facilities is not only beneficial for the residents but for the volunteers as well. Helping a resident relive a memorable summer by just visiting with them brings them more joy than you can imagine. Spending time with them, reminiscing with them, eating watermelon or ice cream with them, or going outside with them are all things that volunteers can do with residents.

This summer, why not make your plans fun and filled with love for those in nursing homes by volunteering! Contact a nursing home in your area to visit, so you can bring joy to someone else’s life and to yourself. If you need help getting started or would like to become an ombudsman volunteer, contact Area Ombudsman Supervisor Stacey Lee, 580-547-9064, or email stacey@swoda.org. Flexible training schedules are available.

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July 26, 2021

Assistance available to grandparents raising children

By Kris Patton, NWPSA 11 Information Assistant, 580-562-4887

If you are raising your grandchildren or some other relative, such as a niece or nephew and if you are 55 or older, 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 may provide vouchers, to eligible applicants, for you to take a break from these caregiver duties. You can use the vouchers to hire a sitter or care provider of your 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.


July 26, 2021

Aging Services offers break for caregivers in NW Oklahoma and SW Oklahoma

Caregivers now have financial help to get a break from their everyday routine of caring for their loved ones. It’s important caregivers know that they’re not alone and there is a program, with no income or resource limitations, benefitting many caregivers in northwestern Oklahoma.

The program to give caregivers a break (respite) is provided through the Northwest Planning Service Area 11 (NWPSA 11) Area Agency on Aging (AAA) and the South Western Oklahoma Development (SWODA) 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 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.

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. Respite does just that. For example, 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.

To apply for respite services in northwest Oklahoma, call Kris Patton, NWPSA 11 AAA, at 800-627-4882, ext.127 or 580-562-5027. If you’re in southwest Oklahoma, call Tangela Henry, Information and Assistance assistant for SWODA Aging Services, at 580-562-5026.

If you qualify, you may be eligible to receive respite vouchers. You can then contract with any person of your choice (other than someone living in the same home as you or under 18 years old) to provide respite services. Remember, there are no income or resource limitations.

The NWPSA 11 AAA area includes the following counties: Beaver, Cimarron, Dewey, Ellis, Harper, Woods, Woodward, and Texas.

Counties in the SWODA region are Beckham, Custer, Greer, Harmon, Jackson, Kiowa, Roger Mills and Washita.

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.


June 21, 2021

Don’t wait to report elder abuse in your community

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

Elder abuse awareness is a topic of concern. Every year an estimated 1 in 10 older Americans are victims of elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation.

Preventing elder abuse can start right in your local community. A few ways you can begin is by educating yourself and others to recognize the warning signs. You can be a friendly visitor for an older person in your community. You can assist in arranging meals or grocery deliveries for a caregiver in your community. Of course, there are many, many other ways to become involved with the elderly in your community.

Any concerns about elder abuse need to be reported. Here in southwest Oklahoma, if you need more information or if you suspect a loved one is being abused or neglected don’t wait. Give Cherrie Nutley, SWODA Long Term Care Ombudsman supervisor, a call at 580-562-5032.

Long-term care ombudsmen are very active in working to prevent, identify and educate on elder abuse. Ombudsman supervisors and trained volunteers visit all long-term care facilities on a regular basis. This office also provides education to the staff of LTC facilities and the public on recognizing and preventing all forms of elder abuse and neglect.

Other service providers with a role in addressing and empowering older adults include but are not limited to Adult Protective Services, Oklahoma Department Human Services and Office of the Attorney General.

Recently, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day was celebrated worldwide on June 15. It was a day that provided an opportunity for communities around the world to promote a better understanding of abuse and neglect of older people. This done by raising awareness of cultural, social, economic and demographic process affecting elder abuse and neglect.

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June 7, 2021

Building community supports helps prevent elder abuse

By Stacey Lee, NW PSA11 Ombudsman Supervisor, 580-562-5039

Elder abuse is an injustice with many consequences for our society, affecting everything from our communities’ public health to our economic resources. On June 15, communities all over the world will sponsor events for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day to highlight solutions to this systemic social challenge.

We need everyone to educate each other about the impact of elder abuse and the pervasiveness of ageism (biases against older people) in our culture. We all deserve to lead happy lives, free from abuse as we age. Through outreach and statewide engagement, we can raise this social issue to a worldwide priority that must be addressed and prevented.

Working together, we can build the social supports that can prevent elder abuse. Here are five things everyone can do to build community supports and prevent elder abuse:

1) Learn the signs of elder abuse and how we can solve the issue together.

2) Prevent isolation. Call or visit our older loved ones and ask how they are doing on a regular basis.

3) Talk to friends and family members about how we can all age well and reduce abuse with programs and services like law enforcement, community centers, and public transportation.

4) Sign up to be a friendly visitor to an older person in our communities.

5) Send a letter to a local paper, radio or TV station suggesting that they cover World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (June 15) or Grandparents Day in September.

It is up to all of us to prevent and address elder abuse! If you have any questions or concerns about elder abuse, you can always call the long-term care ombudsman in your area. For northwestern Oklahoma, contact Stacey Lee (580) 547-9064 or email stacey@swoda.org.


May 24, 2021

Tips for communicating with your loved one while wearing a mask

By Stacey Lee, NW PSA11 Ombudsman Supervisor, 580-547-9064

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused us all to adjust our communication strategies with residents, families, providers and the public, as well as think of creative ways to connect with each other. Below are tips and examples to promote effective and successful communication with your loved one in a long-term care facility.

As in-person visits resume, you will most likely being wearing a mask or other personal protective equipment (PPE), which may make it hard for others to hear you. Below are tips for communicating while wearing a mask.

· Imagine yourself as an actor. Use dramatic gestures and expressions.

· Write things down for residents if it is helpful for the resident to better understand you (e.g., consider bringing a small dry erase board to show what you write).

· Follow-up to make sure the resident understands you.

· Consider wearing a laminated large photo of yourself with your title and program information so that residents can better see your face or identify you.

· Nod to show you are listening and understanding.

· Maintain good eye contact and let your eyebrows tell the story.

· Face the resident and try not to turn away when speaking.

· Consider use of a portable voice amplifier.

· Say one thing at a time.

· Pause after asking questions.

If you have any questions or concerns about communicating with your loved one, in a long-term care facility, please contact your Area Ombudsman Supervisor Stacey Lee, 580-547-9064 or email stacey@swoda.org.


May 24, 2021

Good news! Visitation is opening up more each passing week.

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

As with all things COVID-19, the guidelines for visiting long-term care facilities continue to change rapidly. The CMS.Gov website includes updated visitation information and is easy to access. There following are some common issues under the revised CMS and CDC Guidance:

1. Can the facility refuse indoor visits?

The facility should be allowing indoor visitation “at all times for all residents.” There are a few specific exceptions that could include an uptick of the county’s positivity rate--the resident is in quarantine or has a confirmed case of COVID-19 or there has been an outbreak in the facility that will cause all visitation to be suspended temporarily while outbreak testing is completed.

2. Can the facility limit the length and frequency of visits to 15 minutes per week?

The CMS guidance states that while facilities should allow indoor visitation at all times, they can “consider scheduling visits for a specific length of time to help ensure all residents are able to receive visitors. All visitation must be “person centered” if a 15 visit is all that is being allowed and you do not feel this is enough time with your loved one and they agree ask the facility staff for longer visits.

3. Can the facility refuse to allow visitation because they are short staffed?

NO

4. Can a facility force a visitor to be tested for COVID-19 or show proof of vaccination?

NO

5. Is quarantine required for new admits or after leaving the facility for medical appointments or other outings?

No, only if the resident has prolonged exposure and close contact to a person with COVID-19 in the prior 14 days. Being in quarantine does not mean the resident cannot have visitors.

6. What changes when a resident has been vaccinated? Does this change how visits look?

Yes! Vaccinated residents can take part in group activities with other vaccinated residents without masking or social distancing and vaccinated residents can participate in communal dining with other vaccinated residents without masking or social distancing. If the resident and the visitor are both vaccinated, they can visit privately in the resident’s room or other designated visitation areas and the visit can be conducted without masks or social distancing.

If you believe your loved one is being denied access to visitors or inappropriately quarantined call and visit with the facility staff. Print out the CMS and/or CDC guidance for reference and ask the facility staff why their policy is different. If you continue to have concerns about visitation or need clarification, you can always call the long-term care ombudsman in your area. For Western Oklahoma, that is Cherrie Nutley at 580-562-5032.


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.

April 26, 2021

We thank all volunteers especially those serving long-term care facilities

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

This month of April, we’re celebrating all types of volunteers. I especially want to thank the wonderful ombudsman volunteers of our area: Beverly Shelden who volunteers at Corn Heritage in Weatherford; Delynn Anderson who volunteers at Tamarack Assisted Living Center in Altus; and Barbara Davis who recently retired from service after 20 years of service. Barbara volunteered at the Hobart Nursing Home.

If you have a heart for those who are living in long-term care facilities and the time to devote two hours per week to visit in a facility, you may be just who we are looking for. A volunteer visits a specified facility each week on their own schedule and makes time to check in with residents to see how they are doing, look at the facility and staff and see how that picture looks.

Residents will begin to look forward to your visits. Your main job as a volunteer is to be a voice for these residents and address concerns or needs. Volunteers are required undergo initial training before they begin making visits and to make visits of two hours per week to their chosen facility. Volunteers also meet once per month to go over events and visits and to do continuing education.

We’ve stopped our training for new volunteers through the COVID-19 Pandemic, but we’re gearing up to offer those trainings again. We’ll utilize Zoom meetings and social distanced in-person training. If you’re interested in learning more about the Ombudsman Program or in becoming a volunteer, contact Cherrie Nutley, long-term care ombudsman supervisor for Western Oklahoma at 580-562-5032.

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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.


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.

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.


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!


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.

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.

###

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