SWODA Press Releases

July 21, 2022

Ombudsman volunteers have rewarding experiences

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

Do you enjoy getting out and visiting with people? Do you have two hours a week to spare? Being an Ombudsman volunteer is rewarding and interesting. An Ombudsman is committed to improving and enriching the lives of older people.

You will receive training, guidance, and an introduction to the facility with which you will volunteer. You will only visit one facility as a volunteer, and you can pick the facility that you would like to volunteer at within the SWODA area that includes the counties of Custer, Kiowa, Greer, Beckham, Jackson, Harmon, Roger Mills and Washita

A long-term care Ombudsman volunteer helps to improve the quality of life and the quality of care available to residents of nursing homes, residential care homes and assisted living facilities.

Ombudsman volunteers work with the Ombudsman supervisor to mediate between resident and facilities when there is a complaint or concern. The Ombudsman supervisor and volunteer serve as the voice for the residents and their friends and families.

We will be offering a volunteer training in the very near future. If you are interested, please call Cherrie Nutley at 580-562-5032.

June 27, 2022

SWODA Aging Services offers respite to caregivers

By Tangela Benton, SWODA, 580-562-5026

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’s important caregivers know they are not alone in their struggle to help their loved ones.

SWODA AAA provides for respite services for eligible caregivers in partnership with the Department of Human Services, Aging Services Division.

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 it’s 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, to get their hair done, to visit friends at a coffee shop, or even go to a movie.

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 because of a cognitive or other mental impairment."

Also served are grandparents 55 years of age or older caring for grandchildren, step-grandchildren, or children related by blood or marriage and living with the child, serving as the primary caregiver, and having a legal relationship with the child (custody, guardianship or raising child informally). The child must be no older than 18 years.

To apply for respite services, call SWODA AAA at 580-562-5026. 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 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 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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June 13, 2022

All long-term care facilities across region fully open

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

Currently, all long-term care facilities are fully open to visitation. All common areas of the facilities are open with social distancing in place with screening and mask requirements. Here are a few tips to make your visit with residents go smoothly.

When wearing a mask, remember communication may be harder as residents may have hearing issues. It’s hard to listen when you can’t see mouths move. Be sure to speak up so residents can hear you. You may need to slip your mask down while at a safe distance to allow the resident you are visiting to see your face so they know who has come to visit.

Residents love to receive little gifts although the gift of your company is more than enough. Some suggested items are stationary, word search and other puzzle books ,puzzles and coloring books, flowers, lotions, soaps, candies, cookies, books, lap blankets, socks and wraps. Check with the facility if you want to bring items that all residents can enjoy.

The gift of your time is most welcomed. Even if you don’t have a loved one in the facility, they welcome visitors to come entertain residents. Can you sing, dance, or play a musical instrument? Your stage and a rapt audience await! Bingo callers are always needed, as are people who have a gift for teaching crafts or exercise classes.

The long-term ombudsman team are always looking for volunteers. If you have two hours a week to give to a long-term care facility, please give your area LTC Ombudsman Supervisor Cherrie Nutley a call at 580-562-5032.

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May 2, 2022

Join SWODA Aging Services in strengthening our community

By Tangela Benton, SWODA Information Assistant, 580-562-5026

Older adults play vital, positive roles in our communities – as family members, friends, mentors, volunteers, civic leaders, members of the workforce, and more. Just as every person is unique, so too is how they age and how they choose to do it – and there is no “right” way.

This year’s theme for Older American Month is Age My Way and focuses on how older adults can age in their communities, living independently for as long as possible and participating in ways they choose.

While Age My Way will look different for each person, here are common things everyone can consider:

·Planning: Think about what you will need and want in the future, from home and community-based services to community activities that interest you.

·Engagement: Remain involved and contribute to your community through work, volunteer, and/or civic participation opportunities.

· Access: Make home improvements and modifications, use assistive technologies, and customize supports to help you better age in place.

·Connection: Maintain social activities and relationships to combat social isolation and stay connected to your community.

The Administration for Community Living (ACL) leads the celebration of Older Americans Month, and SWODA Aging Services is excited to with our partners in the aging community. Diverse communities are strong communities. Ensuring that older adults remain involved and included in our communities for as long as possible benefits everyone.

For more information, visit the official OAM website, follow ACL on Twitter and Facebook, and join the conversation using #OlderAmericansMonth.

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April 19, 2022

Long-term care residents love birdseed and flowerbeds

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

Spring has arrived and residents in area long-term care facilities are excited for more opportunities to get outside and enjoy the nice weather. Many facilities have space and encourage residents to be involved in the flowerbeds and vegetable gardens.

Check with a facility in your area to see if they need plants, seeds and gardening supplies for residents to use. Many facilities also have bird feeders, and birdseed is always appreciated.

Visitation is now open at all facilities with only an initial screening when you arrive. You will need to wear your mask and use the hand sanitizer located throughout each facility.

If you haven’t been allowed to visit your friends and families, please let me know. I, Cherrie Nutley, am your long-term care ombudsman supervisor for western Oklahoma. You can reach me at 580-562-5032.

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March 21, 2022

Caregiver shortage threatens for baby boomers

By Tangela Benton, SWODA Information Assistant, 580-562-5026

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

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

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

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

In partnership with the Department of Human Services, Aging Services Division, the South Western Oklahoma Development Authority Area Agency on Aging (SWODA AAA) provides respite services for eligible caregivers who are caring for people age 60 and over. Also served are grandparents 55 years of age or older caring for grandchildren, step-grandchildren or children related by blood or marriage that are no older than 18 years of age. Grandparents must live with the child, serve as primary caregiver and have a legal relationship with the child (custody, guardianship or raising child informally).

For information about this program and other services, call the SWODA AAA Information and Assistance Specialist Tangela Benton at 800-627-4882 or locally at 580-562-5026.

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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February 28, 2022

CMS makes Nursing Home COVID-19 Booster Vaccination Data Available Online, increasing transparency for consumers.

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

As part of its commitment to help families and caregivers find the best nursing home care for their loved ones, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services is now posting data on COVID-19 vaccine booster shots administered to nursing home residents and staff on the medicare.gov/care-compare website

The CDC has reported receiving a booster dose is the most effective way to avoid serious illness from COVID-19 including the Omicron Variant. By posting this information for the public, the hope is it will encourage more participation in the vaccination programs and energize visitation from the outside to residents in long-term care.

The website is a great tool to look at long-term care facilities if you are planning to move into a facility or have a loved one who is looking.

If you have questions or have a concern about a loved one in a long-term care facility, give Cherrie Nutley, LTC ombudsman supervisor, a call at 580-562-5032.

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January 31, 2022

Long-term care facilities need your help with activities for residents

From Cherrie Nutley, Ombudsman Supervisor, 580-562-5032

Facilities are working hard to maintain staffing levels to provide quality care. However, because of the shuffling of services, activities for residents have taken a back seat to actual patient care.

Please reach out to your local long-term care facility and see if they are interested in having your help with activities that are an integral part of quality care. If you have a good voice and like to entertain, facilities would love assistance with bingo, sing-alongs, and poetry or books readings. If you love crafts or puzzles, there is a place for you to volunteer. Donating puzzles, books, craft supplies or coloring supplies is another way to assistant. Check to see if there is a need for these donations in your area.

All nursing homes are required to allow their residents to have visitors as often and for as long as they wish. For protection of their residents, nursing homes are requiring screening before a visit and visitors must wear a mask.

If you have questions or concerns regarding a long-term care facility or a loved one in a long-term care facility, please give Cherrie Nutley, Ombudsman Supervisor a call at 580-562-5032 or email at cherrie@swoda.org.

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January 10, 2022

13 Oklahoma counties will share $700,000 to provide community-based prevention services

By Carol Binghom, Substance Use Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Project Director, 580-562-5042

South Western Oklahoma Development Authority (SWODA) has entered into a contract with the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS) to provide community-based prevention services.

These prevention services includes an array of evidence-based programs, policies, and/or practices planned. These are implements at the local level by representative community coalitions to prevent risk factors contributing to substance use and related consequences.

As part of the ODMHSAS strategic plan to prevent mental, emotional, and behavioral problems, community-based preventive service delivery plans will be coordinated with ODMHSAS field staff and other sector-based prevention services as appropriate.

The ODMHSAS is seeking community coalitions to provide community-based preventive services from now until June 30, 2025. The $700,000 in funding will be awarded in the amounts of $50,000 per year per county for Beckham, Harmon, Kiowa, Washita, Caddo, Kingfisher, Grant, Blaine, Canadian, Texas, Woodward, Grady, and Jackson counties. By Carol Binghom, Substance Use Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery project director, 580-562-5042

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January 7, 2022

SWODA awarded over $467,00 funding to assist in education and prevention programs

By Carol Binghom, Substance Use Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Project Director, 580-562-5042

Over 73,000 residents of Caddo, Harmon, Jackson, Kiowa and Tillman counties may benefit from funding to develop, implement or expand comprehensive programs in response to illicit opioids, stimulants or other substances of abuse.

South Western Oklahoma Development Authority (SWODA) is applying for $467,365 to fund these efforts. This Substance Use Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Program (an advisory board to SWODA) involves four different projects to address identified issues.

Developing education and prevention programs to connect law enforcement agencies with students in grades 6-9 in the public school system by using the keepin’ it REAL (kiR) curriculum. The kiR program is an effective, multicultural middle school drug prevention program derived from evidence-based research.

Naloxone will be provided to law enforcement and other first responders each year to help with the opioid overdose death rate. The county sheriff’s department will disperse the naloxone within their county.

Twice-a-year drug take back programs will be established to safely dispose of unused controlled substances that are found in the home, used by hospitals and used in long-term care facilities.

Home medication lockboxes will be distributed to the public to help reduce either the accidental overdose or to help prevent stealing of prescriptions.

The project includes partnerships between the law enforcement and the Substance Use Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Program in each of the five counties. These counties were designated Rural Challenges, Persistent Poverty Counties, or Qualified Opportunity Zones by the Office of Justice Programs and U.S. Census information.


January 4, 2022

Masonic Fraternity of Oklahoma providing funds for services not provided by other agencies

By Tangela Benton, SWODA Information Assistant, 580-562-5026

The Masonic Fraternity of Oklahoma is once 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 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 served 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 considered on a case-by-case basis. Assistance will be available once per person every three year.

The SWODA Aging Services Information Assistant receives calls daily from older people and/or their caregivers with needs, and many are told nothing is available to help. This Masonic funding enables AAA staff to assist many callers with resources not available previously.

This funding “will not only help Oklahoma’s older population, but will also relieve some of the stress placed on caregivers whose older relatives are continually turned down because of the lack of resources for needed help,” said Anita Martinez, SWODA director of Aging Services.

To learn more about this and other available services, call Tangela Benton at SWODA Aging Services at 800-627-4882, ext. 126, or her direct line at 580-562-5926. You can also call the statewide toll-free Senior Info Line at 800-211-2116. Counties covered by the SWODA AAA are Beckham, Custer, Greer, Harmon, Jackson, Kiowa, Roger Mills and Washita.

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Dec. 29, 2021

South Western Oklahoma Development Authority Board presents service awards

The South Western Oklahoma Development Authority (SWODA) Board of Trustees honored the service of three board members and three SWODA employees at the November Board Meeting held in Burns Flat. SWODA Board Chairman Edie Brown presented the awards.

Board members receiving service awards were Guy Hylton, at-large trustee, 30 years; Lyle Miller, Custer County commissioner, 10 years; and Brent York, Greer County commissioner, 5 years.

Danette Traugott, SWODA E911 Database technician, was honored for 15 years of service. Amy Crowe, SWODA accountant, and Alisha Denton, SWODA Aging Services case manager, were honored for 5 years of service.

Brown also presented Perfect Attendance certificates to SWODA board members. Members receiving awards were as follows: Cassandra Ausher, Beckham County conservation districts trustee; Edie Brown, Washita County conservation districts trustee; Harold Bussey, Beckham County municipalities trustee; John Dee Butchee, Jackson County conservation districts trustee; Geary Caswell, Harmon County conservation districts trustee; Stan Funkhouser, Kiowa County commissioner; Leo Goeringer, Washita County commissioner; and Sterling Moore, Roger Mills County conservation districts trustee.

12/13/2021

Long-term care residents enjoy wide variety of Christmas gifts. Gift of time is most wanted.

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

Happy Holidays! It’s that time of year for giving and remembering those living in long-term care, many of whom do not have family who live near or any family at all. These residents have access to everything they need to live, but everyone appreciates some extra luxuries. If you are looking for a place to give this Christmas, consider making a gift basket or box for your area long-term care facility.

Residents enjoy good socks, lotions, body sprays, talcum powder, warm gowns and pajamas, house shoes, books, magazine subscriptions, puzzles and puzzle books. Nice shampoo and body wash, lap blankets and robes. Bird Feeders, stationary, light jackets, walker bag for walker and seat cushions for wheelchairs. Small succulent gardens, snacks and room décor.

The most wanted Christmas gift is the gift of your time. Please remember to visit your friends, family and loved ones this holiday season. Visitation to all facilities is once again open at all times and every day. You must screen in and wear a mask, but you can visit as long as you want to.

If you feel your loved one is not being allowed visits or if you have not been allowed to visit or with any other complaints regarding your loved on and the long-term care facility they reside in, please call your area Ombudsman Supervisor Cherrie Nutley at 580-562-5032 or by email at cherrie@swoda.org.


12/13/2021

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.


Nov. 30, 2021

South Western Oklahoma Development Authority Board presents service awards

The South Western Oklahoma Development Authority (SWODA) Board of Trustees honored the service of three board members and three SWODA employees at the November Board Meeting held in Burns Flat. SWODA Board Chairman Edie Brown presented the awards.

Board members receiving service awards were Guy Hylton, at-large trustee, 30 years; Lyle Miller, Custer County commissioner, 10 years; and Brent York, Greer County commissioner, 5 years.

Danette Traugott, SWODA E911 Database technician, was honored for 15 years of service. Amy Crowe, SWODA accountant, and Alisha Denton, SWODA Aging Services case manager, were honored for 5 years of service.

Brown also presented Perfect Attendance certificates to SWODA board members. Members receiving awards were as follows: Cassandra Ausher, Beckham County conservation districts trustee; Edie Brown, Washita County conservation districts trustee; Harold Bussey, Beckham County municipalities trustee; John Dee Butchee, Jackson County conservation districts trustee; Geary Caswell, Harmon County conservation districts trustee; Stan Funkhouser, Kiowa County commissioner; Leo Goeringer, Washita County commissioner; and Sterling Moore, Roger Mills County conservation districts trustee.

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.


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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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

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.


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!

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 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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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