Last updated: July 25. 2013 11:20AM - 172 Views

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Looking for an opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of others? If so, the Area Agency on Aging District 7, Inc. (AAA7) has an opportunity for you or someone you know who may be interested in helping provide a voice for residents in long-term care nursing facilities.

Through the AAA7’s Volunteer Ombudsman Program, these special helpers visit nursing home residents on a regular basis to provide them with a link to the outside world. Through these visits, Volunteer Ombudsmen help to lessen the isolation and loneliness many residents experience. Volunteers also provide an essential voice for residents, providing advocacy and assistance for those who have concerns about their care.

Volunteer Ombudsmen plan their own schedules, are permitted to visit any day of the week, and are provided hands-on training and technical assistance by the AAA7’s Ombudsman Program Staff. Volunteers are recognized during an annual event and invited to various AAA7 training programs and conferences at no cost.

Doug McCoard, a Volunteer Ombudsman from Pike County, who volunteers in Scioto County, does feel that he has made a difference for residents of nursing homes who are unable to speak for themselves. “What I like best about my role as a Volunteer Ombudsman is that I have the opportunity to not only speak for residents, but also provide residents with the encouragement and assistance to speak for themselves. It’s what keeps me going back every week knowing that I am providing a voice for residents who may not feel they have one.”

Jackson resident Lori Michael really enjoys her role as a Volunteer Ombudsman. “I am at a time in my life when I am able to give back a little bit and being a part of this program is very rewarding,” she comments.

Volunteer Ombudsman Ronda Bivens, of Vinton County, also has great things to say about her volunteering role and the opportunity she has to help others. “I always enjoy my wise, wonderful, and thoughtful conversations with residents,” says Bivens. “Many residents are lonely and need to feel they are still valuable members of society.”

“Volunteer Ombudsmen are invaluable to the AAA7 Ombudsman Program and the residents they serve,” says Kaye Inoshita, RN, Director of AAA7’s Ombudsman Program. “Through their wonderful service, volunteers provide a regular presence in our large ten-county service region while assisting with concerns regarding resident care.”

If you are interested in learning more about the Volunteer Ombudsman Program at the AAA7, please contact Cindy Oakes, Volunteer Coordinator, or Kaye Inoshita, toll-free at 1-800-582-7277.

Your local Area Agency on Aging District 7, Inc. provides services on a non-discriminatory basis. These services are available to help older adults and those with disabilities live safely and independently in their own homes through services paid for by Medicare, Medicaid, other federal and state resources, as well as private pay. The AAA7’s Resource Center is also available to anyone in the community looking for information or assistance with long-term care options. Available Monday through Friday from 8:00 am until 4:30 pm, the Resource Center is a valuable contact for learning more about options and what programs and services are available for assistance.

Those interested in learning more can call toll-free at 1-800-582-7277 (TTY: 711). Here, individuals can speak directly with a nurse or social worker who will assist them with information surrounding the programs and services that are available to best serve their needs. The Agency also offers an in-home assessment at no cost for those who are interested in learning more. Information is also available on www.aaa7.org, or the Agency can be contacted through e-mail at info@aaa7.org. The Agency also has a Facebook page located at www.facebook.com/AreaAgencyOnAgingDistrict7.

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