West Side Senior News & Notes
Older Americans Month celebrated in May
COLUMBUS — Building on a national campaign that encourages organizations and communities to unleash the power of age during Older Americans Month in May, the Ohio Department of Aging (ODA) is asking older Ohioans and baby boomers to tap into their own personal strengths to enhance their lives and those of others.
Ohio’s 2013 Older Americans Month theme, “Unleash Your Power: Be a Golden Buckeye!” encourages all Ohioans to live lives inspired by their age, not defined by it, according to ODA officials.
“When we choose to live lives as ‘Golden Buckeyes,’ we are choosing to be respected and vital members of society who continue to grow, thrive and contribute throughout the lifespan,” said Bonnie Kantor-Burman, director of the ODA. “More than 2.3 million individuals age 60 or older and another estimated two million baby boomers live in Ohio today. Imagine the benefits for our state and all of our residents when we are able to fully unleash their power.”
Golden Buckeyes are people who make smart decisions to improve and maintain their health throughout the lifespan, according to ODA officials. Older adults can visit the ODA’s special Older Americans Month web page (www.aging.ohio.gov) and click on “News,” then “Older Americans Month” for information and resources to help Golden Buckeyes unleash their potential in many ways, from improving their personal health, to volunteering their time and talent, to brushing up their skills and remaining in or returning to the workforce and more.
According to ODA officials, since 1963, people in towns and cities across the nation have used the month of May to celebrate the contributions of older Americans. The ODA has sponsored Older Americans Month in the state since 1977 and sets a state theme. The national theme for 2013, established by the federal Administration for Community Living, is “Unleash the Power of Age!” According to ODA officials, Ohio’s theme builds on that with a personal call to “Unleash the Power: Be a Golden Buckeye!”
For more information or to apply for a Golden Buckeye Card, visit www.aging.ohio.gov.
Ohioans asked to share importance of being Golden Buckeye
COLUMBUS — May is Older Americans Month, and the Ohio Department of Aging (ODA) invites Ohioans of any age to submit a written, photo or video essay that completes the statement “I am a Golden Buckeye and I unleash my power by …” Submissions will be accepted via the ODA’s page on Facebook and by postal mail through May 31. To post on Facebook, go to www.facebook.com/OhioDepart mentOfAging/ and post your response to the department’s timeline. Posting requires a free Facebook account, and photos and videos must conform to Facebook’s terms of service. Individuals also may submit their essays by mail to (photos and videos will not be returned): Ohio Department of Aging, Attn: Communications Unit, 50 W. Broad St., Ninth Floor, Columbus, OH 43215-3363.
The department will highlight selected submissions on its website and social media, according to ODA officials.
“As the nation is being encouraged to unleash the power of age, we are turning to our Golden Buckeyes to tell us how they choose to live healthy, active lives defined by their actions and contributions,” said Bonnie Kantor-Burman, director of the ODA. “Are you a Golden Buckeye? How do you unleash your power?”
According to ODA officials, followers of ODA’s Facebook page receive updates about the department from various sources, including the department’s electronic publications, as well as news and information about opportunities to grow, thrive and contribute.
For more information, visit www.aging.ohio.gov.
Consider mentoring youth in Ohio Department of Youth Services
COLUMBUS — Officials from the Ohio Department of Youth Services (DYS) are urging older adults to consider volunteering with the department.
Currently, more than 600 volunteers work with youths involved with the DYS, according to DYS officials. Last year, volunteers across Ohio provided 29,739 hours of service to youths in DYS facilities and on parole. The agency offers opportunities for mentoring and volunteering for a variety of time commitments and levels of service. Volunteer training is provided, and volunteers can reap great rewards knowing that they have made a positive impact on the life of a youth, according to DYS officials.
“The value of a committed volunteer is immeasurable for youth when it comes to personal growth and development,” said Harvey Reed, director of the DYS. “Mentoring is a key to realizing our vision of a safer Ohio: one youth, one family and one community at a time.”
All youths committed to DYS will eventually return to their communities. DYS volunteers and mentors engage youths in a variety of meaningful activities in an effort to teach life skills and aid youths in successful re-entry back to their community, according to DYS officials.
Individuals, community or faith-based organizations interested in volunteering should call the DYS Volunteer Hotline at 614-466-9318. Information is also available at www.dys.ohio.gov.
According to DYS officials, some volunteer opportunities include: tutoring/education, career exploration, youth group programming, mentoring, sports/physical fitness and teaching music.
DYS is the juvenile corrections system for the state of Ohio and is statutorily mandated to confine felony offenders, ages 10 to 21, who have been adjudicated and committed by one of Ohio’s 88 county juvenile courts, according to DYS officials. DYS operates four juvenile correctional facilities, provides parole services from five regional sites and funds and supports more than 610 direct service programs throughout the state, according to DYS officials.
Third installment of War Era Story Project commemorates final days in Japan
COLUMBUS — The Ohio departments of Aging (ODA) and Veterans Services released 22 new submissions to their War Era Story Project, each sharing the author’s unique experience of that time and those events.
These stories join 65 others that were posted previously, according to ODA officials. The agencies received nearly 300 submissions and will continue to release them in small batches until all have been shared.
According to ODA officials, the War Era Story Project was a follow-up to the ODA’s award-winning 2009 Great Depression Story Project. Since this project was intended to explore Ohio’s war-time experience, the ODA teamed with the Ohio Department of Veterans Services to collect stories from veterans of World War II, as well as the men, women and children who held steady on the homefront. The project garnered submissions from 284 individuals, including 21 who currently reside out of state or who did not provide location information, according to ODA officials. Ohio residents represent 50 different counties. Of the authors who provided an age, the oldest was 100 and the youngest was 25. The average age of the authors was 83.
To read the submissions, visit www.aging.ohio.gov/news/storyprojects.
State releases results of nursing home family satisfaction survey
COLUMBUS — The Ohio Department of Aging (ODA) has released the results of the 2012 Nursing Home Family Satisfaction Survey.
The survey, which was revised this year to increase participation and deliver better data, measures how satisfied family members of Ohioans who live in nursing homes are with the care and services their loved ones receive, and it is a tool for individuals to help select a nursing home that best meets their needs, according to ODA officials. The statewide average satisfaction score for facilities was 85.6 (out of a possible 100); 25 facilities scored 93.76 or better, according to ODA officials.
The satisfaction ratings are available on the Ohio Long-term Care Consumer Guide at www.ltcohio.org. The Consumer Guide includes other information about nursing homes and residential care facilities, including inspection results, a list of available services, staffing levels, results of resident surveys and more, according to ODA officials.
“Selecting a nursing home that can provide the right care in the right ways for ourselves or a loved one is one of the most important choices we may have to make in our adult lives. This survey and Ohio’s Long-term Care Consumer Guide are important tools for families who expect and deserve excellence,” said Bonnie Kantor-Burman, director of the ODA. “The survey and the guide emphasize our commitment to quality care. Consumers must be fully informed about their options if we are to expect that they will, in turn, demand excellence for themselves or their family members.”
According to ODA officials, the family satisfaction survey was conducted between May and December 2012 by the Scripps Gerontology Center of Miami University in Oxford on behalf of the ODA and under the direction of the Office of the State Long-term Care Ombudsman, according to ODA officials. More than 27,000 family members and 948 homes participated. Of the 721 participating homes with statistically significant results, 387 scored above the state average and 229 scored 88 or better, which earns them an additional “quality point” in a reimbursement formula used by the Office of Medical Assistance (Medicaid) to reward quality in nursing homes. Survey costs are supported by a fee charged to nursing homes by the state, according to ODA officials.
This year, the ODA revised the survey to better capture the needs and ideas of families, according to ODA officials. For this reason, Kantor-Burman cautioned against directly comparing the survey results with those from previous years.
“This survey reflects our increased focus on person-centered care and caring and our new quality-based reimbursement formula,” she said. “We expected that these changes may have an impact on the statewide average. We are especially pleased with the larger than usual response rate and are gratified by the number of families who are so involved with their loved ones’ care.”
In addition to assisting families in choosing quality, person-centered nursing homes, the survey also is a tool to help long-term care administrators and staff improve the care and services they provide, said Beverley Laubert, the State of Ohio Long-term Care ombudsman.
Staff, residents, families, advocates and state leaders continue to work together to ensure choice, respect and self-determination for all, regardless of where they call “home,” she said.
The survey asked family members their opinions on activities, administration, admission, choices, direct care and nursing, laundry, meals and dining, social services, therapy and general satisfaction, according to ODA officials. Researchers identified two key questions that sum up the respondent’s perception of the home: “Overall, do you like this facility?” and “Would you recommend this facility to a family member or friend?”
The most recent family satisfaction data complements the 2011 resident satisfaction survey results on the Consumer Guide site. The department will survey resident satisfaction again in 2013, according to ODA officials.
Kathleen Collins contributed to these reports.
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