I was introduced to Action for Older Persons as I researched local resources for my aging mother in 2005. Her health insurance needed to be changed. We went into the AOP office, and met with a most knowledgeable person who simplified all the information and process. I reached out to them again and used the Ombudsman services when my mother was in a skilled nursing facility. It was comforting to know someone else would be at the meeting to support my mother and her concerns. After my mother died and I retired from working with children, I pursued volunteering as an Ombudsman to provide a much needed service. The senior population, as well as children, need a voice and advocacy. And these residents have no idea how much they give in return. They often do not have family to advocate for their needs. They are a pleasure and an inspiration. One example of grace and humor: I was speaking with a 100 year old woman who loved to talk, was so bright in many ways, and who spent her days in a wheelchair and was mostly blind. She was telling me her middle name was Angelica as her mother was reading a book by that title when she was born. The residents next line? "Good thing she wasn't reading dracula!" It is a pleasure to interact with this population! The benefits for the population in elderly care is immeasurable.
I have been volunteering for AOP for almost 4 years. They offer classes in several areas from understanding computers, to end of life issues, to insurance and medicare/medicaid issues and questions. I have found that the classes are helpful to anyone that takes them. The instructors of the classes are very knowledgable and very down to earth.
I have been involved with Action for Older Persons for many years. I have taken computer courses with them, done the 5 Wishes program with them, used their experts to find the best medical care plans for some of my elderly friends, used resources in the Elder Ser4vices Book that they publish along with Office for Aging. Action for Older Persons is very important in our community for our Seniors and also for care givers and family members helping their senior parents.
I have been an Action for Older Persons since 1996 as a New York state Certified Long Term Care volunteer Ombudsman. Through the years I have spend a few hours a week visiting and advocating for residents in our local long term nursing home care facilities, Assisted Living, Elder Care Family Homes and currently residents in the Enriched Housing living in senior housing apartment buildings.
Through, the years I have seen the AOP Ombudsman grow and expand to having an Ombudsman assign to each of the different facilities. As a person, who has to use a cane to get around, due to an accident approximately 20 years ago due to a shattered tibia in my right leg along with the main legement connecting the knee to the rest of the right leg, having to be resewed together. Spending two years in a wheelchair I can understand how difficult it can be, when life throws you a curve and you are no longer able to do what you have been doing everyday.
A lot of problems have been resolved, some may seem small but by nipping it while small, the ombudsman has been able to have it resolved at an early stage been able to prevent it from developing into a major problem. Keeping the Communication line open between residents, resident families and facility staff is very important. When the lines have become strained or cut down completely, the Ombudsman as a mediator, however with the understanding the Ombudsman is still advocating for the resident, can assist in keeping the communication lines open between the residents, resident families and facility staff. One thing all agree despite their differences, their shared goal is to have a resident that feels they are getting their needed care, while preserving their dignity and rights as a resident of the facility.
During the 2006 and recent September 6, 2011 floods in our area some of the nursing homes had to be evacuated. Ombudsman made sure that residents of their facilities that were evacuated, were still getting their reasonable needs met. It was a difficult time for both staff and residents. As residents were having to adapt to being transferred to different locations. Through the years from time to time, I have attended some of the AOP Volunteer HiCap program training sessions. This is a valuable AOP program that provides counselors, trained in the different insurance programs available in the area. They assist senior citizens as to which particular insurance programs can meet their needs.
In 2010, I added volunteering in the AOP Elder Friendly Program, evaluating local businesses as to their meeting the needs of Elder customers in our area.
AOP also has a program that tutors seniors in operating their computers along with digital cameras and other popular electronic gadgets.
At their State Street in Binghamton, New York office they have a resource library with all sorts of books and information relating to the needs of senior citizens. Their Broome County Elder Services Guide Book is an excellent resource source that I highly recommend. It is a valuable guide to all the programs and services available in the Broome County area, including needed contact information.
I guess by now you have the message that I’m proud to be a AOP volunteer and through the years I have recommended others to volunteer in assisting the AOP staff so that they can continue to provide these valuable community services. IF you can’t donate time, then donate funds. Most AOP services are free covered by state and federal funds. However, due to the effects of the economy, cuts are being made and AOP have been affected through these cuts. AOP staff struggle with volunteers to continue to provide these programs to the Broome and surrounding counties, such as Delaware County. Rosemary W
This is my ninth year volunteering with Action For Older Persons as a health care counselor. Kathy and the staff do a great job training us so we can provide free, accurate and unbiased advice to help people navigate the very complex choices they have in selecting their drug and health care insurance. I enjoy meeting many very nice people of our community, but especially helping them save hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year. The positive feedback and the sincere thanks we get from our clients and the AOP staff is what keeps me coming back. John Hussar
I have been involved with AOP for over 2 years. I first learned about the organization through the newsletter published by our local Office for the Aging. AOP was looking for volunteers for the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program. This really caught my attention because I was looking for a good local volunteer opportunity. The traveling distance for the required classes to be certified was the only drawback for me until I learned that I could take the classes through the mail. They couldn't be more accomodating! I have found my role as an Ombudsman both challenging and rewarding. It is always nice to see the smile on a resident's face when the long process has paid off and they finally have their new dentures, hearing aid or glasses. Or there was the reward in knowing I helped to make the final days more comfortable for a resident who needed a medication adjustment. When a resident needs a voice because they are not getting results, that is when an ombudsman can be there to help. Ombudsmen also encourage and teach residents to advocate on their own behalf when possible.
After retiring, I decided I had the time to do some volunteer work. After looking at many possiblities, I decided to become involved with AOP through their long term care ombudman program. I found the work force at AOP to be a wealth of knowledge regarding the needs of the aging population. They are caring, polite and make the process of difficult decision making and the filling out of confusing forms achievable. It is a great place to go and get the information and encouragement needed to help negotiate the trials that most of us will need to go through with our aging loved ones as well as ourselves. It is also a great place to do rewarding volunteer work.
AOP is a fine organization that offers services including counseling on Medicare choices, end-of-life issues, computer classes, etc. Many services and seminars are free. Donations and memberships are always welcome. I have been a volunteer in the HIICAP (Medicare choices) program for a number of years. I have heard many 'aha' moments when people said they finally understood their options. Being a volunteer in such a well-run program is a delight.
I have been volulnteering at AOP for 7 years in the Health Insurance Information and Counseling Program. Through this program I have the privelege of helping people navigate the complex issues of Mediciare and Supplemental health insurance coverage. We help hundreds of people every year by giving them objective, factual information to allow them to make the best possible choices for themselves.It is a pleasure to meet so many interesting people and feel a sense of satisfaction as they gain a better understanding of their options. The support and friendship of the staff and the interaction with the other volunteers at AOP make my volunteering well worth while.l
I have been volunteering for Action for Older Person since September of 2011. I tutor people in the operation of their computers, evaluate businesses for the Elder Friendly program, and have just started counseling in the HIICAP Program. AOP fills many needs for the elder community. I saw the great value the personnel at AOP give to the community. I now volunteer at AOP to be another valuable resource to the community. Without volunteers AOP would not be able to touch as many people as they currently do. Most benefits at AOP are free to the elder comunity but every year state and federal funds are cut. I would encourage all people utilizing the resources at AOP to become a member. A membership can be as inexpensive as $25.00. As a member, you receive many benefits and help offset the operating costs that are not being covered by the state and federal funding. Volunteer some of your time to help. That time is valuable to the day to day operations of AOP.