I am a volunteer with Pro Seniors, and speak directly with Nursing Home Residents, and their families. Pro Seniors helps resolve serious care problems, by working with the Home's Administration, the resident, and the family, to make sure the resident's care is correct and consistent. Here is one example. A 79 year old resident suffers from dementia. During COVID, after months of not seeing her dad, his daughter finally saw him from a distance. He clearly had not received a haircut for a very long time; his hair was very long, and not clean. His face had more than a few days of an unshaven beard. There was very poor cleaning of his dentures; they were noticeably yellow and filmy. His fingernails and hands were dirty, which explains his suffering frequent episodes of pink eye. He was unable to use his hands with a knife and fork to cut large slices of meat served with his meals. He complained the meat wasn't being cut for him. With the serving's meat not cut into small, edible pieces, he wouldn't eat it since he couldn't. As a result, he was losing weight. Pro Seniors spoke with the Nursing Homes' Director of Nursing, and the Administrator, to make sure the aides and nursing staff would improve their care of this man's hygiene and food preparation. The changes were implemented immediately, to provide his hygiene and food preparation correctly. Without Pro Seniors, this gentleman would likely still be living "in the shadow" of good care.
Upon my retirement a former coworker introduced me to ProSeniors. Since that date I was invited to be on the board. This was approximately ten years ago. Since that time, I have witnessed the amazing work they do. They are advocates for seniors in the courtroom and in assisted living facilities. Through my experience with ProSeniors they have helped me be an advocate for members of my family.
As the Board Chair I am proud to say that I represent ProSeniors.
Chairman of the Board
I am a volunteer on the Pro Seniors’ helpline. After 48 years of legal practice, last year I decided to devote the balance of my legal career to volunteer legal services. I am very fortunate to be able to volunteer on the Pro Seniors’ helpline because we are able to assist people with legal problems and alleviate some of their anxiety. The helpline provides to any Ohio resident 60 years or older, a one-half hour session with a lawyer. The lawyer will assist with any legal question and the questions include all areas of law. However, a significant portion of the questions involve housing, medical care, debt collection and end of life issues. Clients are faced with legal issues for which they have very little knowledge how to resolve. The goal of the attorney is to answer the question, if possible, or help the client make a plan for resolution of the issue. Pro Seniors also has pamphlets and forms available on the website and pamphlets and form letters can be mailed to the client. We are able to refer clients to lawyers and social agencies. Often, we are able to give suggestions on how the client can resolve the problem on his or her own. At the end of the phone call, the client has less anxiety and worry because there is a plan and because the client has a better understanding how to resolve the issue.
In the early days of the COVID lockdown, I received a frantic call from a long-time client. A family member had been hospitalized with COVID and was about to be discharged from the hospital to a care facility. I was able to connect my client with the appropriate ombudman at ProSeniors. Through the intervention of the ProSeniros ombudman, the family member entered a care facility of which my client approved. This is just one of many examples of the extremely high quality of services provided by Pro Seniors' compassionate and dedicated staff.
During 25 years of working for non-profit agencies, before I retired, I learned about Pro Seniors Programs and the tremendous work they’re doing in the community. They were one of my select “go to agencies” when I made referrals and they never disappointed.
In 2020, right before the world came to a halt for the pandemic, Linda Kerdolff from Pro Seniors called to discuss my interest in a new volunteer position they were creating. Would I consider being trained to be an Ombudsman and then to share Pro Seniors work in the community through in person presentations. I was ecstatic just to be asked! I was being offered an opportunity to continue using my presentation skills, volunteering for an organization that I’d worked with, praised and supported for years while doing something I LOVE and was uniquely qualified to do. (It seems the majority of people in this world HATE public speaking and I LOVE it.)
I went through training during the pandemic. There would be no large gatherings and thus no presentations. Under Linda’s direction I learned new ways to spread the word. Instead of in person community presentations, Linda worked with me on how to conduct webinars. We’ve been able to reach large numbers of individuals and organizations through these webinars.
The central theme of these webinars is the 33 rights that every long-term care resident has. It’s critically important that the public knows we do not give up our civil rights once we enter into congregate living. Under Linda’s direction I’ve done in-service training on these rights for the staff and residents in various facilities, explained the critical work that our ombudsman volunteers are doing in nursing homes to empower residents to ensure their rights are being honored, been part of a college lecture series where I explained these rights and how to select a long-term care facility and finally I introduced Pro Seniors via a virtual presentation to a Duke Energy Collaborative comprised of representatives from all the social service agencies in the greater Cincinnati area.
Pro Seniors is a unique organization focusing on the rights of the elderly. I consider it an honor and a privilege to be one of their volunteers.