Buckeye Hills Regional Council - Aging & Disability
Buckeye Hills Regional Council
(formerly Buckeye Hills-Hocking Valley Regional
Development District & Area Agency on Aging 8)

Monthly News
& Updates:
 Sept. 2017
PASSPORT consumer Ralph Griffith (shown center) credits his Interim Home Health Nurse, Kira Brooks, LPN, and the Buckeye Hills Home Modification program coordinator, Joe Gage, for helping keep him at home, where he prefers to be.
PASSPORT Supports Independence at Home
Nestled in the beauty of the Hocking Hills near Logan, Ralph Griffith is at home where he prefers to be. The Ohio PASSPORT waiver and Home Modification programs, administered locally by Buckeye Hills Regional Council through its Aging & Disability program, are supportive resources that help him stay there.

Growing up on a family farm, Ralph enjoyed working hard, driving tractors and more. Yet, he developed juvenile rheumatoid arthritis at a young age. The disease has impacted his mobility ever since. Years ago, he was forced to leave a job he loved with the Hocking County Engineer's Office and to give up farming. Today, he enjoys being independent in his home with support from PASSPORT.

"Most seniors we encounter prefer to stay in their own homes, in the communities they know and love," said Aging & Disability Program Director Jennifer Westfall. "Before Medicaid waiver programs, older adults who needed long-term care would eventually be in nursing facilities. The PASSPORT program helps Medicaid-eligible seniors, like Ralph, get the services and support needed to stay at home, all the while saving taxpayer dollars."

According to the Ohio Department of Aging, PASSPORT is a two-pronged program. The first part is a pre-admission screening by telephone to determine preliminary Medicaid eligibility and care needs, and to provide information about the variety of available long-term care options. The second part of PASSPORT is home care. Once an individual is determined eligible, a case manager works to develop a package of in-home services delivered by local service providers. The case manager then monitors the care plan for quality and needed changes.

Last year, PASSPORT allowed about 1,280 seniors in Buckeye Hills' eight-county region to remain at home for a fraction of the cost of nursing home placement.
PASSPORT is designed to promote independence for individuals at home with long-term care needs such as; personal care, home maker services, home medical equipment, respite services, home delivered meals and minor home modifications, to name a few.

"We were able to coordinate Ralph's new covered handicap accessible deck with slip resistance to the entrance of his home with support from PASSPORT and the Ohio Housing Trust Fund programs," said
Buckeye Hills Home Modification program coordinator, Joe Gage. He added that the contractor was Debbie Streight, one of the only female contractors in the region. "She is very knowledgeable with handicapped access abilities and is always straight forward with the consumer in sharing what work will be done."

"This new ramp is 200 percent better than what Ralph had before," said Interim Home Health Nurse, Kira Brooks, LPN.

Ralph explained that he was headed for a nursing home before he learned of programs that could help support him at home.

"I was proud to work and to serve the taxpayers, but when I couldn't work any longer, I was so fortunate to have these ladies who care for me and who know about the help available," added Ralph. "I have a quality of life now because each one has helped me in so many different ways." Ralph receives personal care support and homemaker services such as house cleaning and laundry, as well as assistance with his medications.

"This ramp has been a blessing," said Interim Home Health aide Anna Tipton, shown with Griffith above. "He is not as depressed and gets out more with Lady (his companion dog)." Anna added that she enjoys being a home health aide. "I used to work for a nursing home and it's just not possible to give one-on-one attention and care like we can in the home setting."

The Buckeye Hills Aging & Disability program has certified specialists in information and assistance ready to help caregivers and families connect to services whether it's PASSPORT or other community options. Call 1-800-331-2644, or visit www.buckeyehills.org/aging.

Roger Hendricks, John Lewis, Jeff Sturgill, Charlie Buckalew and Kevin Abrams, employees of Aspire Energy located in Athens, Ohio, made a $100 donation to Sponsor a Senior for the Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program.

Thanks to their generous donation Buckeye Hills Regional Council will be able to provide $50 worth of coupons to two income-eligible senior citizens who are on the waiting list to receive coupons. With the coupons, those seniors will be able to purchase locally grown fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and honey from participating farmers. Shown are Roger Hendricks and Cathy Ash, LSW - Senior Farmers Market program manager.

Special thanks to additional donors including:Athens County Job & Family Services; Washington Co-op; Summit Acres; Settlers Bank; Kay Callihan; Misty Casto; June Holley; Troy Montana and others who wished to be unnamed (as of 8-18-17).  
Sponsor a Senior Effort Continues

Since its launch last month, more than $6,500 has been pledged to support taking seniors off the region's Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program waiting list.

The annual Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program is so popular that inevitably the demand outpaces the available funding. Year-over-year, the Buckeye Hills region in southeast Ohio maintains waiting lists with hundreds of seniors who never get coupons for fresh market items. The Buckeye Hills Regional Council is the lead agency for the Southeast Ohio Aging & Disability Resource Network and administers the program.

The Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) provides income-eligible senior citizens with special coupons worth $50 to enjoy locally grown fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and honey. While the Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program is funded by USDA and the Ohio Department of Aging, their funding is LIMITED. Many income-eligible seniors are placed on waiting lists.

Program coupons may be exchanged for eligible foods from authorized farmers. Only fresh, locally grown fruits, herbs, vegetables and honey are eligible to be purchased with the coupons.

"Since 1974, we have been a trusted source for information and access to a full-range of available services, programs and options to help individuals, regardless of age or disability, remain at home," said Aging Director Jennifer Westfall.

"This year, we decided to create the $ponsor a $enior program and ask the community to help us meet the demand for Senior Farmers' Market Coupons in the form of donations," said Aging & Disability Director Jennifer Westfall. "To date, we've received more than $6,500 to sponsor seniors on the current waiting list for Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program coupons or for the Project Lifesaver program."

Project Lifesaver technology, in the hands of certified law enforcement partners, helps find people with a cognitive disorder such as Alz
heimer's disease or Autism when they wander from a caregiver. Clients are outfitted with a transmitter about the size of a watch - worn on the wrist or ankle. Should the client wander, the caregiver notifies 911 and the local Sheriff's Office begins a search immediately using Project Lifesaver equipment. Without the technology, searches can last hours or days. Through community donations, the program is offered free to seniors and $350 will sponsor one enrollee on the Project Lifesaver Program.    
Your donation (of any amount) can help provide services and    
support to seniors in need across 8 counties in Southeast Ohio.
Mail donations to: Buckeye Hills Regional Council 
1400 Pike St. Marietta, OH  45750
Click here to learn more!

Go Fund Me transaction and processing fees will be deducted from your donation. Donations are not tax deductible as Buckeye Hills is not a 501(c)3. 

Falls Prevention Awareness
As autumn arrives, take time to consider the following information on preventing falls.
Each year, thousands of older Americans fall at home. Many of them are seriously injured, and some are disabled. Falls are often due to hazards that are easy to overlook but easy to fix.
According to the Ohio Department of Aging, falls among older Ohioans have reached epidemic proportions. One in three older adults will fall this year, and falls are the leading cause of emergency room visits, hospitalizations and deaths among our elders. A single fall can change the life not only of the person who falls, but also his or her family members who may have to become a caregiver for their loved one. The good news is that falls are not a normal part of aging, and most falls can be prevented.

More information and tips are available at www.steadyu.ohio.gov

The Ohio Department of Aging offers five easy steps to reduce the risk of falls at home:
  1. Increase physical activity. Simple exercise, like walking or swimming at least 15 minutes a day can help build muscle strength and improve balance, which can prevent falls. If unable to participate in these activities, ask a doctor for other types of activities that could help build strength and balance.
  2. See an eye doctor once each year. Age-related eye diseases, such as cataracts, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, can increase the risk of falling. Early detection is key to minimizing the effects of these conditions.
  3. Review medications. Talk to the doctor about medicines and whether they may cause drowsiness or dizziness. Discuss things to ensure medicines are taken safely.
  4. Remove environmental hazards. Look around the house for anything that could increase the risk of falls, including poor lighting, loose rugs, slippery floors and unsteady furniture. Remove or modify these hazards. Identify areas where additional lighting, grab bars and other safety support are needed.
  5. Think, plan and slow down. Many falls are caused by hurrying. Slow down and think through the task you are performing. Be mindful of possible falls risks and act accordingly.
Falls are not a normal part of aging. There are simple steps that older adults can take to reduce their risk for a fall. For more resources, contact Buckeye Hills Regional Council's Aging & Disability program at 1-800-331-2644.

Caregiver Corner

Help Your Loved Ones Reduce Risk of Falls 

It's estimated (by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) that every 13 seconds an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall.

But, falls are not a normal part of aging, and most falls can be prevented. You can help your loved one prevent falls by encouraging regular physical activity, routine vision check-ups, medication reviews and balance exercises. You can also scan the home and do things like improve lighting or remove hazards such as throw rugs, loose cords and clutter. 

Buckeye Hills' Caregiver Advocacy program offers support to informal caregivers who are providing care for loved ones at home. Services provided through this program include in-home caregiver training, one-on-one support by a case manager, information and referrals to community providers, legal services and respite assistance.

We have a variety of resources and services available. Call 1-800-331-2644, or visit our web site today! 
Help Take
"10 Million Steps"
to Prevent Falls

One in three Ohioans over age 60 will fall this year, and for many of them, that fall could lead to a life-changing injury. However, falls are not a normal part of aging, and most falls can be prevented. Regular physical activity, like walking 15-30 minutes a day, strengthens muscles, improves balance, flexibility and increases stamina. Walking is one of the easiest and best ways to stay active and is one of the most basic things you can do to reduce your risk of falling.
To raise awareness of older adult falls and the many ways to prevent them, the STEADY U Ohio initiative is sponsoring the 3rd annual "10 Million Steps to Prevent Falls." On Sept. 22, and throughout the month of September, STEADY U will partner with community organizations to plan and host local walking events and groups, with the goal of getting at least 4,000 Ohioans to walk a mile each in the name of falls prevention. Individuals can join in by taking a one-mile walk by themselves or with others, and posting a selfie of their efforts to social media.
Last year, 59 organizations sponsored 55 community events. Across Ohio, more than 3,500 Ohioans walked approximately 6,800 miles. At an average of 2,500 steps per mile, that's 17 million steps taken in the name of falls prevention!
This year, let's work together to beat those statistics. Local organizations, with members, staff and partners can help STEADY U Ohio take more than "10 Million Steps" to prevent falls.
Visit www.steadyu.ohio.gov in late August for more information and to register your community or group event.
Advocate for
Elder Rights

Ombudsman Associates are volunteer  advocates who provide a voice for the concerns of long-term care consumers who are living in their own homes, nursing homes or assisted living.

Volunteers are one of the most valued resources of the regional Long-term Care  Ombudsman program. You can work to protect 
the rights of elders and the disabled by becoming an Ombudsman Associate!

Be part of a friendly and dedicated team making sure nursing home and other long-term care residents receive the high-quality standards of living they deserve. Experience is not necessary - just the ability to empathize and a drive to help others. Training is provided!

Contact us at 1-800-331-2644 ext. 2820 for details.

Learn More
50th Anniversary Plans Underway

We have been reviewing lots of resources in preparation for Buckeye Hills' 50th Anniversary next year! Found this photo of a home delivered meals vehicle.

If you have photos, stories, quotes or thoughts, please send them our way! We'd love to hear from you: send emails to: gstewart@buckeyehills.org.

Dates to Remember:

September is Falls Prevention & Awareness Month

Sept. 8
- Regional Transportation Planning Organization Committees to meet. 
Sept. 13 - Natural Resources Assistance Council Informational Session (Round 12 Clean Ohio Funding)
Oct. 6 - Buckeye Hills Regional Council Semi-Annual meeting 
Buckeye Hills Regional Council

 740-373-6400 | 1400 PIke St. - Marietta, OH  45750 | www.buckeyehills.org

Misty Casto: Executive Director
Rick Hindman: Assistant Executive Director
Jennifer Westfall: Aging Director
Dawn Weber, LSW, LNHA: Home Care Director 

Buckeye Hills Regional Council is organized as a voluntary organization of local government political subdivisions to foster cooperative efforts in regional planning, and implementing of regional plans and programs.
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