Senior Life: Ohio program offers assistance with long-term care facilities – Record-Courier

By Sally Kelly  |  Record-Courier

Last month I mentioned that one of the protections we have as senior citizens is the Ohio Ombudsman Program. This is not a program or word that is frequently mentioned in our society today, and for many of us it is not a service we are even aware of.

According to the Ohio Department on Aging website, “Ombudsmen work to resolve problems related to the health, safety, welfare, and rights of individuals who live in long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes, board and care and assisted living facilities, and other residential care communities.”

One of the services this program offers is information on how to navigate the visitation opportunities in long-term care facilities during the pandemic restrictions. The Ohio State program does have a brochure available with information about this issue: “Mom’s Vaccinated: When Can I Visit Her Nursing Home.”

The Ohio Ombudsmen program also offers safety services for those living in their own homes as well as making available volunteers who can also provide a voice for long-term care consumer whether in their own homes, nursing homes, or assisted living facilities.

For much more information about this program and how it can impact your life, and that of your family and friends go to Ohio Ombudsman@age.oho.gov. (1-800-282-1206).

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Locally our Area Agency on Aging offers ombudsman’s services to residents of Portage, Summit, Wayne and Stark counties. (1-877-770-5558).

Their Elder Rights Program provides advocacy services for residents in long-term care facilities and recipients of community-based long-term care services. They can investigate and resolve complaints and provide information and referral to individuals regarding nursing homes and board and care homes.

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Winter is obviously here, and we can hear our electric and gas bills growing moment by moment. Do not forget that there is financial assistance available for you if your one-person household’s income is less than $25,760 a year ($34,840 for a two-person household).

This is a program in Ohio sponsored by the Ohio Development Services Agency (1-800-282-0880). This agency coordinates five different programs for low-income residents.

The HEAP program can help you pay heating and cooling bills. The Home Weatherization Assistance Program offers low- income homeowners and renters reduce their energy use while increasing the comfort of their home.

A new federal program for low-income households is assistance in paying water bills. This program now makes available a one- time payment for water and wastewater services.

They also offer a Lifeline Telephone Assistance Program to help you maintain basic local telephone service for low-income individuals.

Do not be bashful or prideful … reach out and take advantage of these programs … they are there to help you.

Access to these programs can be made available by calling the Portage County Community Action Council at 330-297-1456.