Happy October! I hope everyone is well, and I thank you for taking the time to read about what’s been happening at Empowered Aging. As many of you know, October is Residents’ Rights Month. In this annual event, we work to honor and spread awareness about the rights, dignity, and respect that residents in long-term care and older adults in our community deserve.
At Empowered Aging, we fight for the rights of all older adults daily, but during this month, we raise our voices even louder. This year’s theme is “Reclaiming My Rights, My Home, My Life, which couldn’t be more fitting. It recognizes the impacts that this last year has had on seniors and emphasizes the need for self-determination in restoring their lives, ensuring they thrive. Every day, our staff and volunteers are in the field listening and engaging with residents, families, and facilities across our region to help resolve issues and educate. Our programs, including Friendly Visiting, Ombudsman Services, and Elder Justice, are just a few at the forefront of this critical work on the ground. This theme also emphasizes raising awareness around federally mandated rights. As I embark on my new Health and Aging Policy Fellowship, I’m looking forward to helping incite policy change that better serves the seniors in our community and across the nation.
This month my team and I are challenging you to get involved whether you communicate with seniors virtually, donate, share information on social media, or safely volunteer your time in person. Help us inform communities, help us promote independence, and help us fight ageism. Together we can keep our seniors engaged and involved because we all benefit from their unique contributions to society.
I hope you will read on for more information about residents’ rights, events, and team updates. As always, if you or someone you know needs help, our team is on standby. You can get in touch by calling 925.685.2070 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recognizing Residents' Rights
Did you know that Residents’ Rights Month started in 1981 as an annual meeting held by Consumer Voice? At the time, several residents in attendance from various nursing homes across the U.S. called for a time to celebrate residents—something separate from National Nursing Home Week held every May. Since then, the Consumer Voice has successfully expanded this event from a day to a week, and now an entire month, allowing ample time to implement programs and events calling attention and encouraging action around this vital movement.
As we all know, senior advocacy has never been more critical, especially with all that has happened since the pandemic began. It has shed light on what has been happening in many ways, but news stories only go so far. Older adults must get involved with what’s happening in their facilities. They must express their needs and help facilitate communication on behalf of fellow residents. We’re often asked how advocates and ombudsmen encourage facilities to acknowledge and promote residents’ rights when there is usually resistance. It comes down to communication and engagement. Advocates, service providers, and ombudsman should be participating too,
1. Cultivate relationships or rebuild connections with residents, families, and facility staff.
2. Empower residents to act through education.
3. Encourage education for families, staff, and community members.
4. Provide program updates, offer resources, and open lines of communication.
5. And to call on policymakers to get involved and incite change.
Are you interested in getting involved right now, today? Empowered Aging has several ways for you to make a difference. For more information on donating or becoming a volunteer, visit EmpoweredAging.org/Get-Involved.
Solano Partnership Against Violence Elects Christy Thomas as Chair
Congratulations to our Solano Elder Abuse Victim Specialist, Christy Thomas, on her election as Vice-Chair of the Solano Partnership Against Violence (SPAV). SPAV provides a forum for inter-agency cooperation and coordination in the prevention, detection, treatment, and legal processing of family violence cases. Christy became a member of SPAV in 2019 and has since been working to spread awareness of family violence in Solano County with an emphasizing elder abuse prevention. Christy also helped co-host two networking events featuring 36 local agencies that provide community services to help victims of violence recover and heal from abuse.