Area Agency on Aging of the Panhandle in need of volunteers for Ombudsman Program

Local News

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The Area Agency on Aging of the Panhandle is in urgent need of volunteers to serve in their ombudsman program.

Nursing home and long-term care facilities have been one of the hardest hit during the pandemic.

“I really feel like the climate of long-term care facilities was indicative to the rest of the world. We were scrambling to protect our vulnerable populations. With social distancing that creates isolation and isolation in turn has negative side effects,” said Melissa Whitaker, Area Agency on Aging Managing Local Ombudsman.

The Area of Agency on Aging of the Panhandle serves individuals age 60 years and older and their caregivers with a variety of programs.

One of those is the ombudsman program, which provides advocates and support for individuals living in nursing and assisted living facilities.

“They would be able to visit through closed window visitations via web conferencing, over the phone. Then later down the road, in-facility visits but that’s for when we have proper PPE and protocols for that,” said Whitaker.

At the moment, they are in need of volunteers to help them out as they are spread pretty thin.

“We do cover the top 26 counties of the Texas panhandle. It’s around 3,200 residents and nursing homes and assisted livings. We definitely need volunteers at this point especially now with the pandemic. In our small program we only have two employees covering all of those counties,” said Whitaker.

In helping them out, you will help serve our area elderly during these times.

“We want to make sure that the residents retain their independence and their choices as well as their autonomy in facilities for as long as possible,” said Whitaker.

To qualify for the program, you have to be over the age of 18, complete a criminal background check and their free online training program.

If you would like to sign up or learn more about the program, click here.

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