A new year offers an opportunity for families to talk about conversations regarding health issues and long-term care discussions.

Those who need somewhere to go to get answers regarding long-term care questions and concerns may contact a local Long-Term Care Ombudsman to talk to about these issues. Ombudsmen serve as advocates for residents of long-term care facilities, which include nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and residential care facilities. An ombudsman is also available to provide information and assistance regarding a wide range of long-term care topics, including how to pay for long-term care, how to choose a facility, resident rights, etc.

This is also a time when some people make resolutions to be more active in their communities and explore volunteer opportunities.

"The Long-Term Care Ombudsman program relies extensively on ombudsman volunteers," said Scott Harding, area ombudsman supervisor. "If you are interested in visiting with long-term care residents and advocating on their behalf, this could be the opportunity you are looking for."

The next volunteer training is scheduled for Feb. 24-25, at 9 a.m. at the EODD Conference Room in Muskogee. Potential Cherokee County ombudsmen are invited to attend.

Anyone who would like to attend should contact the office for more detailed information about the training. Other volunteer trainings, possibly at other locations, will be set in the upcoming months.

For more information about the Ombudsman Volunteer Program, or to speak with the ombudsman about any long term-care issues, questions, or concerns, contact Harding at 918-682-7891.

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