Friday, April 29, 2022

 

Arkansas 211, Here to Serve:

As the State of Arkansas was beginning to deal with the Public Health response to the COVID-19 Pandemic and safety measures were closing down businesses and public gatherings, Arkansas 211 began the process of expanding our services.  For many years, Arkansas was one of two states in the United States that had less than 20% of its population served by a 211 service.  Beginning in 2017, we engaged a cohort of AmeriCorps members to update our statewide resources. We hosted another two service years for State and National Service members.  When the pandemic began to highlight community needs, United Way of Northwest Arkansas decided to expand the service to cover the entire state of Arkansas.  We then began the process of building a team of Arkansas residents to serve as Community Resource Advisors (CRAs) to cover a virtual contact center to serve the people of our state during business hours.  We secured the services of a sister 211 provider to cover our after-hours service so that we now can answer requests from help seekers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  We also enhanced our service to the community by creating a new website for easier use by members of the community, and partner agencies.  Dallas Mudd, Executive Director of Arkansas 211, is fond of saying that when help seekers contact 211, it is because they are facing challenges.  It is our goal to be the best thing that happens to them during these challenging times by:

  • Providing a confidential, judgement-free environment
  • Validating the concerns of the help seekers
  • Exploring if there are other needs that may be present
  • Empowering help seekers with accurate, curated resources
  • Establishing partnerships with community resource providers

 We were excited when we were able to secure grants to assist with the following statewide initiatives:

  • Ride United Vaccine Access (RUVAC) – providing free Lyft rides for individuals seeking transportation to COVID-19 vaccines
  • Ride United Transportation Access (RUTA) – providing free Lyft rides to overcome transportation barriers for needed one-time, or episodic need such as school, work, or appointments
  • Ride United Last-Mile Delivery (RULMD – providing DoorDash courier services for needed essential supplies provided by partner agencies and programs

 We are excited to be growing in response to the needs we learn from our fellow Arkansans and to help provide a guiding light in times of darkness.  If you have questions about Arkansas 211 and the services we provide, please feel free to contact Carlos Garbutt, Director of Arkansas 211 via email, cgarbutt@unitedwaynwa.org.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

 

Carpe Diem Day

The last couple of years have been challenging for many, whether dealing with the pandemic, racial tensions, military actions or threat of military actions, sicknesses, isolation, and so much more.  Sometimes we get so overwhelmed and distracted by all the negative things going on in our lives that we struggle or forget to grab onto the good things going on in our life or the lives of those around us. Self-care is especially important in a sometimes topsy-turvy world.

 February 26 is celebrated each year as Carpe Diem Day.   The phrase ‘carpe diem’ or ‘seize the day’ reminds us to celebrate every joy and opportunity that life has given us and live life to the best of our ability.    We cannot change the past and we cannot predict the future, as no day is guaranteed, so we should focus on making our “today” the best we can make it.

Here are a couple ideas noted on nationaltoday.com for activities that you can do on Carpe Diem Day:

·         Connect with loved ones.  Take the day to make amends with someone, practice positive affirmations, and do kind things for others. Do what you can to connect with your loved ones.

·         Take a few deep breaths.  Concentrate on deep breathing exercises. 

·         Make a bucket list.  Make a bucket list of all the big and small things you want to achieve.      

So take a moment, or several moments, throughout the day to note those things you are grateful for at that moment, smile a little, and “Seize the Day”!

 

Carpe Diem Day information was taken from https://nationaltoday.com/carpe-diem-day/

Monday, December 6, 2021

Opportunity or Opportunism?

AIRS just published a public policy statement entitled, "Opportunity or Opportunism? The Intersection of Public I&R System and Private Software Vendors". It was developed by the AIRS Public Policy Committee and has been provided to the US Administration for Community Living.  This document addresses the issues surrounding the market competition we are facing from private sector "closed loop referral" software vendors who are duplicating resources databases that have been maintained by I&Rs for decades.

The final paragraphs of the document read:

 

“Ultimately, community-based 211s and private sector vendors should partner together with healthcare entities to provide the best of all worlds – highly-developed, relevant resources for healthcare consumers that are maintained by certified database curators, staffed by trained I&R professionals, and have leading-edge software with the capacity and capability to provide and track referrals, and health outcomes. In effect, genuine Community Information Exchanges (such as in San Diego) governed by the community itself.

The Alliance of Information and Referral Systems (AIRS) encourages relevant Federal, State, and healthcare institutions to foster mutually beneficial partnerships with 211s for SDoH outcomes.”


Wednesday, August 11, 2021

 

Mobility Management!

What in the driving Miss Daisy is mobility management?  Driving Miss Daisy, starring Morgan Freeman and Jessica Tandy, was directed by Bruce Beresford and released in 1989. This movie came to mind after trying to figure out the best practice needed to effectively serve clients who need transportation assistance. According to the National Center for Mobility Management, mobility management is defined in the following statements.

“In short: Mobility management can be broadly defined as creating and managing mobility options, at both the systemic and system-to-customer levels, to improve the reach, efficiency, and affordability of public transportation services.

A bit longer explanation: Mobility management is an approach to designing and delivering transportation services that starts and ends with the customer. It begins with a community vision in which the entire transportation network—public transit, private operators, cycling and walking, volunteer drivers, and others—works together with customers, planners, and stakeholders to deliver the transportation options that best meet the community's needs.” - https://nationalcenterformobilitymanagement.org/for-mobility-managers/

How does mobility management fit into Information and Referral services?

Referring a client to a senior center in their area to schedule transportation assistance was easy. Referring a client to public transportation or other wheelchair associable providers was not a problem. Providing a client eligibility requirements for a free or reduced fare bus ride on Metro Transit is a walk in the park.  For the most I & R staff the above we can do with our eyes closed.

It was assisting clients with rides directly that brought a level of uncertainty. Scheduling rides using a third party transportation providers dashboard was challenging. Explaining to an older adult who doesn’t own a smart phone that they will receive a text. Even if they have a smart phone trying to talk them through downloading a transportation app and how to access their text messages. For the past 6 months mobility management has felt like a scene from driving Miss Daisy.

If Hoke Colburn, Morgan Freeman’s character was a LYFT driver in the film comes to mind with every request. In one of my favorite scenes Hoke is taking Miss Daisy on a trip, he allows her to give direction from the back seat because she has the map. They get lost and Miss Daisy blames Hoke for the error.

He says to Miss Daisy, “Well, now, you took it (the trip) with me, Miss Daisy, and you got the map.”

I found the following blogs helpful:

Part 1

https://www.nadtc.org/news/blog/transportation-information-and-assistance-an-introduction/

 Part 2

https://www.nadtc.org/news/blog/what-does-information-referral-mean-to-mobility-management/

Article by: Jamie R. Saunders, MSW

Monday, August 2, 2021

 National Relaxation Day – August 15, 2021

 As I was looking for topics for this month’s blog I discovered that August 15th is considered “National Relaxation Day”.  I was surprised this was an actual “Day”; however, I agree that it is important that we recognize a day, or more, to relax.  The timing of “Relaxation Day” seems appropriate to me as Summer is winding down and school activities are starting again.  As the parent of a High School student, I expect little to no relaxation time for several months. 

In the Cambridge Dictionary, relaxation is defined as “a pleasant activity that makes you become calm and less worried”.  There are many techniques for relaxing including, but not limited to, progressive muscle relaxation (tensing then relaxing each muscle group), visualization (forming mental images of a calming place), deep breathing, massage, yoga, music or art therapy, and mediation.  The key is to find the technique that works for you.  Some techniques may seem awkward the first time you try them, but with practice it may become easier.  These techniques should not cause more stress, so if the technique is not working for you, try something different.

There have also been several studies showing the benefits of relaxation, to both physical and mental health.  Some physical benefits include slowing your heart rate, lowering blood pressure, reducing muscle tension, and reducing chronic pain.  Reducing anger or frustration, improving sleep quality, and improving concentration, mood, and even productivity are some mental benefits we can gain if we make relaxation part of our routine.

I am going to challenge myself to try some new relaxation techniques during the entire month of August and would like to challenge you to do the same… or at least relax on Sunday, August 15, 2021, National Relaxation Day!

By: Penny Humphrey

Try this fun word search!

NATIONAL RELAXATION DAY

AUGUST 15, 2021

 


bath                               chat                               color

fishing                            friends                           hike

imagery                         manicure                       massage

meditation                    music                            nature

paint                              read                               relax

stretching                      Tai Chi                           yoga


Wednesday, June 2, 2021

 

It’s All About the Heart and Everything Else

Two weeks ago, my heart was aflutter. Not because I was excited about something, it just felt weird and I was convinced, I was having a heart attack. I spoke with my doctor and she recommended I go to the emergency room, just as a precaution. It was not a heart attack, thankfully, but I am wearing a heart monitor for a few weeks to see if something is going on in there. This monitor made me think about other ways we can see if things are going ok with us by getting screenings and preventive services and how important they are.

Preventive services are tests, screenings and health counseling that help to prevent or catch illness or disease early and keep you healthy. Medicare offers many preventive services free, check with your doctor to see which ones you need. Your local Area Agency on Aging may have “A Guide to Medicare’s Preventive Services” so you can check what is available to you.

Everyone getting Medicare is able to have a Welcome to Medicare “Wellness” visit within the first 12 months of being on Medicare. This visit can include a health risk assessment and go over your medical and family history, height, weight and blood pressure. They will determine if you are behind on any health screening and advise you one a schedule for them. Consider this your baseline or starting point of your Medicare health journey. When making the appointment you need to say you are scheduling your “welcome to Medicare wellness visit” so they can bill Medicare correctly. Medicare also covers an annual “Wellness” visit for those who have been on Medicare for over 12 months. This visit covers many of the same things in the New to Medicare visit. It makes sure you are on track and getting the tests and screenings needed.

Other preventive services that are available include:

  • annual flu shot
  • Pneumococcal shot
  • prostate screening
  • glaucoma tests
  • colorectal cancer screening
  • depression screening
  • cervical and vaginal cancer screening
  • abdominal aortic aneurysm screening
  • tobacco use cessation counseling
  • cardiovascular disease screening

Getting a few tests and screenings throughout the year could make the difference in preventing or catching an illness or disease early. For me it is worth it.

Preventive Services is just one-way to stay healthy for as long as possible. I am glad that I took that step to ensure my own health. So if your heart is aflutter call your doctor or 911, but if you would like more information on Medicare’s Preventive services or other Medicare information, please contact your local Area Agency on Aging.

 Jackie Dover

Aging Matters, Public Information Director

Southeast Missouri Area Agency on Aging