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Volunteers with an hour to spare can help Oklahoma seniors

A new volunteer campaign for Oklahoma senior citizens is called “Got an Hour? Give it Back.”
By Jim Killackey, For The Oklahoman Published: July 9, 2014
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Marilyn Ownby, 72, of Prague, has such problems with her sciatic nerve that she’s unable to change light bulbs in ceiling fixtures or clean her ceiling fan blades. Scouring her bathtub also is difficult.

Using any size ladder could lead to a fall.

She is an example of why a campaign has been launched to attract volunteers to help seniors with housework and errands.

The drive is titled “Got an Hour? Give it Back.”

Seniors can call the Senior Info Line for assistance at (800) 211-2116, or the Oklahoma Council on Aging, 521-2281.

“This is a miracle program for our seniors,” said Marilyn Kipps, a lifetime member of the Oklahoma Silver Haired Legislature Alumni Association.

The campaign “is an important program to encourage people to give just 60 minutes or more of their time to older adults,” said Lance Robertson, director of the state Department of Human Services Aging Services Division, based in Oklahoma City.

“We know that older adults have made countless contributions and sacrifices to ensure a better life for future generations,” Robertson said. “We celebrate those contributions by demonstrating our commitment to helping older adults stay healthy and active.”

‘Very worthy goal’

A U.S. Administration on Aging report indicates there are at least 11 million seniors living alone in their homes and communities, and nearly 1.5 million seniors in nursing homes at any given time. Many have some disability.

Programs set up through localities and the state, many of which are funded through the Older Americans Act, offer opportunities for the seniors to receive meals, as well as programs to keep them busy and social. These programs thrive on volunteers giving back to the older adults in their community, according to elder care advocates.

“The volunteer recruitment tools from the ‘Got an Hour? Give it Back’ campaign can provide local agencies with numerous avenues to bring new people to volunteer and help ensure that older Oklahomans remain both active and independent for as long as possible — a very worthy goal,” Robertson said.

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