Ombudsman is a Swedish term that means public advocate. An ombudsman seeks out wrong doers on behalf of vulnerable people. These are very special people who are the guardian angels in our communities. Each state sets up the ombudsman programs to meet their particular needs but all of them operate within the authority of Older Americans Act. The long term Care Ombudsman is responsible for the following issues:
- Advocate for ways to improve the quality of life and care practices for aging residents.
- Collaborate with other community organizations who provide aging services.
- Work with resident and family councils within residential settings to promote well-being and personal rights.
- Educate consumers, communities and law makers on the issues impacting the safety, welfare, health and rights of aging people in residential communities.
- Investigate complaints of abuse, neglect and abandonments of vulnerable people especially those who live in residential communities.
- Champion legislation that improves the lives of aging and other vulnerable people.
An ombudsman makes unplanned visits to residential communities to inspect what a typical day in the life of seniors. These surprise encounters are the best way these guardian angels can uncover problems. People serving as ombudsman are unsung and often invisible heroes in our communities. Your local Area Agency on Aging can connect you to their services. Please reach out if you believe they can help.
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