November 25, 2005.
One of the most widely used services at Senior and Disability Services is our Information and Referral program. Our specialists on staff are experts in guiding people through the variety of services available in our communities, helping to answer questions, and making referrals to other agencies, as well as assisting with the process of gaining entry to the long-term care system. We receive thousands of calls each year from relatives, both locally and from across the country, looking for help with a family situation - often an urgent health care situation.
In the coming weeks, we will all have a new and very sophisticated tool to assist us in helping the communities we serve. It is the Oregon Network of Care, a new web site that will soon become an indispensable resource for locating services, researching medical conditions and treatments, posting news articles in the area of aging and disabilities as well as locating suppliers of adaptive equipment.
The Network of Care is the result of a cooperative effort of the Oregon Association of Area Agencies on Aging and Disabilities (O4AD) and the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS). Funding through the Older Americans Act and Oregon Project Independence has helped create the first state-wide comprehensive resource of this kind in the country. I was fortunate to attend the recent launch of the website. Governor Kulongoski was in attendance and offered his support, as well as a sobering reminder that in five years, the population of Oregon will be the fourth "oldest" in the nation. The Network of Care will become one of the frontline resources for our seniors, people with disabilities and their family, friends and neighbors.
Over the last several weeks, I have begun to look through the various parts of the website already developed, and I have a growing appreciation for the simplicity and the comprehensive resource that the Network of Care will become. As a "one-stop shop" for locating a resource, there appears to be several very clear cut and intuitive ways to find information on a selected service need. In one section, you can search the library. The library helps you look through various sections such as information on medical conditions, treatments and pharmacy, caregiver supports, finance and law as well as emergency preparedness to give a few examples. There is an assistive devices section that gives 21,000 listings for products to help with vision impairments, communication impairments, support devices for recreation as well as personal care devices just to name a few. There is also a section that is an amazing resource that lets you track state and federal legislation, communicate with your legislator and receive updates via e-mail when there are changes in a bill that you are interested in tracking. Maybe your interest is in keeping track of physicians, medications or important contact information for yourself or for a relative. There is a function that will let you create a private folder of information that you or invited relatives, even your treatment professional, can review if you choose to give access to your folder.
I encourage you to check out the Network of Care website over the next several weeks. The site will be updated on a regular basis and as updates are made, we will have a very accurate resource for each of the communities in Linn, Benton and Lincoln Counties.
The Network of Care website is located at http://oregon.networkofcare.org.
Scott Bond is the Director of Senior and Disability Services for Oregon Cascades West Council of Governments, the Area Agency on Aging for Benton, Linn, and Lincoln counties. He can be reached at (541) 812-6008 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © 2005 Newport News-Times
Source URL: http://www.newportnewstimes.com/articles/2005/11/25/community/community18.txt.
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