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Our Advocate for Long-Term Care Residents

Ryan Leonard serves as M4A's Community Ombudsman to advocate for residents in Long-Term Care (LTC) facilities such as Nursing Homes, Assisted Living, Specialty Care Assisted Living, and Boarding Homes. Ryan works with all parties to protect the health, safety, welfare, and rights of long-term care residents. Anyone can use the Ombudsman, including residents, their friends or family, or employees of long-term care facilities. M4A has other staff who also are certified as Community Ombudsmen.

Our Ombudsman’s role is to:
  • Investigate and resolve complaints on behalf of residents.Visit each LTC facility to evaluate conditions.
  • Ensure residents receive the quality care to which they are entitled.
  • Act as a mediator between residents, family members, and facility staff.
  • Educate residents, family members, and facility staff.
  • Provide information to the public.
  • Assist with resident and family councils.
  • Represent residents’ interests before state and federal government.
  • Be treated with respect and dignity.
  • Be free from chemical and physical restraints.
  • Voice grievances without fear of retaliation.
  • Associate and communicate privately with any person of their choice.
  • Send and receive personal mail.
  • Have personal and medical records kept confidential.
  • Apply for state and federal assistance without discrimination.
  • Be fully informed prior to admission of their rights, services available, and all financial charges.
  • Be given advance notice of transfer or discharge.

Gift Giving Season in Long-Term Care Facilities

During the holidays, residents can feel discouraged and left out of the gift-giving process if they don’t have the money to buy gifts, if they are not able to get to a store (due to health constraints or limited transportation), or if they don’t remember that it is the holiday season.

According to the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, some ways that you can include your loved one in the gift giving season:

• Wrap holiday gifts together.

• Write greeting cards together.

• Create a collage together of pictures of families and friends.

• Ask/arrange to bake cookies or prepare another food that you can share together.

• Decorate seasonal wreaths for your doors.

• Create a piece of artwork together.

• Ask your loved one to talk about her life or family; tell your loved one this gift of the family history will be valued by the whole family and future generations.

• Give a gift that doesn’t feel like it needs to be reciprocated – like spending time together, or doing an activity together.

• Give a gift, while stating that it is repayment for all of the gifts they gave you over the years.


M4A will be highlighting each of our senior centers in future editions of our newsletter. We will begin this effort by giving a BIG shout out to the Clanton Senior Center. Carolyn Thomas, the Center Director, has made it her mission over the last three years to provide hot delivered meals to seniors who are homebound across the city.

With the help of her three dedicated staff members (Wanda Hughley, Barbara McMillan, and Denise Scott) and volunteer, Drusilla Hudgins, they have partnered with eight local Churches and now serve 110 seniors with hot delivered meals five days each week.

The local Churches recruit and utilize members of their congregation who volunteer their time to deliver the meals to the seniors. The senior center gets the meals ready for pick up by the volunteers and schedules their individual routes each day. "Our seniors are in the greatest need to receive a hot meal and unable to attend the senior center, so they really depend on these meals and we work collaboratively to meet their daily needs", says Carolyn.

M4A interviewed several seniors who regularly visit the center to gain insight from them about why they joined the senior center and what keeps them coming back. They all expressed what a wonderful and caring staff they have at the center and the fellowship they have formed with each other. They enjoy the many fun activities available during the week. There is a lot of friendship, fellowship, fun, and conversation they really appreciate being a part of during their retirement years. Their senior center family is truly their second family and they help and depend on each other in their golden years.

M4A would like to recognize the Clanton Senior Center staff and the center members who contributed to this article: Dorothy Prather, Faye Cleckler, Carole Ward, Mae Brown, Bob Groves, Mr. and Mrs.Stokes, and Mr. and Mrs. Brown.
M4A has advisory councils for each of our five counties (Blount, Chilton, Shelby, St. Clair, Walker) and we are looking for new members to serve in this volunteer role. Each county advisory council meets four times throughout the year (January; April; July; October) to help M4A with it's advocacy and outreach efforts. If you are interested in this opportunity for 2017, please contact Robyn James at  
                                                             Our mailing address is:
                                             P.O. Drawer 618
                                      Saginaw, Alabama 35137

                                     Our physical address is:

                                         209 Cloverdale Circle
                                     Alabaster, Alabama  35007
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                      Contact M4A at: (866) 570-2998 or (205) 670-5770

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Middle Alabama Area Agency on Aging · 209 Cloverdale Circle · Alabaster, AL 35007 · USA

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