Residents' Rights Month is an annual event designated by the Consumer Voice and is celebrated in October to honor residents living in all long-term care facilities, including nursing homes, sub acute units, assisted living, board and care and retirement communities. It is a time for celebration and recognition offering an opportunity for every facility to focus on and celebrate awareness of dignity, respect and the value of each individual resident. The theme for Residents' Rights Month 2012 is, "My Voice, My Vote, My Right" with the goal of encouraging residents' right to vote and participation in the political process.
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2012 Residents' Rights Month Packet of Materials
Each year, the Consumer Voice develops a packet to help you plan your Residents’ Rights events. The packet is completely downloadable and features ready-to-use items, including promotional materials, activities to celebrate Residents' Rights Month, training tools and resources.
Introduction & Overview
The Resident's Voice Challenge 2012
The Resident’s Voice is an opportunity for residents from facilities across the country to share their ideas about this year’s Residents’ Rights Month theme with other residents, ombudsmen, families, community members and nursing home staff.
Residents are encouraged to think about and respond to the following questions:
What was the most memorable election you voted in and why?
What does it mean to be politically active?
Why is it important for you to have the right and ability to vote?
Residents can respond to the questions in writing (poems, stories), through art of any kind or with video’s/recordings. We will use one or two of the entries for the Residents’ Rights Month packet and community outreach kit. We encourage facilities/families to frame resident entries and hang them in residents’ rooms or other areas of the facility.
Biopoem - This format can be used to collect information from residents to develop a poem about their lives.
Resident Hero - This form can be used to collect information about residents to present in a faciltily open house or other activities. This information can be included with Resident's Voice entries posted within facilities or the community.
Click Here to see Resident's Voice Entries
Residents' Rights Week Resources
Resources for Voters with Disabilities
The American Bar Association's Accommodating Cognitive Impairments in Voting: Shaping Clinically and Ethically Sound Institutional and Public Policy, Reports, fact sheets, and additional resources
Voters with Disabilities, Information from Clark County, Nevada Election Department
Voting for People with Cognitive Impairments and/or Under Guardianship, Information from Minnesota Office of the Secretary of State
Voter Assistance Program, Brochure from Washington County, Oregon Elections
Residents' Rights Month Products Now For Sale
Residents' Rights Month posters, mugs and mouse pads are now for sale in the Consumer Voice online store.
Residents' Rights Month 2012 Events
The Southeast Idaho Council of Governments Area V Agency on Aging, Ombudsman Program, along with Bingham Memorial Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center is sponsoring a celebration in honor of National Residents' Rights Month on Friday, October 26, 2012 at 2:30pm. The celebration will include the introduction of rights for nursing home residents, residents' thoughts on participating in the political process, entertainment, and refreshments. The community is invited to join in this important celebration.
Ninth Annual Residents' Rights Rally: Monday, October 8, 2012, 11:00am on the Arkansas State Capitol Steps, Hosted by Arkansas Advocates for Nursing Home Residents www.annhr.org. More information in the AANHR October Newsletter
Residents' Rights Month 2012 News
Sherry Culp, Executive Director of the Nursing Home Ombudsman Agency of the Bluegrass in Kentucky, responded to questions about Resident’s Rights Month 2012 and residents’ voting rights in this article on KY Forward.
Iowa Long-Term Care Ombudsman Deanna Clingan-Fischer spoke to Radio Iowa about raising awareness for residents' rights and particularly, resident's right to vote.
The Pennsylvania Department of Aging issued a press release celebrating National Residents' Rights Month.
What are advocates in your community doing to celebrate Residents' Rights Month 2012?
In Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, the ombudsman program worked with the local electric company, PECO, to use the Crown Lights to promote Residents' Rights Month. The script will run on evenings throughout October.
Residents' Rights Month promotion in Philadelphia County.
In Pennsylvania, the PEER (Pennsylvania’s Empowered Expert Residents) Program spent one of their meetings celebrating Residents’ Rights Month. At the meeting, Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Aging, Brian Duke, held an open forum, fielding question from the PEERs. Photos of the event are available on PEERs of Schuylkill County’s Facebook page. Please “like” the page to show your support!
Rita Sparr, ombudsman for the Northeast Area on Aging in Norfolk, Nebraska wrote an article based on the Residents' Rights Month proclamation and the theme "My Voice, My Vote, My Right" for the local newspaper which will also appear in 58 small town newspapers in northeast Nebraska. She also played the Resident's Rights Bingo Game.
The Nursing Home Ombudsman Agency of the Bluegrass (NHOA) in Kentucky sent letters to every city and county government in their service area (17 counties) and asked them to proclaim October as Residents’ Rights Month. The City of Winchester, Kentucky has made a proclamation at the city commission meeting. The City Commission presented local ombudsman Gene Layne of NHOA with a written proclamation. Gene will share the proclamation with residents of the two long-term care facilities in Winchester. The City Council of Paris, Kentucky will also make a proclamation. Local ombudsman Mollie Wiseman will attend the city meeting and be presented with a proclamation that she will take to the residents of the one long-term care facility in Paris. NHOA asked every facility in its service (approximately 80 facilities) to allow them to in-service their staff on residents’ rights during Residents’ Rights Month; many accepted. NHOA also asked family and resident councils if they would like them to speak about rights at their meetings. In addition, NHOA offered to play Resident’s Rights Bingo with residents, families and facility staff. Plus, NHOA sent an article about Residents’ Rights Month to each of the local newspapers and many other local publications.
The Barren River Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program (BRLTCOP) recently hosted the 14th Annual Resident Council Conference on October 2, 2012 in honor of National Residents’ Rights Month. The BRLTCOP covers a ten county district in Kentucky and visits residents living in 31 facilities. The conference was attended by 70 residents and caregivers from 14 facilities. The morning kicked off with the presenting of the United States and Kentucky flags by representatives from the local American Legion and Marine Corp, followed by the singing of the National Anthem and Residents’ Rights Month Proclamation signing by Mayor Bruce Wilkerson. Residents then broke out into classrooms to participate in discussions regarding the importance of being allowed to vote and what it means to them. After the workshop, residents were taken to the dining room where they witnessed a transformation of the dining tables. Where there were once bare ordinary tables, now were beautifully decorated theme tables, created by local volunteer organizations and civic groups. Residents were served a gourmet lunch on china, using silver utensils and drinking out of fine glassware. After lunch, residents who entered the essay contest were recognized, award-winning essays were read and ribbons were given to the winners. The day wrapped up with door prizes for the residents. It was a wonderful day for the residents. There are always several who attend who have never attended before and they are so excited. The conference is a nice motivator to encourage residents to be active in their resident council and hopefully be elected by their peers to attend the conference the upcoming year. Also, three residents were interviewed by the local television station WBKO13, and it was aired on the 6:00pm news the night of the conference. Then, the local newspaper –The Daily News – ran a front page article the next day.
For Resident Rights Month 2012, the New Mexico Ombudsman Program is partnering with the state chapters of the League of Women Voters to assist residents who would like to vote, but may need to re-register or obtain an absentee ballot. A letter was sent to the New Mexico Health Care Association and Assisted Living Services Organization and all of New Mexico’s nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Included in the mailing was pertinent voting information such as dates, county clerk offices and local contacts which could assist residents and facilities, and The Consumer Voice’s “Tips for Encouraging Residents to Vote”. Volunteers will be following up with facility personnel responsible for facilitating resident participation in the election process by inquiring about plans to support these residents’ right to vote. Additionally, a Governor’s proclamation was obtained. This and a press release highlighting National Resident Rights Month was distributed to newspapers statewide and to volunteers, state employees, industry partners and legislators via our program newsletter. Public Service Announcements have been sent to radio stations across New Mexico, and a letter to the editor from the State Ombudsman will be distributed as a follow up to this media campaign. Lastly, volunteers and staff have offered and will conduct in-service trainings for facility staff.
In Dover, Delaware, a Residents' Rights Rally was held on October 16th. Over 100 residents attended and speakers included a State Senator who presented a proclamation from the governor declaring Residents' Rights Month in Delaware. Other speakers included a representative from the Board of Elections who explained the voting process and State Ombudsman Victor Orija.
Banner and decorations at the Residents' Rights Rally in Delaware on October 16th.
New Jersey’s Office of the Ombudsman for the Institutionalized Elderly will be facilitating Residents’ Rights celebrations in several New Jersey long-term care communities throughout the month. Events will consist of games and discussions regarding resident-focused topics like knowing their rights, elder abuse, advance care planning and healthy aging.
In Colorado, Long-Term Care Ombudsman Marilyn Richardson organized a Residents’ Rights Month celebration including seven nursing homes and five assisted living communities. The event had about 126 attendees and was featured on the evening news. Several county and city officials attended and heard residents’ voices.
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