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LifeCare Alliance

LifeCare Alliance, DAV partnership provides veterans with in-home support

By | Featured News, Help-at-Home, Meals-on-Wheels

LifeCare Alliance is proud to be in partnership with Disabled American Veterans as they provide grants to help fund our Help-at-Home program.

Help-at-Home provides personal care assistants and direct support care workers who assist with daily living activities such as bathing, fall prevention, and basic household chores. Living independently and safely in the comfort of one’s own home is a great source of joy in an older adult’s life. Help-at-Home ensures ill, elderly, and disabled individuals have adequate, clean, and safe housing. Last year alone, the program served 102 veterans in the central Ohio area.

The Disabled Americans Veterans Charitable Service Trust (DAV) has been serving veterans in America since 1920, and even has its origins in Ohio! The nonprofit was first organized by Judge Robert Marx of Cincinnati as the Disabled American Veteran of the World War (DAVWW). After the devastation that took place during World War I, Judge Marx and other organizers noticed veterans were not getting adequate care. They started the DAVWW locally, and then formed the national organization in 1921 with the purpose of “building better lives for all of our Nation’s disabled veterans and their families.”

Almost one hundred years later, the DAV continues its mission of serving veterans in need of assistance.

As a result of support from the DAV Charitable Service Trust, Help-at-Home has been able to provide continuous, ongoing services to veterans needing assistance with personal care and daily living activities. If veterans are injured or have disabilities, it is crucial to provide this safety net service which allows them to remain in their homes. Homemakers also provide a critical daily visit to these individuals, which serves as a health and well-being check-in to ensure that all of the client’s needs are met. Typically, these homebound individuals would be socially isolated if not for these visits.

Many Help-at-Home clients also receive a daily nutritional meal and visit through Meals-on-Wheels, but need additional services like the ones provided by Help-at-Home in order to continue to live a vibrant life. For example, an individual who requires a walker for mobility can get around enough to live on their own, but lack the ability to clean their bathroom efficiently without the possibility of falling. A clean living environment is vital to keeping clients healthy and safe in their own home.

Without funding partners like the DAV, LifeCare Alliance would not be able to serve our veteran neighbors with responsive, compassionate, and quality care. Thank you to the DAV for your steadfast commitment to build and strengthen the lives of our nation’s veterans!

Judge Robert Marx

Garden Product from ScottsMiracle-Gro Helps LifeCare Alliance Nourish the Human Spirit

By | Featured News, LA Catering, Meals-on-Wheels, Volunteers

For over 150 years, The ScottsMiracle-Gro Company has been contributing to the success of central Ohio’s gardens.

Recently, LifeCare Alliance was awarded garden product from this stalwart of the community in the form of:

  • 75 bags of Garden Soil
  • 25 bags of Topsoil
  • 15 bags of Mulch
  • 35 bags of Plant Food
  • 20 bags of Hummus & Manure.

Using these products in gardens located at 1699 W. Mound St. and 670 Harmon Ave. has allowed LifeCare Alliance to cultivate a number of herbs and fresh vegetables for use in our flagship dining center, Carrie’s Café, and for the Agency’s social enterprise, L.A. Catering.

For the 2019 growing season, a volunteer tends the Mound Street and Harmon Avenue gardens. Mr. Lynch has volunteered with LifeCare Alliance’s Meals-on-Wheels program since November of 2013. Through this work, he visits elderly and homebound clients to deliver hot, nutritious meals, as well as to provide a basic wellness check. His contribution has truly helped Nourish the Human Spirit as he has devoted countless hours to the success of our gardens this growing season.

LifeCare Alliance Chef Rob Harrison and Catering Director David Imwalle estimate that the gardens have produced about 80 pounds of tomatoes thus far this season, and they are still yielding additional fruit. The Mound Street garden has also produced Brussels sprouts, carrots, scallions, and tarragon, while the Harmon Avenue garden has produced at least one pound each of parsley, cilantro, sage, basil, oregano, jalapenos, and banana peppers.

At Carrie’s Café, the herbs are used to season soups and daily entrees since fresh herbs are often more flavorful than dried. The tomatoes are added to the daily selection of salads. Clients enjoy knowing they are eating produce that was just harvested from the gardens on LifeCare Alliance property. It adds a lot to their experience of dining at Carrie’s. L.A. Catering features the tomatoes on platters of fresh vegetables, in salads, and for stir frys. All proceeds of both entities are funneled back into the Agency to continue serving clients with our core values of compassion, accountability, respect, excellence, and sustainability at the forefront.

The overall benefit of the garden project to the community has been the ability of LifeCare Alliance to continue providing healthy, delicious meals to its clients. The health and nutrition services that LifeCare Alliance provides directly contribute to an individual’s ability to remain safe and independent in the comfort of their own home. AARP estimates that Ohio taxpayers fund nursing home care at an average annual cost of $78,840 per person. By serving these same individuals at home for a fraction of that cost, LifeCare Alliance saves taxpayers money while serving the community. When individuals receive the appropriate nutrition levels and regular health assessments, potentially debilitating and costly health outcomes are prevented.

Garden product support from The ScottsMiracle-Gro Company allowed the Agency to continue to serve all clients in need, regardless of an individual’s ability to pay, while operating without a waiting list for services. By providing its own stream of revenue through social enterprise, LifeCare Alliance is securing sustainable funding for all of its programs for years to come. Thank you, ScottsMiracle-Gro!

Big Lots planning fiesta with Meals-on-Wheels clients

By | Featured News, Meals-on-Wheels

Have you ever wondered about the different ways you or your organization can support the Meals-on-Wheels program at LifeCare Alliance? Sure, there are the common ways of volunteering or sending in a donation, but could there be more?

Big Lots recently found an answer to that question. The well-known retailer already gives generously to LifeCare Alliance’s Meals-on-Wheels program through its charitable arm, the Big Lots Foundation, and has an active volunteer base with its employees. However, Big Lots recently came up with a new way to celebrate the clients on its corporate Meals-on-Wheels route: a Fall Fiesta!!

This October, Big Lots plans to serve tacos, margaritas, and cookies from L.A. Catering to their route clients and friends at a local senior living center. The fiesta will be filled with music, games, and possibly salsa lessons!

Why are we excited about this? It is because acts of kindness like the Fall Fiesta truly mean the world to our clients. Many of LifeCare Alliance’s Meals-on-Wheels recipients are homebound, isolated, have a medical condition, and/or live on an annual income of less than $20,000. In addition, older adults and medically challenged individuals are at a high risk of health and nutritional problems due to physical, mobility, medical, and support system limitations.

Fortunately, there are supporters like Big Lots who go above and beyond to show clients of Meals-on-Wheels and other LifeCare Alliance programs that they care. Through these efforts, LifeCare Alliance is able to help older adult clients stay safe, independent, and engage more with life.

Learn More

Find out more about the Big Lots Foundation here: https://www.biglots.com/corporate/community.

Want to know more about how you can support LifeCare Alliance’s Meals-on-Wheels programs? Click here or call 614-278-3130.

Need to book catering for your wedding or next corporate or social event? Click here or call 614-358-LALA.

“According to the 2015 Meals on Wheels America survey 'More Than A Meal,' 87% of seniors needing home-delivered meals are physically unable to shop for their groceries. It is often the case that, besides a caregiver, the Meals-on-Wheels deliverer is the only person that a client might interact with every day of the week.”

Camper holds a drawing labeled Camp Hamwi

Camp supporters help create lasting lessons, memories for children with diabetes

By | Central Ohio Diabetes Association, Featured News

Have you ever been to sleepaway camp? What was it like learning to canoe for the first time or being part of a team?

Kids with diabetes don’t always get to have these types of experiences as a result of the challenges of their illness. Rising or falling blood sugars as well as other diabetes-related complications can keep kids from exploring all that an overnight camp may have to offer. Their disease might even make them stand out among their peers, ultimately resulting in isolation or embarrassment.

The Central Ohio Diabetes Association (CODA) has been operating camps designed specifically for children with diabetes since 1968. More than 7,500 youths have attended CODA’s summer camp, Camp Hamwi (named for Dr. George Hamwi, one of the co-founders of CODA). In fact, 2019 marks the 52nd year of consecutive camp offerings for children with diabetes.

At Camp Hamwi, campers ages 7-17 learn the importance of good diabetes control in their childhood and for a lifetime. In addition to Camp Hamwi, CODA offers Stepping Stones, a transitional day camp with an overnight outing for children ages 8-12, and Kids Camp, a day camp for children ages 3-7. A special program is offered for Counselors-In-Training, ages 17 & 18, with enrollment limited to individuals entering their senior year of high school who are looking for an opportunity to develop their leadership potential.

The 2019 camp season welcomed 10 campers to Kids Camp, 15 to Stepping Stones, and 176 to Camp Hamwi. These campers represented 36 Ohio counties with an additional camper coming from Illinois and two from West Virginia. CODA was founded in 1964, and merged with LifeCare Alliance in 2017. All three camps offer education opportunities for parents and families. Kids Camp and Stepping Stones offer group counseling and support services to parents who are anxious about leaving their children on their own – perhaps for the first time since their child’s diabetes was diagnosed.

These camp experiences would not be possible without the generous support of CODA funders. The Franklin County Community Partnership Grant Program has supported CODA camps since 2013. The Community Partnership Program is a competitive grant process whereby the Franklin County Board of Commissioners support local community-based organizations that serve county residents. As a direct result of this funding, campers learn to develop a personal diabetes management plan. The plan includes:

  1. A healthy meal plan.
  2. Regular physical exercise.
  3. Regular checks of blood glucose levels.
  4. Taking diabetes medications as prescribed.

The camp programming also helps children and parents learn about each element of the plan and to start practicing such positive behaviors as goal setting, self-monitoring, positive reinforcement, and shared responsibility for diabetes management. Eighty-six campers came from Franklin County this summer.

Similarly, the Ingram-White Castle Foundation has been supporting LifeCare Alliance and CODA camps for many years. The Foundation especially supports programs that address a critical human service need. Without this key support, CODA would not be able to provide scholarships for the nearly 200 campers that attend each summer. While the camp programs are designed primarily to promote the health of children with diabetes throughout their lifetime and to prevent the development of diabetes complications, they also teach self-care skills and help the participants develop confidence through appropriate medically supervised recreational activities. Most participants cite making new acquaintances with peers with whom they can share experiences and overcome feelings of isolation, fear, and anger as a valuable tool in helping them better manage their disease. Learning to manage diabetes helps ultimately prepare the campers for success in all aspects of life like school and work, which links to another area of emphasis for the Ingram-White Castle Foundation’s funding program.

Another funder without which CODA camps would not be possible is the New Venture Fund, which assists with CODA’s long-standing goal that no child with diabetes be turned away from having a camp experience because of their family’s economic situation.

For children who develop diabetes at a young age, it is crucial that they learn self-care skills such as blood sugar testing, insulin injections and the importance of adhering to diet and exercise regimens. Camp Hamwi offers diverse recreational programs for any skill level. The camp provides opportunities to develop team spirit and good sportsmanship in individual and group activities. Each camper is encouraged to try new activities and explore their individual interests.  It is important that campers explore “new territory” by focusing more upon their potential than on imagined limitations imposed by diabetes. There are supervised opportunities for horseback riding, archery, volleyball, soccer, basketball, canoeing, swimming, rappelling, campfires, and arts and crafts. This funding is crucial in allowing diabetic kids to achieve their full potential as they learn how to manage their illness.

All of CODA’s camps are accredited by the American Camp Association (ACA). This accreditation means that the camp maintains the highest professional standards in instruction, safety, and welfare for all campers. To maintain accreditation, the camp must meet or exceed standards in more than 300 areas. In recent years, the camping program has adapted to meet the needs of both campers and staff members who use insulin pumps. As the devices have increased in popularity and usage, approximately half of the campers and staff benefit from case-specific educational programs.

The Harry C. Moores Foundation, a longtime CODA camp funder, is located in Columbus, Ohio, and supports camps in order to make an impact in child welfare throughout the state. Many campers come from rural counties in Ohio where they might be the only student at their school with diabetes. Meeting other kids that also need to use an insulin pump or give themselves injections can be life-changing for those who are isolated by their condition. One camper, Katie, remarked about this topic, “You don’t have to think about having diabetes; it’s just the norm. You don’t have to apologize for being diabetic because they know what it’s like.” Helping kids ages 3-17 attend camp at little-to-no cost to their families is invaluable.

After camp ends, like it did this year on Aug. 3, staff complete a thorough outcome evaluation with campers and families to determine program and education components for the next year. Continuous quality improvement allows the program to better meet expressed education needs and adapt to requests among the participants. The camp education program has three focus areas: hypoglycemia awareness and treatment, bullying, and carb counting.

The CVS Health Foundation, another camp funder, is a great example of a corporate philanthropy program that helps campers take advantage of the camp curriculum to help better manage their disease. The Diabetes Camp Education Curriculum addresses every aspect of diabetes care including medical and psychosocial concerns.  There are three levels of curriculum: Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. Daily education sessions are led by the medical staff of physicians, nurses, and dietitians who focus on teaching about the nature of diabetes and methods of managing it. The complexity of issues related to diabetes dictate a relatively high ratio of medical staff to campers (no less than one health professional to eight campers). This ratio is significantly higher than many diabetes camps. The medical coverage at Camp Hamwi ensures that any medical issues that arise will be addressed by qualified medical staff rather than by counselors or non-medical personnel.

A licensed social worker conducts psychosocial programs designed to increase self-esteem and feelings of empowerment. These learning opportunities promote attitudes of independence and self-reliance crucial to the tight control of diabetes that leads to the reduction of death and disability due to diabetes or its complications.  These programs reinforce the work of the medical staff by enhancing commitment to systematic self-care and the level of glycemic control that leads to a full and healthy (near normal) lifestyle.

Thank you so much to all of our funders for making CODA camps so successful in 2019!

Camp Hamwi campers thanking longtime CODA funder, the Harry C. Moores Foundation.

CODA Director Cathy Paessun, left, and Dayna McCrary, community partnerships coordinator for the Franklin County Board of Commissioners, pose during the 2019 Red Carpet Day at Camp Hamwi after a tour of the grounds specifically designed for grantors and funders.

ADAMH Mini-Grant Program Supports Carrie’s Cafe

By | Carrie's Cafe, Featured News
LifeCare Alliance is excited to announce a $1,500 mini-grant from the Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Board of Franklin County. This grant supports “Live Well with Carrie’s,” an initiative that provides Carrie’s Cafe, our signature dining center, with special events and enriching programming.

Special events are a key component of LifeCare Alliance’s congregate dining center program, which serves older adults and individuals living with a medical challenge and/or disability at 43 locations across central Ohio. Meal sites address clients’ nutritional, health-related, mental, and psychological needs holistically. They provide a nutritious meal, socialization, enriching programming, health services, and educational opportunities under one roof. Culturally diverse offerings are available at 11 Asian and Somali restaurants.

LifeCare Alliance is the largest provider of senior meals through community dining centers in both central Ohio and the state, according to the Ohio Department of Aging. Dining centers promote successful aging among central Ohioans, which is defined as the avoidance of disease and disability, maintenance of high cognitive and physical functioning, and engagement with life. In 2018, the congregate dining program served 140,436 meals to 4,496 clients. Seventy-eight percent (78%) of senior dining center clients are age 65 or older, 90% have an annual income of less than $20,000, 64% are female, and 55% are minority. Read More

Nominate a Volunteer for the LifeCare Alliance Spirit Awards!

By | Carrie's Cafe, Central Ohio Diabetes Association, Columbus Cancer Clinic, Events, Featured News, Help-at-Home, Meals-on-Wheels, POHC, Volunteers, Wellness
Thank you for nominating an outstanding volunteer for the Spirit Awards! Volunteers are essential to the success of LifeCare Alliance in our community, so it is important to recognize the wonderful work they do.
Please use the form below to submit your nomination. We want to know the LifeCare Alliance program that benefits from your nominee’s work, as well as the reasons your nominee stands out from all the rest.
Please visit LifeCare Alliance’s website and social media for information about volunteer recognition events as details are finalized. If you are interested in attending, please be sure to indicate so on the form below. Thank you!
Home repair Client

LifeCare Alliance, partners help secure Army widow’s home

By | Featured News, Home Repairs

LifeCare Alliance, in partnership with Meals on Wheels America and The Home Depot Foundation, helped provide basic but vital safety improvements at an Army widow’s home.

When 75-year-old Isabelle contacted LifeCare Alliance for home repairs, she was grateful to learn of the help she could receive through the Helping Hometown Heroes program. Most of the repairs to Isabelle’s home were to keep her safe and secure in her own home.  The improvements included the installation of motion-activated outdoor lighting, a small wheelchair ramp, a new security door, a window with locking device, and drywall in her bedroom.

“I really appreciate the motion lamp. When I come home at night, the light turns on,” Isabelle said, adding that she feels safer with the new wheelchair ramp and a window that locks. “You guys have helped me tremendously, and I appreciate it,” she said.

Isabelle said the improvements have allowed her to stay safe and independent in her home, where she wants to be. The repairs, unfortunately, had been more than she could afford.

Her husband, served in the Army during the 1960s and ’70s.

The Helping Hometown Heroes program helps veterans and spouses improve their homes to address mobility challenges and avoid unnecessary injuries, hospitalization and homelessness. The Home Depot Foundation has invested more than $200 million in veteran-related projects since 2011.

“I would like to thank the Home Depot Foundation and LifeCare Alliance for all they do for our veterans,” Isabelle said.

Man cooling down in the water

What You Should Know About Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke

By | Featured News, Wellness

LifeCare Alliance has a team of registered nurses and registered dietitians on staff, providing wellness services to the central Ohio community. 

During the summer, seniors are among the most vulnerable populations when it comes to heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Our Columbus Foundation fellow, Radhika Pandit, explains the two conditions and how LifeCare Alliance can be of service.

Heat Exhaustion vs. Heat Stroke

Radhika PanditThere are two main types of heat-related illnesses:

  • Heat exhaustion occurs when the body overheats and becomes dehydrated. Symptoms include profuse sweating, dizziness, and nausea.
  • Heat stroke results from untreated heat exhaustion that has reached a critical stage. Symptoms become more severe and one may stop sweating completely due to extreme dehydration.

If you suspect someone is experiencing heat exhaustion or heat stroke, call 911 immediately.

Who is at a Higher Risk for Heat-Related Illnesses?

Older adults are at higher risk because they commonly take medications or have medical conditions that affect their body’s ability to regulate heat.

“Seniors need to be more mindful of their environment and take more preventative measures,” said LifeCare Alliance nurse Peggy Parisot, MSN, RN.

How Can I Prevent Heat-Related Illnesses?

In order to prevent heat-related illnesses, follow these tips from Nurse Peggy!

  • Avoid exposure to outdoor heat during the hottest periods of the day, generally 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Stay well-hydrated on hot days.
  • Wear light, layered clothing.
  • Avoid consuming alcohol because it causes rapid dehydration.
  • Wear a hat and sunscreen in the sun.
  • Look out for others and notice if they’re expressing symptoms of heat exhaustion.

Beat the Heat Fan Campaign

Living in a house without air conditioning can leave you vulnerable to heat exhaustion or heat stroke during the hot summer months.

If you are in need of a fan to cool down your house, join us during a fan distribution day. Fans are distributed at LifeCare Alliance’s Harmon Avenue facility (670 Harmon Ave). Call the Fan Hotline at 614-437-2870 for information on the next distribution event!

Learn more

Click here to visit the Wellness Department page and get information on available services and wellness center locations.

Diabetes testing tools

Understanding the Basics of Diabetes

By | Central Ohio Diabetes Association, Featured News

LifeCare Alliance offers diabetes management education through its wellness program and the Central Ohio Diabetes Association. We can assist with blood sugar testing, corporate events, meal planning, and much more.

When it comes to understanding diabetes, there are some basics that should be covered. Our Columbus Foundation fellow, Radhika Pandit, explains what diabetes is and some ways patients can live their best life with it.

What is Diabetes?

Radhika PanditDiabetes is a chronic disease that affects the insulin produced by your pancreas. Insulin is a hormone that is extremely important in maintaining proper blood glucose (sugar) levels. Insulin is released into the bloodstream following a meal to stimulate the uptake of the glucose in your meal into the cells to be utilized for energy. If this hormone is not working properly, glucose is trapped in the bloodstream, blood sugar levels spike, and cells are deprived of energy.

What is the Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2?

There are two types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2.

  • Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease where the body attacks and destroys its own insulin-producing pancreatic cells. Patients require insulin therapy.
  • Type 2 diabetes results when the body starts to become resistant to the effects of insulin. Type 2 tends to present later in life, although it is becoming increasingly common for children to present with type 2 diabetes. Type 2 in children can be influenced by family history, genetics, eating habits, physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight.

Diabetes can lead to a range of complications if not properly managed. These include peripheral nerve damage (diabetic neuropathy), eye disease (glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy), and kidney failure.

How Can I Manage Type 2 Diabetes?

In order to manage your type 2 diabetes, make sure to follow these 5 tips!

  • Transition to a more plant-based diet: Incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your meals and limit processed foods and sugary drinks
  • Exercise regularly: At least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week
  • Take your diabetes medication as directed by your physician
  • Monitor your blood glucose levels regularly
  • Schedule regular doctor’s visits

Learn more

Click here to visit the Central Ohio Diabetes Association page and get information on diabetes, available services, and upcoming events.