Celebrating voting rights at the Willows

BLACKFOOT — October is recognized as "National Long-Term Care Residents' Rights Month." To celebrate, representatives from the Area Agency on Aging spoke with about 25 residents at the Willows on Tuesday.
The theme of this year's celebration is "My Voice, My Vote, My Right" with the goal of educating the community about residents' rights, including the right to vote and participate in the political process.
Ombudsman Liz Delaney and assistant ombudsman Amy Montoya spoke with the residents. An ombudsman is a resident advocate for the elderly. This area agency services 45 long term care facilities in a seven-county service area. Twelve are nursing homes; 33 are assisted living facilities.
The rights of residents in long-term care include the right of dignity and respect, privacy and confidentiality, choice, the right be be informed and participate in his/her own care, said Delaney. Other rights include the right to participate in his/her own cure, to choose his/her visitor(s) and the right to vote.
"How many of you have already voted?" Delaney asked. A few residents raised their hands.
"Bingham County election officials have been here to see everyone who wants to vote has that opportunity," she said.
The Willows activity director Cassie Wellard said she would ask the county's election officers to return to insure all residents who want to vote has the opportunity.
An ombudsman will meet with residents of the Bingham Memorial Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center at 2:30 p.m. on Friday.
To contact the local ombudsman program, call the Area Agency on aging at 233-4032, ext. 35 or 13.