News/Events

Retiring foster grandparent: ‘I loved every minute of it’

Ruth Gibson first heard about MEOC’s Foster Grandparent Program more than two decades ago from a woman with whom she attended church. “I think you’d enjoy it,” Gibson recalls the woman telling her. It sounded like she might. So she gave MEOC a call to learn more about the program. Thus began Gibson’s 20 years of volunteer service as a foster grandparent. And she has enjoyed it indeed.

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LTC Medicaid: Don’t assume you aren’t eligible

Even if your income exceeds the limit to qualify for regular Virginia Medicaid, you still might be eligible for Medicaid that covers long-term care in your home. Long-term care Medicaid covers care received in a nursing facility or in a community setting such as your home or Mountain Empire Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE). You must be determined to need this type of care by a pre-admission screening team made up of a health department nurse and a department of social services social worker. Hospital social workers can also screen if you are hospitalized in Virginia.

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Faith group repairs homes of elderly in need

Homes of about a dozen MEOC clients received much-needed repairs and renovations in late June as part of a local faith group’s mission project. Wise Baptist Church joined with the Nickelsville-based Southwest Virginia Partnership to build eight wheelchair ramps, replace two roofs, clean gutters, paint exteriors and complete various handyman projects for the clients.

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MEOC’s 44th Annual Walkathon going virtual

Mountain Empire Older Citizens’ (MEOC) 44th Annual Walkathon, which raises money for its Emergency Fuel Fund for the Elderly, will be a little different this year. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event will be virtual. The Walkathon is the Emergency Fuel Fund’s major fundraiser. The program assists older people throughout Lee, Wise and Scott counties and the City of Norton with winter heating costs. Last winter, 1,056 older friends and neighbors were assisted with heating-related emergencies at a cost of over $227,000. This year’s Walkathon goal is $165,000.

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MLCC awarded $500 grant

The Mountain Laurel Cancer Support and Resource Center (MLCC) has been awarded a $500 hunger and poverty grant by the United Methodist Appalachian Ministry Network (UMAMN). The money will provide prescribed liquid nutrition to an additional 21 cancer patients served by MLCC. Cancer patients have faced isolation and numerous unknowns during the pandemic.

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Program offers access to free, low-cost medication

If you or someone you know is having a difficult time purchasing prescription medications, Pharmacy Connect of Southwest Virginia may be able to help. The program provides free or low-cost prescription medications to those who meet eligibility guidelines in Lee, Wise, Scott, Dickenson, Buchanan, Tazewell and Russell counties and the City of Norton. Medication assistance caseworkers can help people of all ages by accessing Indigent Patient Assistance Programs of over 250 national pharmaceutical companies.

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Senior Cool Care begins June 1

Older persons in need of emergency cooling assistance this summer may find it through Mountain Empire Older Citizens’ Senior Cool Care program. The program, which runs from June 1 to Sept. 30, distributes a limited number of fans or air conditioners to older individuals with cooling needs on a first-come, first-served basis.

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