News/Events

Build healthy meals using MyPlate guidelines

BY KAITLYN WEBB, MS, RDN  For many of us, diet and nutrition can be confusing. Add in a chronic condition like high blood pressure or diabetes, common conditions for many older adults, and you may be completely lost on what to eat and drink. You may be an older adult who has gotten several different recommendations from health care professionals, television or internet celebrities and family members on which diet is the best, which will improve your labs, which will make you feel better, etc. It can be confusing.

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Retired teacher remains committed to annual cause

For more than three and one-half decades, Freda Ayers has made participation in the Mountain Empire Older Citizens Walkathon an annual priority. Ayers, 70, has been a Walkathon participant since 1983, raising money for the Emergency Fuel Fund for the Elderly. That program annually helps more than 1,000 older residents in the region with winter heating costs. A resident of Ewing in Lee County, Ayers stayed committed to the cause this year even though the COVID-19 pandemic altered the traditional format.

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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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