This semester I interned at The Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio in Cincinnati. When the council became involved with the Ohio Home Care Waiver they needed to update their resource directory to provide a better service to all consumers. One of the ways they did this was by adding new categories and resources to include people of all ages who have disabilities. The council acquired packets of resources from The Department of Jobs and Family Services for seven counties: Butler, Hamilton, Clinton, Greene, Clermont, Warren and Montgomery. My project was to check these resources and see if they were currently in the directory, if not I researched the resource and added it to the directory. The information I compiled during my research included the contact information, a description of the resource and links to their programs. Another step was adding keywords that the consumer may use to search for the resource. For example if the resource was Hospice of Dayton, keywords would include: hospice, end of life, emotional support, symptom management, palliative care, hospice providers, hospice services and terminally ill. The goal was to add as many keywords that the consumer may use in a search engine to find a particular resource. Adding as many categories to the resource to be listed under was another step. There is a list of categories to choose from, the categories used for Hospice of Dayton were: care options, grief and loss support groups and hospice. After I completed adding ninety-four new resources I went back to the list of the approximately 2,000 already existing resources and began editing them to make sure they were inclusive to the population as a whole and listed under all applicable categories.
I had heard of many of the resources in the directory but there were more that I had not heard of. Learning about these resources gives me the opportunity to help others by sharing my knowledge of the resources with them or simply referring them to the directory. The resource directory is a valuable tool for consumers, care managers, case workers or anyone working with older adults or people with disabilities.
Having the opportunity to learn more about our state’s Department of Aging through the Ohio Internships in Aging Program has been invaluable. Ohioans are fortunate to have a Department of Aging that is so committed to the needs of our state’s older adults. It shows through the multiple programs and projects they are involved in. Since I have a special interest in intergenerational relationships I really enjoyed learning about the departments intergenerational programs Start Talking and Project More. Everyone I met through my internship experience showed enthusiasm and commitment to the projects and programs they were involved with. It has been a privilege to have firsthand exposure to the agency, their projects and the people dedicated to them.