By Lillie-Beth Brinkman, The Journal Record | July 11, 2019
Thanks to Concordia Life Care Community in Oklahoma City, older adults with low incomes beyond their retirement community provisions have access to health screenings and wellness clinics.
The Wellness on Wheels program started in 2013, and Concordia held its first clinic at the Rockwell Plaza YMCA and area churches after that. The next year, Concordia joined forces with the Oklahoma City Housing Authority to benefit its residents who had limited access to health care services due to insurance or other economic reasons.
Concordia’s partnership with OCHA began at Danforth Senior Center and has since expanded to three OCHA housing sites – Danforth, Candle Lake and Classen senior housing communities. Outreach nurses now conduct free wellness clinics for OCHA residents, providing blood pressure and blood sugar checks, consultation about medications and health education. They have completed more than 3,000 health screenings at these locations and have helped more than 150 unique residents with direct care worth about $360,000. The indirect benefits are worth much more.
“Concordia’s outreach nurses may provide spiritual counsel, a friendly smile, or listening ear as residents share about their life and health concerns, essentially making this outreach program a social ministry to encompass the realms of wellness – intellectual, emotional, social, vocational, spiritual, physical and environmental,” said Megan Carter, Concordia’s lifestyle and transportation director.
Concordia and the housing authority are members of LeadingAge Oklahoma, a network of not-for-profit organizations providing services for the aging population, so the partnership between the two for the Wellness on Wheels program was a natural fit.
In addition to Wellness on Wheels, Concordia:
Helps assemble and deliver Christmas goodie gift bags to nearly 300 low-income housing authority residents each year.
Hosts activities at Candle Lake and Danforth senior communities once a month. They offer bingo, trivia, crafts, photo booths and more.
Used a grant from the Lutheran Church Extension Fund to start a hygiene and wellness pantry at Classen Senior Center, offering toiletries and personal care items to residents in need. Residents receive Classen Bucks they can use at the pantry when they attend the monthly wellness clinics and other activities.
“What we do is really touching lives,” said Carter, after relaying a story about a resident who was deeply impacted by a handmade Christmas gift she received as part of another Concordia outreach program. “You do something for others, and you don’t realize how much of an impact it is.”