Dear AARP Oklahoma family,
I pray you and your loved ones are safe and healthy as we adjust to a “new normal” with coronavirus and COVID-19. With your help, AARP OK continues to advocate for the 50-plus in our state. How we carry out our work has changed dramatically over the last month, but our fundamental mission remains the same. We aim to be a wise friend and fierce defender, especially during uncertain times. With your help, we are committed to continuing to deliver on AARP’s priorities.
Fighting for You
· AARP OK successfully advocated for an executive order to remove barriers for physicians and nurses to be able to provide care during the pandemic.
· AARP OK intervened in Oklahoma Gas & Electric’s (OG&E) $810 million grid purchase plan to protect against unnecessary rate increases. Additionally, we defeated a legislative proposal that would have allowed electric utility companies to more easily raise your rates.
· AARP OK successfully advocated to ensure funding for long-term services and supports (LTSS), home- and community-based services (HCBS) and senior nutrition programs would not be cut despite Oklahoma’s $416 million revenue failure this fiscal year.
· AARP OK sent letters to Gov. Kevin Stitt and State Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax, urging the state to protect voter and poll worker safety in this election cycle.
· AARP OK provided comments to the Oklahoma Health Care Authority outlining concerns regarding capped funding for Medicaid programs during the coronavirus pandemic.
· AARP OK met virtually with Oklahoma State Department of Health officials to advocate for more stringent guidelines for long-term care facility residents and their families. These efforts resulted in a new “strike force” to contain the spread of coronavirus and educate nursing home providers about best practices for infection control and use of personal protective equipment.
Providing Trusted Information
· AARP OK focused communications efforts on coronavirus information and tips about how to avoid the spread of the virus. AARP communication platforms include e-blasts, Facebook and Twitter accounts, our website, as well as in national AARP publications.
· Social media activity included sharing local health and food resources, grocery shopping hours for seniors, fraud alerts from Okla. Attorney General Mike Hunter, weekly coronavirus Q&A columns with Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation’s Dr. Stephen Prescott, as well as timely updates regarding economic impact payments, the 2020 Census and coronavirus scams. AARP OK solicited feedback via social media from individuals dealing with restricted visitation in long-term care facilities. We also produced a social media video promoting the aarp.org/coronavirus website.
· Over seven weeks, AARP OK has or will host three statewide telephone town halls focused on coronavirus, stimulus checks and scams. Guests include Okla. Attorney General Mike Hunter, Elaine Dodd with the Oklahoma Bankers Association, Sen. James Lankford, Dr. Stephen Prescott and U.S. Attorney Trent Shores. These popular telephone town halls complement national, weekly telephone town halls discussing coronavirus-related topics.
· AARP OK continues to participate in numerous television, print, and radio interviews focused on economic impact payments, coronavirus scams, COVID-19 in nursing homes and promotion of AARP’s coronavirus education resources.
Connecting with our Communities
· AARP OK surveyed volunteers and members to check in on assistance and resources needed (300 responses).
· AARP OK conducted wellness checks on our volunteers, delivered lunch to a rural healthcare clinic, shared employer caregiving resources with businesses through the Tulsa Regional Chamber and volunteered with Meals on Wheels. We also provided resources and identified the needs of family caregivers during a virtual meeting with the Oklahoma Caregiver Coalition.
· AARP OK hosted a volunteer fraud fighter virtual training to share updates on coronavirus and Census scams, as well as new virtual volunteer training opportunities through the Fraud Watch Network.
With your help and support, we will continue to positively impact our communities. April 19 marked the 25th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, and, like you, I reflect on the event that forever changed our state. The “Oklahoma Standard” was born out of the overwhelming community response to this tragic event. As we work through this unprecedented pandemic together, I assure you that we will continue to uphold the Oklahoma Standard and its core values of service, honor and kindness.
Finally, please join us as we celebrate you during National Volunteer Week. You can visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AARPOK to watch a video that captures the critical work AARP Oklahoma volunteers do in our state. As Lady Bird Johnson once said, “Where flowers bloom, so does hope.”
Sean Voskuhl, AARP Oklahoma State Director
How AARP Oklahoma is fighting for you, providing trusted information and connecting with our communities during the coronavirus pandemic
Dear AARP Oklahoma family,