When the AIDS Epidemic began over 30 years ago, many people that were afflicted were in their 20's and 30's. Now these people are in their 50's and 60's. Because HIV accelerates the effects of aging, many issues such as heart disease, diabetes, kidney and liver disease are exacerbated. Much of the cognitive issues associated with age can be confused with AIDS related dementia.
As people with HIV age and begin to go into assisted living, adult foster care, or nursing care, it is very important that the caregivers have the knowledge to be able to treat the disease properly - without any stigma associated with it. That's what makes the Caregiver Training programs so important.
Although the extreme stigma of the 80's has decreased, there still is discrimination and fear among both caregivers and other clients of long-term care facilities that can make it very difficult for someone with HIV to live there. We continue to educate caregivers when we can and when we see issues arise.
With healthcare transformation imminemt in Oregon and the nation, we need to look at the most efficient way to meet our care needs. Many of our clients with higher acuity require caregivers - whether it be friends, relatives or professionals, they need to be aware of the unique nature of HIV and the specific care needs. As we work closely with our clients and their caregivers we provide them with tools to be able to live independently without having to utilize higher levels of care - only when necessary.
While we are in the beginning stages of this project, as we gain more support from key providers, we will create a new model that includes not only the client, but the caregivers as well.
This model will help meet the "Triple Aim" of the new healthcare systems.
Much of the food that we get for Esther's Pantry comes from the Oregon Food Bank. We obtain very high quality food weekly at a very reasonable price and are able to give our customers a wide variety of choices.
This past week, employees from Our House spent a Saturday at the food bank volunteering to do various jobs, but mostly to put together packets of food for the thousands of people that depend on the Oregon Food Bank to supplement their food budget.
It was a very satisfying day and is one of a series of days that Our House employees will be volunteering for this organization.
We all benefit - no matter how we give back!