PEER Day celebrates assisted living resident-advocates

PEERs, Pennsylvania’s Empowered Expert Residents, from various nursing and personal care homes throughout Lycoming and Clinton counties gathered at the Clinton County Community Center for PEER Day on July 28.

“Many PEERs have enjoyed helping people throughout their lives and being a PEER has given them the chance to continue helping others. They welcome new residents as they move into their new homes. PEERs connect other residents to staff that can assist them with their concerns, and they support the PEER program statewide by participating in surveys giving insight into their daily lives,” said Traci Foster, STEP’s long term care ombudsman.

Founded in 2002, and administered in Lycoming and Clinton counties by STEP since 2006, the PEER program trains nursing/personal care home residents to advocate for themselves to improve the quality of their own lives.

Each PEER group consists of individuals who have completed a five-week training course, during which residents learn about the laws governing nursing homes and assisted living residences, how to present their issues to the administration of a facility, the function of the ombudsman and more. One Outstanding PEER was nominated by each group and recognized with an award. Paula Hough, of the Bucktail Medical Center, was additionally recognized as the overall Outstanding PEER for Lycoming and Clinton counties.

Entertainment at the event was provided by Steve Sutherlan; lunch was served from the 4 C’s Cafe, also located in the Clinton County Community Center.

“Becoming a PEER has enriched my life in that I am able to help other residents and guide them to who they need to go to, to get the assistance they need to resolve issues they have. Being a part of PEER Day is great because I get to see all of the PEERs and see who gets awards and PEER of the year, and the accomplishments they have made,” said Janet Herman, a PEER at The Haven facility.

For more information about the PEER program, call Foster at 570-601-9557. This program is administered by the STEP Office of Aging, part of the Independent Living Pathway to Success.