|Senior Advocate Rickard Jewkes talks about his many roles at Active Re-Entry|
"Richard Jewkes is a wealth of knowledge and a wealth of programs," says Nancy Bentley, director of Active Re-Entry. Jewkes heads up two very valuable programs through the Active Re-Entry Program, the Senior Advocates and the Ombudsman Program.
As a senior advocate Jewkes helps assist seniors with a variety of questions, everything from their medicaid and medicare programs to railroad pensions and retirement. "If I don't have the answer I will research the question and come up with answers for them," he said Tuesday as he explained the Senior Advocate Program. As an advocate Jewkes also works with Larry Heaton at Adult Protective Services for Carbon and Emery counties. Part of their job is to visit all the senior centers in the two counties and present program to the seniors. Topics consist of themes of exploitation fraud, schemes and scams against seniors. "We help make the seniors aware of what's going on and keep them abreast of new developments," he explained. Part of the presentations also deal with making sure that seniors are aware that all contractors need to be bonded and licensed. Questions around the construction of roofing, electrical, plumbing and contracted labor are all answered by Jewkes, as it related to scams and schemes targeted at the senior population.
Jewkes also serves as the Carbon and Emery county Ombudsman. Sanctioned by the Older American's act back in the 1960's the Ombudsman program has authority under federal and state laws to receive, investigate and resolve problems by or on behalf of residents in nursing homes, residential care homes, or any living arrangement in the community through which room and personal care services are provided for elderly residents.
Jewkes acts as a mediator assisting in the resolution of problems around nursing homes or housing.
"They often turn to me for help when there are problems with personnel, family or financial, and I work with both sides to come up with answers."
Jewkes spent 32 years as a state employee with the Utah transportation division.
"I was always interested in advocacy and disability committees and most recently served on the governor's committee for the blind"
He has been part of the Active Re-Entry team for five years and he and his wife, Myrna, have raised their four children in Carbon county. Legally blind for the past 30 years, Jewkes has been totally blind for the past 10 or 15 years. He works with a number of mechanical devices and recorders to make his job as an advocate easier. "This voicemate has 200 numbers programed in it and also all my appointments," he explained, laughing that it even beeps him to remind him of upcoming meetings.
The Jewkes are invited to a lot of classes and schools to talk about blindness and people with disabilities. "A good time to work with people is to teach them as children about techniques people with disabilities must use to help keep people independent.
"I enjoy what I do and stay very active in politics, my church and the community," said Jewkes, summing up the situation.