'I know that I can make a change and improve their lives'

ROSEBURG, Ore. - Maryln Balaban has been a long-term care ombudsman in Douglas County for 12 years.

Ombudsmen help with outreach and support for citizens living in assisted living facilities and nursing homes.

"We're advocates for the residents," Balaban said. "That means that we visit places and talk to residents and check to see how their care is and ask the residents if they have any questions or concerns."

Judene Weymouth, who lives in a long-term care facility, said she is thankful for the support.

"If something happens that I can't work out, i always have a friend who can come and help me work it out," she said.

Weymouth is blind and faces unique struggles as a resident.

"Blind people use their hearing to get around, and I lost part of the hearing in my right ear, so I needed that hearing aid and Maryln helped me get it through the lions club," she said.

Ombudsmen volunteer their time and services.

The work is its own reward.

"I'm aware of the fact that I make a big difference for them when I take care of something that may be minor or major, but I know that I can make a change and improve their lives."