After welcoming several new members to the group, announcements and Tips & Tricks were given by Elva (mostly the same as can be viewed on the recap of the Afternoon 2/13/17 meeting below so I won't repeat here), the group discussed "coping with difficult people" in our lives.
Elva challenged the group to share a time when someone might have called "them" difficult. A couple of members shared a time when they were called bossy or worse and we guessed what might have motivated that.
We talked about difficult bosses, employees, co-workers, family members, neighbors, church or other organization members, and customer service representatives.
Boss - bully, micromanager, doesn't keep confidences, criticizes in front of other, doesn't encourage or accept constructive suggestions.
Employee/co-worker - brown noser, back stabber, lazy, negative attitude, complainer, wastes too much time, doesn't pull their share of the load.
Family member - borrows money; expects more than you can or are willing to give of time, resources, attention; highly critical of everything you do (your children, home, attitude, religion or lack thereof).
Neighbor - Noise; pets/children run wild; car parking or reckless driving; litter; fence; druggie; city code enforcement - lawns, repairs, RV or boat parking; rude and/or dangerous.
Member of organization or church where you belong - "belief police" or "know-it-all. So sure (s)he is right on everything, including subjective opinions such as whether a movie was good or bad, best eating plan, correct English usage, political persuasion, religious beliefs.
Customer service - rude person who obviously doesn't give a flip about your complaint; restaurant wait staff or store clerk who calls anyone with gray hair or is estimated to be 50+ "sweetie" or "hon" (condescending, name you would call a small child but shouldn't call an older person, even if no ill intent is intended).
We only had an hour to talk and share so we ran out of time before we had an much time to discuss "solutions." We did agree that most of the time people who annoy/offend us are not intentionally doing it. Mostly, it's a misunderstanding and the offender is doing exactly what feels right to them under the circumstances. Therefore, it's a good thing to exercise patience and empathy to understand the situation from the other person's viewpoint.
Sometimes the best way "out" is to use humor to deflect an angry confrontation; sometimes it's good to apologize for our part in any misunderstanding; and sometimes a good way to prevent future problems is to make friendly overtures to the person BEFORE a conflict arises (e.g., welcome a new neighbor to your street, and chat with them out in the yard getting to know them on a personal level before you must address an "issue" with them).
Elva made the following announcements:
As Ambassadors who have been attending meetings for a while are aware, Elva is a proponent of telemedicine (where appropriate) and is advocating to CMS (Centers for Medicaid & Medicare) to reimburse doctors for Medicare visits which are done via telemedicine (video conference). CMS already reimburses doctors for Medicaid telemedicine visits which are done in school nurses' offices. This is a huge benefit to parents (who don't have to take off work, driving to school when transportation is sometimes a problem, take the child to the doctor and take him/her back) and to school districts (because it cuts down on absenteeism). Currently, CMS approves reimbursement for Medicare visits only in rural areas under specific conditions.
Dr. Hall-Barrow also talked about medication compliance. She said that adolescents who receive an organ transplant are notorious for not taking their medications as prescribed which can be catastrophic. So the Children's Health compounding pharmacist embeds a "Proteus sensor" into each pill and when the adolescent takes the first pill, the nurse receives a ping on her smartphone and if the child is supposed to take a second pill, but doesn't take it, the nurse can immediately pick up the phone and remind the child to take that second pill. Etc. Compliance greatly improves with this.
[Note: one of our Ambassadors asked Elva after the 2/13 meeting for a suggestion for medication reminders because this member said they were forgetting to take their medication at the proper time. Proteus is not the solution for this, but Elva promised to refresh her research to see what kind of tools are on the market today for medication reminders (this member does not use a smartphone, so apps are not the answer). If you have a suggestion that works for you, please email Elva.
2. Elva Speaking. Elva's upcoming speaking gigs where she will talk about Ambassadors:
2/24 Tarrant County College is hosting a regional conference of the "Association of Nutritionists & Foodservice Professionals." Their theme this year is "Keeping Our Elderly Population at Home: Out of Hospitals and Out of Nursing Homes." They offered Elva $100 to speak for 30 minutes and Elva will use the $100 to pay for a vendor table at the City of Arlington "2017 Aging Well Expo" on 3/30/17 described below.
3/9 and 3/17. Two different UTA professors/instructors in the School of Social Work asked Elva to speak to their "Aging in America" class.
3/14 Horizon Unitarian Universalist Church in Carrollton, asked Elva back to speak to another group about end-of-life options (documentation plus how to keep from getting taken to the cleaners on funeral costs).
3. Elva's New Year's Resolution Update. At the January Ambassadors' meeting, Elva said that her one resolution for this year was to make 2 new friends who are at least 10 years younger. Elva is 71 years old. Note, this is not to be taken that Elva thinks "old=bad and young=bad." Far from it, but Elva has been paying attention to advice that we should all have friends in various age brackets because we don't want to be age 81 or 91 and our friends have mostly died off, and we're left with no friends. At the January meeting of the Arlington on Tap meeting, I met a woman who is a firefighter and who is married to a firefighter. We were chitchatting before the meeting started and I told her about my resolution and she immediately said, "Oh, I'll be your friend. I actually need more female friends." A week later, she texted me and asked me if I'd like to attend a "pole dancing" thing with her. After I stopped laughing, I texted her back that sometimes I can't even open a pickle jar so I'm quite sure that I'm not strong enough to do any pole dancing. Anyway, she is a very nice woman and she then invited me to go on a Top O' the Hill" tour (not really interested in doing this but several Ambassadors told me later that it's worth it, so I will go with her). And she and I sat together again at the 2/15 Arlington on Tap meeting and met a third friend (nurse anesthetist at Methodist Hospital in Dallas who lives in Arlington). The three of us have made plans to do several things, including the nurse's 60th birthday party this week and a "Four Day Weekend" comedy club visit on Saturday. So we shall see, but probably the New Year's Resolution has been fulfilled.
4. Terry Meyer. Elva recognized Ambassador member Terry Meyer who is the Arlington Fire Department's Volunteer of the Month for volunteering with the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). Terry is a regular participant at the Ambassadors' Evening Meetings (don't think he has missed one yet).
5. City of Arlington 2017 Aging Well Expo. Thursday, March 30. Bob Duncan Center. Elva is working with City and my job was to book speakers. Keynote speaker will be O.K. Carter (former editor of Arlington Citizen Journal and board member of Arlington Historical Society). Other speakers will be on the topics of gardening, maximizing your healthcare dollar, fraud/security, downsizing, latest research on aging/dementia, and financial planning. Free box lunch if you call by 3/15/17 to register (817) 277.8091. Door prizes.
6. Next Evening Meeting of Ambassadors. Thursday, 2/23 6:00-7:00 pm. West Police Service Center Community Room, 2060 W. Green Oaks Blvd. Discussion of "how to get along with difficult people." Bring your experience and wisdom to share.
TIPS & TRICKS
Member Jean Widman shared a couple of ruses that "bad hombres" are using:
1. Placing a baby doll in an infant seat alongside a highway, near a brushy area where bad guys hide, knowing that a female/mother will stop to see about the baby. Then the car is hijacked or female is attacked.
2. Throwing raw eggs onto a windshield. If this happens to you, don't turn on the wiper washer solution or turn on the wipers because the eggs will smear and you won't be able to see anything at all and you will have to pull over (and they know that).
1. Dr. Sandra Marquez-Hall, PhD, and Neika Nowamooz, MEd, from University of North Texas Health Science Center spoke about the SAGE program (Seniors Assisting Geriatric Education). They are seeking senior "mentors" to help UNTHSC students who are enrolled in various disciplines such as medical students, advanced practice nurses, physical therapy, occupational therapy, etc. The mentor would allow the student(s) to visit in the mentor's home and allow them to take vitals and interview the seniors about their health status, attitudes, eating habits, etc. More information is available at email firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (817) 735-0289.
2. Terry Sutton, Dir. of Marketing & Education for ServiceMaster and expert on hoarding disorder, spoke about hoarding. He explained the different levels of hoarding, different types of hoarding including collections, animal hoarding, information hoarding, shopaholics, memory keepers, etc. He explained what usually causes it (bitterness, broken heart) and why just cleaning up a hoarded place does not solve the problem. Terry can be reached at (817) 542-2403 or email email@example.com .
Lastly, announcements from the floor were:
1. Cheryl Abellanoza, Graduate student from UTA Dept of Psychology, is seeking volunteers for some research which entails playing a memory game at home. More information can be found at https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Cheryl_Abellanoza .
2. Member Liz Blunt let members know about a group she is leading called "Elder Orphans which is meant for people who have no relatives or intimate friends to call on for emergencies. More info at lizbeth@gmail .
3. Member Peggy Masters gave a brief update on the City of Arlington Transportation Advisory Committee. The Committee's Report is due to the City in fall of 2017. Questions can be directed to Peggy at firstname.lastname@example.org . A special thanks to Peggy for her donation of $25 to Ambassadors which she earned by speaking to a church group about Ambassadors. Her $25 will be spent towards the cost of the $100 vendor table at the Aging Well Expo mentioned above.
In the photo above, I'm standing with Parker County Judge Mark Riley. We enjoyed some good conversation while waiting and then he decided to do a Facebook Live segment. As you know, lack of public transportation is a major issue for Arlington's older residents who no longer drive. Without transportation to the doctor, grocery store, or to socialize, some Arlington seniors who don't drive, find themselves involuntarily "housebound." Yesterday, the City of Arlington gave interested citizens the opportunity to have a ride in an AV (autonomous vehicle, self-driving car). I took advantage of the opportunity and also participated in a "forum" at the Arlington Convention Center to give input about how and why this new technology would benefit Arlington.
This technology is the future, ready or not. There are still some technical barriers to overcome but in the not-too-distant future, we will be able to call for a driver-less car to pick us up and take us where we want to go. This will be a huge benefit to housebound elders because since no human drivers have to be paid/tipped, the cost should be lower than taxis or even ride-hailing companies such as Uber or Lyft. My 37-year-old son is concerned that at some point, it will be deemed "illegal" for a private citizen to own a car, but I don't see that happening. The public (including me) wouldn't stand for that. With new information/facts, I suppose it's possible that I could be convinced...doubtful I will be alive when any such choice would have to be made.
I do love progress and can see how AVs will cut down on traffic congestion, land paved over for parking garages, parking lots/meters, etc. Major disruption of driving habits and driver employment is coming within the next 5-10 years (including delivery services, AV 18-wheeler trucks, etc.). Exciting stuff!
Elva Roy is the Founder of the all-volunteer group "Ambassadors For Aging Well" which meets in Arlington, Texas.