Mark Joeckel, Arlington Proud, is seeking volunteers to help with the Main Street Art & Music Fest on Saturday, May 7. If you can help out Mark and team who is putting on this free event for the citizens of Arlington, please let me or Mark know. Mark can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and of course, I can be reached at email@example.com .
(1) From 11:00-1:00 today, I was at a meeting at University of Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth. The initial meeting of the Community Advisory Board of the WE HAIL (Workforce Enhancement in Healthy Aging and Independent Living) was held on the campus of UNTHSC, led by Dr. Janice Kneble, D.O., MBA, who is well-known as the leader of UNTHSC's Center for Geriatrics. Dr. Kneble is a professor at UNTHSC's medical school and is Lead for the $2.5M grant awarded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) over a 3-year period for the purpose of turning out more specialists in geriatrics among the ranks of physicians, nurses, and other providers.
I loved being in a room full of professionals who are as passionate as I am about making life good for "olders." My only complaint is that the meeting was over before I was ready to leave. I could have stayed there for a week to pick the brains of all these dedicated people so that they could teach me what they have learned over the years being in the "aging business." The Dean and Chief Medical Officer of the Texas College of Osteopathy sat next to me, and the room was full of physicians, nurses, and administrators from various local hospitals/agencies.
If you're interested in knowing, below is a link to a website dedicated to the WE HAIL program which explains its purpose, has a video of Dr. Kneble presenting to the Fort Worth City Council on March 22, etc.
(2) The Area Agency on Aging Tarrant County (AAATC) is working with North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) on a potential grant which would provide funds for Arlington residents to have rides to doctors appointments, but beyond just medical transportatio, it would also provide rides to buy fresh produce or other healthy foods, rides to an exercise place, anything that contributes to "healthy aging."
The goal of the programs is to find and test promising, replicable public transportation healthcare access solutions that support the following goals: increased access to care, improved health outcomes and reduced healthcare costs.
AAATC has appointed me to a committee to work on this matter and since the initial meeting this morning was in Denton at 10:30 and I had to be at the WE HAIL meeting in Fort Worth, at 11:00, I joined by conference call for the first part of the meeting. I am hopeful that some Arlington older residents will be helped by successfully winning the available grant $$ and I look forward to working with AAATC and NCTCOG on this project.
This evening, I attended the Open House held especially for families who have a loved one affected by a disability. Vendor tables were free and I set up a simple vendor table to represent families who have a loved one diagnosed with NCD (neurocognitive disorder, aka dementia). I wanted to be educated about how first responders are counseled to communicate with a non-verbal person who has NCD with aphasia (inability to speak). I was disappointed that IDD (Intellectual Developmental Disorder) and autism were discussed but NCD was overlooked. When I mentioned that I was disappointed that NCD/dementia was not mentioned as one of the disabilities, I was asked if I would come back and be on a panel to teach police officers about communication methods for people with NCD, and I readily agreed.
I didn't know that the old Arlington "dog pound" on west Pioneer Pkwy is now the Police Training Center (fixed up very nicely). I met some interesting people at the Open House.
It's wonderful that the Arlington Police Department is making the effort to connect with various special populations in our city so that understanding stretches in both directions!
David Moller, PhD, spoke at Harris Methodist Hospital today on "Suffering, Healing and Sociocultural Factors Near the End of Life."
David Moller, Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences, Department of Bioethics delivered a talk today at Harris Methodist. The gist of his talk was that health providers should treat the "person" at end of life, and not just the "disease/disability." Patients want to be "seen" as the whole person they've always been, not just someone with stomach cancer. And we humans need to be taught a different way to think about death so we don't dread it so much.
He talked about how Americans, in particular, are in denial that they are going to die someday. This is not healthy. We need to learn that dying is a natural part of the human experience. Dying is not easy, but we don't need to make it harder than it is for patients by not "listening" to them, or honoring the person they have been all of their lives (and not just see them as a "case to be treated").
Dr. Moller described some cases where cultural differences need to be recognized and health providers should not simply follow the same-o same-o protocol when talking about death. Each individual is different. He described a case study about a Navaho man and how the doctor botched the end-of-life discussion which resulted in the patient refusing treatment which would have eased his suffering.
He asked the audience (made up mostly of doctors and nurses) what makes a "good death." Answers from the audience: pain controlled, [Elva: "choice of location to die--usually home and not a hospital"], life review, reconciliation, social support system, music.
He asked what makes a "bad death." Answers from the audience: hooked up to machines when the physician knows that healing is not going to happen, pain not controlled, [Elva: "not having aid-in-dying, death with dignity, as an option"]. This started a conversation in the room and Dr. Moller asked me if I had seen the film "How to Die in Oregon." I replied, "If that's the film about Bryttany Maynard who had an inoperable brain tumor who had to move away from her support network in California to Oregon in order to have a death with dignity, yes, I saw that movie." He confirmed that was the one he was talking about. You can watch the full documentary at this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUNFiMSqZY4
Physicians and nurses and social workers received continuing education credits for attending this talk.
Have you ever wondered what your sciatic nerve looks like and where it's located in your body? Know what pleurisy is? Did you know that a human being's right lung has 3 lobes but the left lung has only 2 lobes? Ever wonder what a layer of subutaneous fat looks like or how big your lungs are?
I just watched 2 hours of videos called "Anatomy for Beginners" which showed the dissection of two deceased men. At the very beginning of the first video, all of the skin (our largest organ) was removed from a fresh cadaver, and it went on from there.
If you're interested in what your body looks like on the inside and you won't get freaked out as a saw/chisel is used to take off the back half of a decedent's cranium to expose the brain, then you are obviously as curious and interested in learning about our bodies as I am. Tomorrow, I will watch 2 more videos.
You can see the videos by clicking this YouTube link: http://bit.ly/1QfdCO9
I'm just back from lunch with Cathy Whittington, Coordinator of the West Police Service Center, Arlington Police Department. We have a common interest which is returning safely to their homes disabled persons who are lost and unable to tell a first responder their names/addresses. We have an altruistic motive but beyond that Cathy has a teenage son with autism and I am especially interested in helping people with NCD (neurocognitive disorder, which is the preferred term instead of "dementia" or "Alzheimer's."
One free software program available is called the "Take Me Home Program" which I have blogged about before and which is available for the Pensacola FL Police Department. There is a little more research to do before approaching the County or City with a request to implement the program.
Many of our Ambassadors know that I support a person's right to make his/her own decision about whether life is worth living (with certain safeguards built into the law to avoid its misuse). Some of you may recall that the General Counsel from Final Exit Network spoke to us on this subject at our October 2015 afternoon meeting.
According to the news story below, legislation was expected to be introduced on 4/14/16 in the Canadian Parliament for consideration and debate so that a vote could be taken before the June deadline set by the Canadian Supreme Court (which ruled in 2015 that it was unconstitutional to ban a physician from helping a mentally competent patient to die under certain circumstances (and the Court put the onus on Parliament to come up with the "circumstances").
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau supports legislation allowing physician-aided-dying and said that his father (former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau) who died in 2000 from prostate cancer and Parkinson's disease wanted to die sooner than he did and would have taken the option for physician-aided-dying if he had had that option.
Here's a link to a recent news article about this matter:
I stumbled across a link to O.K. Carter's Pinterest page where he has done all of the hard work of curating photos of Arlington's public art (with his comments/location) which is scattered around Arlington. My thanks to him. You can see the art by clicking on this link to Mr. Carter's Pinterest page at this link:
As many of you have heard me say, I am very skeptical about headlines heralding the newest "breakthrough" drug which is going to prevent and/or slow and/or cure Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. I found Dr. Peter Whitehouse's book more than enlightening. Dr. Whitehouse is a PhD and a MD who has run neuroscience research laboratories and has an active geriatric practice in Cleveland. http://casemed.case.edu/dept/neurology/Whitehouse.html
I highly recommend that you read Dr. Whitehouse's book, The Myth of Alzheimer's: What You Aren't Being Told About Today's Most Dreaded Diagnosis (2008) available on Amazon. Another good book on this topic is Black Hat, White Coat: Adventures on the Dark Side of Medicine (2011) by Carl Elliott. After reading these two interesting books, you will understand a lot more about how laboratories get funding and how researchers get paid ("breakthrough's" on mice studies, and the more headlines, the better, etc.). Subsequently, you will be able to evaluate better the headlines and documentaries on the subject of dementia.
At any rate, I try to keep up to date on the newest research and will be watching this new documentary called "Can Alzheimer's Be Stopped?" I heard the producer interviewed on Kris Boyd's "Think" program on KERA radio this morning and it sounded like more claptrap to me but am always hopeful.
Here is the local airing schedule for the Dallas-Fort Worth area:
NovaCan Alzheimer's Be Stopped? #4308Wednesday, April 13, 08:00 pm on KERA
Description: Alzheimer's ravages the minds of over 40 million victims worldwide. Join scientists as they untangle the cause of this tragic illness and go behind the scenes of major drug trials to discover the therapies that may slow and even prevent the disease.
View Additional Airings
04/14/16, 6:00 pm WORLD
04/14/16, 11:00 pm WORLD
04/15/16, 7:00 am WORLD
04/15/16, 1:00 pm WORLD
04/19/16, 3:00 am KERA
04/19/16, 10:30 pm KERA
Be sure to check out the Local Events page so that you won't miss anything that is of special interest to you. I (Elva) am especially looking forward to the "Arlington On Tap" event on the evening on Wed, April 13.
Elva Roy is the Founder of the all-volunteer group "Ambassadors For Aging Well" which meets in Arlington, Texas.