Thank You. Elva Roy thanked Gena Long from Town Village Crossing, senior independent living community, for the wonderful, over-the-top refreshments prepared by their chef. More info at bit.ly/2UqOAKX .
Elva also thanked member Charles Clay for the many reams of copy paper he has provided over the last several years to help Elva offset some of the printing expense for our meetings.
Visitors Welcomed. A warm welcome was extended to Sara Cotton from "Kennedale Senior Outreach" who is establishing a group in Kennedale which will be similar in function to our Ambassadors group (and Sara suggested that maybe a second chapter of Ambassadors would be appropriate). Elva welcomed Ana Comacho from Dallas Senior Affairs Commission. They are looking at ways that the Commission and Ambassadors can collaborate on matters important to "Zeniors." Ann Williams, Elva Roy, Sandee Reutebuch, and Sharron Merrill, representing the Ambassadors will attend the Commission's meeting at Dallas City Hall on 4/22/19.
Hearing Aid. A 30x personal sound amplification system was donated by Elva who had purchased it from Amazon for $20 to try. Elva found that it was easy to use, no batteries because it came with a charging stand, and easy to operate (two buttons only: on/off and a dialer for sound level 1-4). But there was no sound cancellation for extraneous noise, which supposedly the $300 units have. Elva didn't like hearing the "wind swoosh" sound through the device so she put it on the back table in the meeting room and invited anyone who wanted to try it out, to take it home and keep it. Someone took it. Maybe it will be more helpful to them than it was to Elva.
Zeniors. Sociologists and others have labored for at least five years trying to come up with a descriptive word to replace "seniors/senior citizens" because their research shows that people 50+ don't like to be called "senior citizens." Various contests have been run with prizes of $1000+ to incentivize people to come up with a word to replace "senior." One contest paid out $2,000 for "PrimeTimer" as the winning word. But that went nowhere (though it's used by various church groups for their retirees). So Elva is proposing that we try to popularize the word "Zenior" to differentiate our cohort from high school "seniors" and "zenior" is similar to the word "zenith" which means "the time at which something is most powerful or successful." That's us! Zeniors!
Re-Serve. The National Director of Re-Serve out of New York City headquarters, Dawn Mastoridis, was in Fort Worth and Austin last week to expand their horizons and they met with Easter Seals in F.W. and Austin. Denise Wilkerson, J.D., of Easter Seals suggested to Dawn that she reach out to Elva because Re-Serve is looking for partners. The primary service that Re-Serve provides is matching up talented Zeniors with non-profit organizations who need help but can't pay for it. Re-Serve will pay Zeniors to work at non-profits. Dawn told Elva that they pay at least minimum wage but when I told her that is $7.25 in Texas, she said, "Oh, we would never pay less than $10/hour (and occasionally more, depending on the skill level needed). Re-Serve gets grant money to help pay the stipend offered to Zeniors. Sometimes these are temporary positions or part time. Any job accepted by a Zenior is purely voluntary and hours can be usually be flexible. As soon as Elva has more information, she will distribute it to the Ambassadors members (several have expressed interest). Check out Re-Serve's website here www.reserveinc.org/
Buddy Pool. Elva reported that we have 23 Ambassadors members on the Buddy Pool list to provide rides to/from doctors/dentists for members who will be anesthetized (put to sleep). Sometimes Zeniors are surprised when they show up for an outpatient procedure and if they don't have a friend or family member to drive them home afterwards, they're told that the surgery will have to be re-scheduled (no ride share like Uber, Via, or Lyft is acceptable because the driver must accompany the patient into their homes and make sure they are settled and are okay before leaving--ride share companies don't provide that service). That's a job for Buddies. Elva was delighted to report that she will be a Buddy driver for an Ambassador member on April 12.
Free WellMed Teleconferences for Care Partners. Flyers were on the back table for the free "Caregiver Teleconnection" sessions offered by WellMed. Elva has participated in some of these free telephone education calls and found them worthwhile. Anyone who would like to get on WellMed's email list in order to be invited to join the phone calls with experts in caregiving can call WellMed toll free (866) 390-6491 or visit their website here www.caregiverteleconnection.org
Arlington Candidates Forum by League of Women Voters. April 15, 6:30-9:00, Pantego Lion's Club, 3535 Marathon St., Pantego/Arlington. Hear from the candidates we will vote for in Arlington on May 4.
Community Legal Fair. Tuesday, April 23, 9a-2p at Lena Pope, 3200 Sanguinet St., Fort Worth, Free event providing Zeniors and caregivers with legal awareness and access to community resources in Tarrant County. No charge to attend, but registration required. Call (817)921-0499 ext 105.
Health Expo at Downtown Arlington Library. Presented by Tarrant County Nursing Students. Friday, April 12. 9a-4p. More info at this link bit.ly/2VBCfQC
Social Determinants of Health. As we have discussed at previous meetings, social determinants (food insecurity, lack of transportation, financial insecurity, loneliness/isolation) will affect our physical health. A primary issue among Zeniors is loneliness/isolation. This does not mean that every Zenior feels lonely or is isolated but a large percentage of Zeniors feel lonely "sometimes" and some Zeniors feel lonely all the time. Research has shown that those who do feel lonely frequently will have their longevity shortened by seven years. So the Ambassadors Leadership team wants to figure out how the Ambassadors might address this problem, not only for our members, but for our greater community. One way we think will help is to persuade local shop owners to allow us to place "Friendship Tables" on their property. The idea is that where you see a Friendship Table (easily identifiable because of the bright yellow paint), you know that you're invited to sit down and join in whatever is happening at that table...join the conversation, share some cookies that someone might have, etc. Let's get out of our silos and mix/mingle with people who are NOT "just like us. Let's talk to people of different age, culture, race, ethnicity, or socio-economic class. No telling what we might learn from each other. There is still work to be done to make this happen, but progress is being made. So stay tuned.
NEXT MEETING--put it on your calendar now: Monday, May 13, 1:00-3:00 pm. 700 E. Abram St., Arlington. Speakers Lori Varnell, Assistant District Attorney in charge of elder abuse/exploitation cases; and Tracey Willingham, Cancer Care Services (free services for cancer patients).
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