[In the photo above, Leigh Zoller is standing in the black slacks and gray top.]
Yesterday at an assisted living facility in Arlington (Fox Run Estates on Little Rd), Leigh Zoller, LMSW (Licensed Master Social Worker) gave a presentation about a free program to overcome depression which is available to people 60+ regardless of income who live in Tarrant County.
Upon request of a client, the PEARLS (Program to Encourage Active, Rewarding Lives for Seniors) counselor will come to a person's home to have a chat with them about what's going on in their lives, goals, etc., and the counselor will assess whether the person is a good candidate for the the PEARLS program (the answer is almost always "yes").
The first interview usually occurs within a week or two of making a request and lasts 60-90 minutes and the timing of subsequent sessions is agreed between the client and counselor. Within 30 days after the initial visit, the remaining counseling begins and consists of 7 more sessions (total of 8 sessions) which usually take place over a period of 6 months but may take longer (schedule to be determined by the patient and counselor). This is an evidence-based program which has been tested by the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and found to be effective in reducing depression for older adults.
For more information or to require an initial interview, call the Aging & Disability Resource Center at 888-730-2372 and ask to speak to the PEARLS Counselor. Don't face depression alone. There is no shame in having depression and help is available.
Yesterday, I had lunch with Gerri Duren, Accessibility Coordinator, Wesley Mission Center, Mansfield. I met Gerri a couple of weeks ago at a Mansfield coalition meeting I was invited to and I met 15-20 people who have many of the same interests that Ambassadors have.
At lunch, Gerri explained what her job is (she is like a "case manager" and makes house calls when elders in her community need something). She keeps a list of resources so she can find the correct resource/refer clients to the appropriate place according to need.
One interesting thing I learned from Gerri is that her mother (like mine) had dementia when she died. Her mother lived at a group residential home in Arlington called "St. Joseph's Haven" and Gerri and her mother were extremely happy with the care received.
Today, I called St. Joseph's Haven and spoke to the owner, Carol Denning, to ensure that they are still in business, open to new residents, etc. I was most impressed with everything I heard from Mrs. Denning...3 paid staff on call for the 10 residents; geriatrician/podiatrist/beautician make house calls. Regarding cost to residents, the flat fee is all-inclusive. There are no extra charges for anything. Also, once a resident is accepted to live there, they try very hard (and have so far been successful) to not raise their prices for that resident, no matter how many years the resident may stay.
I added this assisted living home to our website under the "Local Resources" tab. When you are out and about having lunch with your friends and contacts, when you hear of a good resource that Arlington's older residents should know about, please be sure to drop me an email to tell me about it so I can share it with our neighbors. firstname.lastname@example.org
Arlington-on-Tap. A few of our Ambassadors and I attended "Arlington on Tap" hosted by O.K. Carter (retired Star-Telegram reporter and knowledgeable about all things "Arlington") at the Arlington Music Hall. It was sponsored by our friend, Mark Joeckel of Arlington Proud, and our friend Corey Callaway of Callaway Financial.com and the magazine he represents "Arlington Today" (some of you may recall that Corey furnished refreshments for one of our Ambassadors' meetings last year).
I had not been inside the Music Hall since it was renovated and it was so nice (big space for gathering, drinking, eating). I had intended to take a tour of the actual music hall (stage, auditorium, etc.) after Mel's talk, but just before he finished his talk, the tornado sirens went off outside. O.K. Carter came to the mic and suggested that we all clear out and head for home/safety immediately.
The speaker was Mel LeBlanc, PhD, former Arlington Councilman, who gave an interesting talk "Developing a Personal Philosophy" while explaining his sudden and painful resignation from his City Council seat when some of his personal foibles became public (methamphetamine use, arrest, prostitutes, etc.). He talked about the lessons learned and how to recover from the shame of all that. He mentioned that his loving wife stuck with him through the good and the bad and they have a happy marriage. He has found work that he loves (botanist for a 2200-acre ranch in this area) and sometimes teacher at UTA. It was inspiring to hear how he has made a happy life for himself in spite of all those troubles. I'm sure that gives hope to people who make some of the same mistakes and lets them know it doesn't have to destroy your life forevermore.
Arlington on Tap won't meet during the summer but when they start up again in September, the first speaker will be Jeff Williams, Arlington Mayor. I'm already looking forward to that meeting and I will post the details when available so you can attend if you wish.
It was so fun to see new faces and old friends today at our meeting. 39 people signed in and I think a few forgot to sign in (or slipped in quietly after the meeting started and didn't sign it).
We enjoyed two interesting and educational speakers. Our very loyal member, Kelley Poppelreiter (misses very few meetings) and her supervisor, Beth Noah, Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW), both from the Tarrant County Area Agency on Aging/Aging & Disability Resources Center gave us an overview of the services provided by ADRC. The Aging & Disability Resources Center's mission is to be the single point of entry for older people and disabled people (and their carers) who have questions about services/benefits available across Tarrant County.
When asked about the difference between 2-1-1 and ADRC, Beth explained that both 2-1-1 and ADRC provide information and referral services that involve an assessment, referral, advocacy and follow-up. Although 2-1-1 Specialists can spend 20 minutes or longer with callers helping them identify appropriate resources and advocating on their behalf, 2-1-1 and ADRC developed a referral protocol. Households with older adults or disabled that have multiple complex needs are directly connected to ADRC staff for help in coordinating services.
Beth discussed "Benefits Counseling" available at both the ADRC and at Area Agency on Aging, depending on the type of counseling needed.
The ADRC is not an "agency" but rather is a coalition with representatives from other agencies who meet every other month to build relationships and understand various resources available within Tarrant County. Texas has 22 ADRCs, and ours is one of the 22.
Kelley, ADRC's Housing Navigator, explained that she keeps several lists of affordable housing availability in Arlington and any older resident of Tarrant County needing to find affordable housing can call Kelley to get her recommendations. Some of the housing options on her lists are Senior Housing, All Bills Paid, Affordable/Low Rent apartments and Room and Board Homes.
Kelley also provides information about the "Fair Housing" and she can provide advice about how to get help/mediation if a consumer feels that a landlord has discriminated against a prospective tenant.
Bathroom "grab bars," wheelchair ramps, and other minor "accessibility" improvements are provided at no charge to qualified Tarrant County residents (per Kelley, it's not necessary to be low-income to receive this benefit).
More information can be obtained by calling Aging & Disability Resource Center at (888) 730-2372) or by clicking on this link to the ADRC website http://tarrantcountyadrc.org
Announcements made at the meeting, after the speakers were finished, included:
Today was just about perfect...in fact, it was a perfect day. Our very own Ambassador, Susan Musfeldt, was honored at a big celebration in Fort Worth for her selection as "2016 Outstanding Advocate for Older Americans" (for all of Tarrant County). The selection committee of the Area Agency on Aging chose Susan for her work in establishing the very first "Memory Cafe" in Tarrant County and for other achievements. A Memory Cafe is a place where people with a diagnosis of dementia (early/moderate stage) and their care partners can get together with others who are in similar circumstances. They can just be themselves without worrying about being judged and they can learn from each other.
I was the MC (Master of Ceremonies) for the Celebration and enjoyed doing that. Dr. Janice Kneble (renowned Fort Worth geriatrician with tons of achievements) was the keynote speaker). Mostly, I was happy for Susan for winning this award and happy that someone from the Ambassadors group was chosen (a long shot since I was selected last year for this honor and I didn't think the selection committee would give it to someone from the same organization). Susan had her family and friends from the Grace Memory Cafe attend and I must say that the food served was out of this world...very fancy finger foods! Brookdale at Ridgmar hosted the event in their large dining hall. Live music was provided by the Marcus Rockwell Trio (great jazz musicians! and available to hire out to play for events).
Tonight, I attended a meeting hosted by State Representative Chris Turner for his Task Force. The special guest was Arlington's Mayor Jeff Williams. The four topics for discussion (as agreed beforehand) were: Health care, Transportation, Payday Lending, and Jobs/Economy. From Mayor Williams, I learned about a local company called "Blue Apron" that I need to look into. Supposedly they deliver freshly-cooked meals to people's homes in Arlington.
I learned that Mayor Williams is about to appoint a 30-member advisory committee on the subject of "transportation." Our Ambassador action team leader, Peggy Masters, will be appointed to the committee. A company called HDR Engineering has been retained the city as a transportation consultant.
Mayor Williams mentioned a company called Straumann, located in the Great Southwest industrial area of Arlington, which makes dental implants which require precision manufacturing and therefore, high tech, and high paying jobs. The company is a Swiss company. If you know anybody looking for a good manufacturing job, more info is available by clicking this link http://bit.ly/24z0Lk2
This free program, which I attended yesterday, is going to repeated on Tuesday, May 10, 2016, at 7:00 pm (will still be light when you drive back to Arlington from Fort Worth, and parking is easy). The address is 1600 Texas Street, Fort Worth 76102 and is sponsored by the Coalition for Quality EOL Care. The Chair of the "Coalition" is a retired female physician from Fort Worth, Kendra Belfi, MD, FACP. Trinity Terrace provided very nice refreshments. I might go back to this second screening because I enjoy hearing people's comments about end-of-life planning, Plus, as requested, I will be delivering a talk on "End-of-Life Options and Planning" to our "Ambassadors" at the regular afternoon meeting on June 13, 2016.
Elva Roy is the Founder & Lead Ambassador of the all-volunteer group "Ambassadors For Aging Well" which meets in Arlington, Texas.