Elva Roy welcomed members to the meeting and thanked Blythe Williamson from Safer Senior Life for the refreshments. www.saferseniorlife.com To make homes safe for seniors, his company provides equipment such as ramps, walk-in showers, raised toilets, grab bars, etc.
Know Your Neighbor. We started a new "Know Your Neighbor" game at the meeting with the expectation that we will get to know a little more about each other in order to make "connections." Elva asked for a volunteer to come to the microphone, draw 3 cards out of a deck of 300 questions. The first brave member to raise his hand was Dr. Ed Furber, M.D., who drew a card asking whether he had any advanced schooling and, if so, what did he study and where was it? Ee told where he went to medical school. Another question was whether he remembered where he and his wife went on their first date. Ed's reply was that his wife, Jeannie, passed away about 18 months ago, and he met her at the hospital where they both worked and that their first date was probably in the hospital's cafeteria. (Elva should have taken better notes because she doesn't recall the third question...will try to do better next month.) Elva's hope is that when a member shares a bit of personal information about his/her life, that other members will make it a point to talk to them after the meeting about what you heard.
DFW Friendship Coalition Update. Elva reported that the "test" Friendship Table she ordered and painted was too large (48" diameter) to fit into her Kia (wouldn't go in through the back door or through the hatchback). See photo above. So she wasn't able to haul it to a City park with a sign that said "Friendship Table. Let's chat." Possibly a restaurant might use it on their patio or we'll find some use for it. Since we didn't get an bids from concrete companies who were willing to build outdoor concrete Friendship Tables, Elva plans to initiate conversations with local restaurants, explain the problem of rampant loneliness to the owner, and see if the restaurant will designate one table in the restaurant as a "Friendship Table" and have the host/hostess steer solo diners (or couples) who would like to eat with someone else or who are willing to "Be a Friend" to the Friendship Table. Elva serves on an advisory board at UNT Health Sciences Center in F.W. and on 6/19/19 attended a celebratory luncheon hosted by UNTHSC at a restaurant called Piola Italian Restaurant & Garden. Before the meeting started, Elva had a conversation with Piola's owner about the loneliness issue and asked the owner if he would consider putting a Friendship Table in his restaurant and his response was "Of course!" So maybe we will just use existing tables in restaurants and use a "kelly green" tablecloth for consistency, put a sign on the table, have a laminated sheet which explains the purpose, with perhaps a few suggested "ice breaker" questions to get a conversation started.
In a town in the U.K., the police department decided to hang a sign on benches like the one in the photo above ("Happy to Chat" bench).
Elva mentioned that she had made it a point to stop by a "CareMore Health Center" at 512 W. Rosedale, F.W. because she read an article in Scientific American about Dr. Jain, CEO of CareMore, and his efforts to reduce loneliness. He said that in their clinics (located in 9 States, but F.W. is the only one in TX), some lonely patients make appointments to see the doctor when there's no medical problem. The patient makes up a reason to see the doctor because it's the only human contact they have all month. So he is changing the waiting rooms to have "round" tables which are conducive for conversation (instead of chairs lined up around the walls), and he is inviting anyone who wants to come in and just "hang out" in the waiting room to do so.
If everyone does a "little bit," we can make a big dent in the loneliness epidemic.
Upcoming Speakers. At our next meeting, we can look forward to hearing from THR's orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Vankat Rapuri, who will speak about options to help joint pain before surgery is considered. State Representative Chris Turner will give an update on the legislative session that closed on 5/31/19. And in future meetings, we will have a speaker on CBD Oil (as requested by a member), a THR registered nurse who will speak about social determinants of health and the grant awarded by THR, the head honcho of the Arlington Convention & Visitors Bureau, and others.
Tips and Tricks.
Guest Speakers [Note: both speakers today were invited to speak as a result of a member putting a request into the Suggestion Box on the table at the back of the Meeting Room near the sign-in sheet.]
1. Mina McWhorter, Veterans Options Navigator, Area Agency on Aging, United Way, firstname.lastname@example.org Office ph (817) 258-8078, spoke about pensions and "aid & attendance" benefits (in-home help for frail or disabled vet/spouse), available for some veterans and his/her spouse. She spoke about several situations where the veteran had no idea that benefits were available. She helps the vet identify the benefits that might be available and helps with completing the applications.
)2. Stephen Raeside, Sr. Director of Development, Tarrant Area Food Bank, email@example.com We learned about the good work that the Food Bank does in the community, how they partner with various distribution sites to distribute "fresh" food (in addition to some canned/packaged foods, but they make it a priority to get fresh (healthy) food to low-income residents). They have a big warehouse and kitchen where they train a certain number of apprentices in the food business. They receive truckloads of food from grocer wholesalers and some grocery stores. They don't accept food from restaurants because health regulations prohibit them from accepting "prepared" foods. Stephen said some restaurants are able to donate their surplus cooked food to shelters who can serve it within a day or so. The Food Bank is always looking for volunteers and more info about volunteering can be found on their website.
**** MORE ABOUT HELP WITH PAYING UTILITY BILLS
The City of Fort Worth Community Action Partners program currently has a significant amount of funding available to pay utility assistance on behalf of very low income clients. This help can be for up to 8 payments, and could be available through the end of this year. Frankly, we have a grant deadline to meet – we know there are many in our community who need the help, so we are doing everything we can to get the word out through the social services network to reach new clients who may not have received this service before.
Clients with incomes under 150% of poverty are eligible – that is $18,735 for a household of one person. The full income eligibility chart is located at the below link. Legal Residency is required.
The application can be done online, at the following link, so case managers can handle the application process for their clients and upload the supporting documents, to speed up the eligibility determinations .
An application can also be downloaded, filled out, and mailed in – here is the link to download the mail-in application.