If you attended the August 8, 2016 Ambassadors meeting, you probably heard Mayor Williams mention that seniors in Arlington want to downsize to smaller quarters but that such housing is not available/affordable in Arlington. Developers are interested in providing such housing which will then open up larger homes to families wanting to move here.
At the 9/20/16 afternoon Arlington City Council session, a presentation was made by Sheryl Kenny, Grants Manager, apparently in response to a request by Mayor Williams and Councilwoman Wilemon, to research the possibility of Arlington hosting a "Senior Community Forum" because developers desire to determine the extent of demand for senior apartments, owner-occupied condos, and garden-homes (zero lot line single story) in Arlington.
Our group was mentioned in this sentence within the report to Council delivered by Ms. Kenny: "There are a variety of community based groups, such as Arlington Ambassadors for Aging, which are excellent resources and advocates for senior issues."
It seems from the discussion that the main focus of such a Forum would be various housing options for seniors in Arlington but will likely include other issues as well so that it becomes a full-blown "senior expo" with vendors offering services to seniors buying vendor booths, etc. The "informal report" and video of Ms. Kenny's presentation can be read/viewed at this link http://arlingtontx.granicus.com/GeneratedAgendaViewer.php?view_id=9&clip_id=2182
First speaker (left photo above): Drew Campbell, Senior Partner at Capitol-Insights. Drew is a lobbyist for various car manufacturers (formerly a lobbyist for car dealers). He is all about educating politicians about innovations in the car business, including self-driving cars. Drew gave a fascinating talk about the state of the art regarding autonomous-driving cars, what's going on in Pittsburgh with Uber (pilot project with 100 self-driving cars ongoing right now) and with Volvo in Sweden (self-driving cars are operating there). Predictions are that the death/injury rate will go down drastically because artificial intelligence will drive better than humans (still perfecting the technology). Drew fielded lots of good questions from our intelligent members.
Second speaker (other photo left to right: Ambassadors member Elizabeth McPherson, Kathy Bowser, and Kathy's wife, Fluffy): Kathy Bowser, Board Member, North Texas Coalition for Aging LGBT, gave an extremely interesting presentation about special issues that LGBT people encounter as they age. The Coalition is working with lots of local agencies, including 2-1-1, to formulate a list of "gay-friendly" establishments such as long-term-care facilities, home health agencies, etc. so that when an LGBT person is seeking a referral for services where they can just be themselves without worrying about discrimination, such referral will be available. The Coalition is holding an "Inaugural Summit on LGBT Aging for Tarrant County" on Nov. 12, 2016 at UNT Health Science Center, Carl E. Everett Education & Administration Bldg. 3500 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth. More info about this group at this link http://www.cfa.lgbt/
We finally had the meeting about the Take Me Home program with incoming Sheriff Bill Waybourn this morning and it couldn’t have gone better. We weren’t asking him for a commitment because he doesn't take office until January. However, just as Darla Peznell said he would be, he is very much in support of implementing the Take Me Home program (free program allowing first responders to quickly identify a person who is unable to give name/address). The County’s IT Director will need to approve the project, too. But I do believe that the TMH program will be implemented for all of Tarrant County. Bill wanted to be sure that it would include MHMR people and we assured him that yes…any caregiver with a concern about the person they care for can enroll the person into the program, and it could/would definitely include mentally-challenged people. We talked about veterans as well. Ish said veterans can certainly be included. I said, “But veterans could give their name/address.” Bill told a story about a friend of his who could not. Veterans can certainly be enrolled.
The three of us had great conversation for an hour, but Bill and I got there a little bit early and before Ish arrived, Bill and I were just shooting the breeze and I said something like, “One of our Ambassadors Leaders, Darla Peznell, thinks you’re pretty wonderful.” His face lit up and said, “Oh, Darla! She is something else, isn’t she! I’m not surprised that she would be involved with something like this and you’re lucky to have her working with you.” We sure are. And then we went on to discuss Bill's seven adopted children (4 from Russia, 3 from U.S., ranging in age from 29 to 2 years). Wow.
Elva Roy is the Founder of the all-volunteer group "Ambassadors For Aging Well" which meets in Arlington, Texas.