ANNOUNCEMENTS. Elva Roy thanked Gena Long from Town Village Crossing senior living for providing refreshments for the meeting.
Elva spoke briefly about how newer research has shown that social determinants of health (SDoH) are very important for maintaining a healthy body at any age. Doctors, hospitals, insurers, and social workers are very interested in educating people about how important SDoH are, one of which is loneliness and isolation. Here is a link to a Dec. 11, 2018, article entitled "The Loneliest Generation: Americans, More Than Ever, Are Aging Alone." on.wsj.com/2ryjKz8 And here is another link from a recent Cigna study entitled "Research Puts Spotlight on the Impact of Loneliness in the U.S. and Potential Root Causes." bit.ly/2jkwFk3
Connect Here Project. The leadership team (Ann Williams, Darla Peznell, Elva Roy, Kay Reynolds, Peggy Masters, Sandee Reutebuch, Sharron Merrill) of Ambassadors met to discuss if there is any way we could help alleviate loneliness and isolation in Arlington and we're thinking that collaborating with others to set up some "Connect Here" tables and benches in different places around town could help. Anytime you see one of the "Connect Here" tables, you know that you're automatically invited to sit down and join in whatever is happening at that table...the conversation mostly, but maybe someone will have cookies to share. Bring your book and your water in case there is no one sitting there yet, and hopefully someone will happen along to sit down for a chat. If you're lucky it will be someone different from those you normally associate with. We need to get out of our silos and meet people who are not "just like us." In our publicity campaign, we would designate a certain color for the tables/benches that would be consistent and identifiable. The items below are just samples of what could be. Details are to be worked out.
Patient Safety Week. The Ambassadors would like to sponsor/collaborate on a Patient Safety Week, similar to what Canada has done. Further information can be seen at this link which explains the concept. bit.ly/2tjz978 This project might spill over to become a project for next year. We'll have just see how things go.
Buddy Pool. Elva is still collecting names of people who live alone who might want an Ambassadors member to go with them to an appointment where they might not be able to drive themselves home. Examples are after they've had anesthesia for dental or other outpatient services. Doctors will not release a patient to drive themselves home nor will they permit the patient to use a ride share service like Uber because they want someone to make sure you get comfortable inside your home afterwards and that someone will stay with you until the anesthesia has worn off. Email Elva at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to be added to the Buddy Pool list.
Local Senior Housing Update. When Elva tried to do a drive-by of the new Secretariat senior apartments at 1121 Debbie Ln, Arlington, she didn't find Secretariat (still under construction) but she did find the Ladera Mansfield independent 55+ community on Debbie Ln. Looks like a lovely place to live if you can afford it (single, detached houses). More info at this link to their website bit.ly/2GIiuSw
Medicare Doctor Recommendation? One of our members is seeking a new Medicare doctor. If you have one that you highly recommend, please pass that name to Elva at email@example.com so she can pass it along.
Arlington's Aging Well Expo on Feb. 21, 9:00-2:00. E-Sports Stadium (formerly Arlington Convention Center), 1200 Ballpark Way, Arlington 76011. Elva will be a speaker at 1:30 with a talk entitled "New Solutions to Help Pay for Your Long-Term Health Care (including at-home custodial care)--You Don't Know What You Don't know." Elva would be happy to see you in the audience. There is no charge to attend the Expo.
Mona Bailey, Silver Haired Legislators, asked me to announce that she is looking for Tarrant County volunteers to serve. They do important lobbying work for us older adults. The term would start in July. Anyone interested is encouraged to call Mona at (817) 542-4486 for more details.
TIPS & TRICKS
Privacy. Elva wanted members to be aware of how "big data" is scraping information about every American to sell to corporations for not only targeted advertising but also to help insurance companies set rates, etc. It's a long-known fact that your physicians and hospitals and other providers report your medical diagnoses, treatments, etc. to the MIB (medical information bureau) but "data companies" are scrubbing through your social media and your web browser to determine your buying habits, reading habits, tv watching habits, grocery purchases, clothing purchases, in order to make assumptions about you. The risk is that some information that is being collected is inaccurate or should not be used to make assumptions about a person. For example, Elva is interested in Alzheimer's/dementia, mainly so she can share information with people who want to know about it, and insurers could wrongly assume that she's worried that she has Alzheimer's which is not the case. "Scrapers" will know that Elva buys plus-size clothing so insurers could assume that she has high blood pressure (not true) or high cholesterol (not true). One "big data" company which collects info about us is Lexis Nexis. Consumers can "opt out" by clicking on this link bit.ly/2GP05nt We consumers have no idea what information about us is being used to set prices for various things so there's no way to refute the accuracy except that some data companies such as Lexis. One good article about it can be found at this link bit.ly/2NnbLgX
While you're on the ProPublica site at the previous link, you might want to check "Dollars for Docs" to see what conflicts of interest your doctor might have, or at least see who is paying him/her to prescribe certain meds. Here is that link bit.ly/1JmXJHk
Oncor Power Outage Notification. If you want to be notified by text message to your smart phone when Oncor experiences a power outage, you can sign up by texting "REG" to 66267 or by visiting Oncor's website here "My Oncor Alerts" bit.ly/1JmXJHk The advantage is that you can see if someone else has already reported the outage to Oncor and Oncor will text you with the estimated restoration time and tell you when power is back on (in case you're away from home).
John Roland, M.D., spoke about functional medicine and stem cell therapy, Dr. Roland had lived and practiced medicine in Arlington and Cleburne as a Family Medicine doctor, and then emergency medicine before he became interested in helping patients by using stem cells. As she has done several times before, Elva encourages members to do your own deep research before you decide that stem cell therapy is right for you. Please try to speak to others who have had the same treatment that you are contemplating. In spite of some claims that there is no "downside" or "side effects," the media has reported some bad outcomes. Mostly the negative press about stem cells is that they don't work. But some people have been helped so there isn't one answer for everybody. As an interesting aside, for those of you who know Bowie Hogg or Sue Hogg here in Arlington, Bowie let me know that Dr. Roland is his uncle. Here's a link to Dr. Roland's practice bit.ly/2GnJJ5P
Debra Kerper, Owner of Easy Access Travel, who is a double amputee (but doesn't let that slow her down) gave an excellent talk about how to travel with a disability. She has been on 100+ cruises (ocean liners as well as river cruises), and is a frequent flier (prefers Southwest Airlines). She recommended that if you're going to travel by air, to call "TSA Cares" at (866) 787-2227. She said that TSA will furnish an agent to go through the TSA check point with you. Here's a link to Debra's company and she welcomes questions bit.ly/2TLW7zm
NEXT MEETING: Monday, March 11, 1:00, 700 E. Abram St. See you there!
Elva (Roy) - cell (817) 557-5700 Feel free to call me or text any time.
A member of Ambassadors sent the link below to an article about stem cell therapy which is in line with the cautionary messages I have given to our group from time to time to not believe everything you read or see on tv about stem cell therapy. It is not approved by the FDA and not covered by any insurance including Medicare. It's imperative to do your own research because there is fraud taking place in many cities where consumers are being bilked out of thousands of dollars. Because at least one of our members has a sister living in Dallas who claims to have been helped enormously by stem cell therapy, I decided to invite Dr. John Roland, M.D., who offers stem cell therapy, to speak at our Feb. 11 meeting. Always err on the side of caution when it comes to your health and experimental treatments, especially any which claim unproven "miraculous cures."
If you're interesting in learning about stem cell therapy, here is a link to one article which I encourage you to read prior to attending our February 11 Ambassadors For Aging Well meeting. bit.ly/2Czleyc
ANNOUNCEMENTS. Great to see everybody on Monday after our 2-month holiday break.
After welcoming everybody back, Elva Roy mentioned upcoming scheduled speakers including Dr. John Roland, M.D., who will speak about stem cell therapy as requested by some AFAW members; Debra Kerber, owner of Easy Access Travel," Aimee Carpenter from the City of Arlington vector control; Charlotte Canion, author, who will speak on "Re-inventing Yourself After Retirement; and Mayor Jeff Williams, to name a few.
Thanks to Overture Highlands Senior Living Community and Stacy Schooler for providing refreshments for our meeting. The photo below, left to right, Stacy Schooler, Darla Peznell, Elva Roy.
Buddy Pool Update. Further announcements included an update on the Buddy Pool which is a transportation pool of patients and drivers who volunteer to drive each other to medical appointments which involve anesthesia which prevents a patient from driving themselves home after an outpatient or dental procedure). Anyone who would like to be included in the Buddy Pool (even if you just want to volunteer to be a driver) should drop an email note to Elva at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Senior Housing Update. Last year, some AFAW members appeared before the City's Planning & Zoning Commission and then before the City Council in support of two developers who plan to build "affordable" senior apartments in Arlington. Here is what Elva knows about these two new age-restricted, independent living apartment complexes which were built with tax credits from the State and, therefore, some of the apartments will be leased at substantially less than "market rates." No wait list is available yet.
The Residences at Arbor Grove, 1118 Gibbins Rd., Arlington 76011, (126 units) are scheduled to open in late summer or autumn of 2019. Elva took the photo below last week. She spoke with the developer yesterday and they are not taking applications or wait list yet (probably not until late summer). The developer has a Facebook page with more photos available at this link www.facebook.com/residencesatarborgrove/
Secretariat Apartments, 1121 Debbie Ln., Arlington 76002. Mindy Cochran, Exec. Dir. of Arlington Housing Authority provided a recent photo which is pasted below.
Scams Against Older People in Tarrant County. Elva talked about two scams.
Not discussed at Monday's meeting due to time constraint but which you should know:
Letters of Support
We were requested and were happy to provide a letter of support to:
1. Boomer Carrington, Real Estate Developers, who plan to build "affordable" independent living senior apartments near South Cooper @ Harris (in far south Arlington).
2. Professor Ishfaq Ahmad, PhD, from UTA's Computer Science and Engineering Department, requested a Letter of Support to accompany his grant application to the National Science Foundation.
AFAW Leaders Meeting
On the AFAW Leadership team are these wonderful women, so I hope you'll be sure that you get to meet them if you haven't already: Ann Williams, Darla Peznell, Kay Reynolds, Peggy Masters, Sandee Reutebuch, Sharron Merrill.
At a recent Leaders meeting, we talked about two projects which are in the early planning stages which we can talk about at a future meeting:
1. AFAW to sponsor (and will get co-sponsors) a "Patient Safety Week" with a focus on reducing unnecessary medications and educating folks that "Some Meds Don't Get Along." AFAW Leader Darla Peznell, R.N., has personally observed local cases where harm has been done and it is reported by Texas AARP and other organizations that this is a huge problem.
2. "Connection Tables" to be placed around Arlington which would be painted a bright identifiable color (perhaps bright yellow) and anybody who passes by such a table is automatically invited to sit down and share whatever is going on at that table (conversation or whatever). Everyone would know that (s)he is welcome to sit and join in. This is a great opportunity for discussion among multicultural, multiage, multigeography, multiancestry people to promote understanding and to learn from each other or just share a casual laugh together. We're hoping to persuade some local restaurants to also have a "Connection Table" inside the restaurant (also painted yellow or whatever) which is an open invitation to sit there even if someone else is already sitting there. Details to be worked out. Early planning stage.
If you have comments or suggestions about either of the above projects, we would welcome your input. We'll also be discussing this at future meetings and ask for your comments there.
TIPS AND TRICKS
Valentines for Child(ren)/Grandchildren. Elva said she had seen a good idea on Facebook for a way to celebrate Valentine's/Love Day with her 7 y.o. granddaughter. The idea is cut hearts out of colored construction paper and write something positive about the child on 14 different hearts. Using removable double stick tape, stick one heart each day on the child's bedroom door between February 1 and February 14.
eOncor Automatic Status Updates if you want to be texted in case of a power outage and estimated time for restoration. Sign up by texting "REG" to 66267 or go to "My Oncor Alerts" at their website www.oncor.com .
TSA Pre-check to speed through airport Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checks without waiting in line, taking off shoes, etc. Usually the fee is $85 (5 year term) but some credit cards offer this as a free benefit so ask your credit card company whether they do. You can check at www.tsa.gov/precheck/credit-cards-offer but even if you don't see your credit card listed, it wouldn't hurt to ask anyway.
"Shop" your property and health insurance coverage at least every couple of years. Elva said she had not shopped her homeowners/car insurance for five years or so, even though her carrier kept going up on rates (this year saw a 21% increase in Elva's homeowners invoice due February 18, 2019). By "shopping" it herself, she saved $746 for this year (and she didn't do an extensive search...she called one nationally-known insurer and the difference was $746). So it pays to "bother."
We had two interesting speakers this month.
Amanda Robbins, R.N., Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital, Chair of Safe Cities of Fort Worth, and Chair of the Community Board of Tarrant County Adult Protective Services, demonstrated and taught "compression-only" CPR and demonstrated the correct use of an AED device (automated external defibrillator) to use in the event that you are around when someone's heart stops. Lives can be saved. AEDs are in many public places. Elva asked whether someone living with a person known to have heart trouble should buy an AED to keep at home. Amanda said they are expensive (starting at around $1,500), and need to be maintenance checked from time to time so she doesn't know of anyone who keeps one at home (schools, other public buildings, senior living facilities, usually have them available).
Lisa Scruggs, Community Engagement Specialist, Tarrant County Adult Protective Services, shown in the front row above (already trained in CPR) was our second speaker. Lisa explained some of the policies that her agency must abide by when they get reports for elder exploitation, neglect, or abuse. She explained that they don't handle criminal complaints...those go straight to law enforcement. Her agency works closely with the District Attorney's office. She explained the difference between Priority 1, 2, 3, and 4 calls and time to respond to each. Priority 1 calls (serious harm) must get a 24-hour response. Priority 4 (up to 14 days to respond). She said to report a concern the number to call is (800) 252-5400.
It is so disturbing to read of yet another instance of how elders can fall into an inappropriate guardianship situation and to learn how difficult/expensive it is to get the "professional" guardianship overturned. Be sure you understand how this happens and don't let it happen to your beloved elder when your head is turned. Here is the link to an AARP article describing an unfortunate situation in New Mexico, but last month I read about an even more egregious situation where a "professional" for-profit guardianship service was in cahoots with the judge and other lawyers and it was nearly impossible to rescue the elder. bit.ly/2OMTHRY
As a member of the Arlington Parks & Rec EngAGE social group (thank you Kelly Geer and Susie Traylor for coordinating this), I attended a brunch ($10) this morning prepared by the culinary students at the new high school "career center" located on Browning @ Pioneer Parkway. Very impressive. The objective is for every student walking out the door as they graduate to be "work force ready" (qualified and employable from day one).
A student from each program told us about what they're studying and what they hope to do career-wise after graduation.
I was blown away by all the career options they train for. Here are the ones I can recall and I know I won't remember them all:
THANK YOU DAN AND LINDA DIPERT FOR ALL YOU'VE DONE FOR OUR COMMUNITY. YOU GAVE US NOT ONLY THIS FABULOUS FACILITY BUT ALSO THE UTA DAN DIPERT WELCOME CENTER, LINDA BROUGHT THE INTERNATIONAL MARKET HERE, AND I'M SURE THERE IS MUCH MORE THAT I DON'T KNOW ABOUT. YOUR GENEROSITY IS ASTOUNDING AND THE RIPPLES OF YOUR LEGACY WILL ENDURE FOR EONS. I AM ONLY ONE OF 400 THOUSAND ARLINGTON RESIDENTS WHO BENEFIT FROM YOUR EXTREME KINDNESS.
A new law signed on October 10, 2018, makes so-called "gag orders" common in contracts between pharmacies and Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) illegal. PBMs are the powerful middle men between drug manufacturers and pharmacists and until now, many PBM contracts forbade pharmacists from informing customers when it would be less expensive to pay the cash price for a prescription, in lieu of paying the deductible, co-pay, and/or co-insurance required by the customer's insurance. This resulted in the customer frequently overpaying for prescriptions and PBMs pocketed the difference.
Bear in mind that pharmacists are not "required" to tell customers whether a lower price is available UNLESS THE CUSTOMER ASKS.
So don't forget to ask!
The final 2018 Ambassadors For Aging Well meeting was held on October 8. We will continue meetings starting on January 14, 2019.
Elva Roy made a few announcements:
The Ambassadors for Aging Well will meet on Monday, October 8, 1:00-3:00 pm, at 700 E. Abram St., 1st floor Meeting Room, Tarrant County Sub-Courthouse.
At the Ambassadors For Aging Well September meeting, we had Angelina Tucker, DPharm (doctorate in pharmacy) provide flu shots for members, and then Steven Morris from Theatre Arlington (and his marketing director) provided information about the upcoming season.
Elva Roy opened the meeting with a few brief announcements:
Jim Bates. It didn't occur to Elva to take a photo of our first speaker, Jim Bates, until it was too late. That's unfortunate because Jim is such an engaging speaker and he really hit it off with the attendees when he shared his experiences as Board President of the Funeral Consumers Alliance of North Texas, a non-profit. http://www.fcant.org He provided lots of information about what we should expect when a loved one dies and when we're in charge of making final arrangements (plan now, don't wait until someone dies). He gave advice about what funerals should cost, talked about green (natural) burials and gave the locations of the closest "green" cemeteries to Arlington. While providing important and practical information, he had us in stitches multiple times. People were very interested in picking Jim's brain and he was happy to let them do it. Because Jim went to school in Arlington, he knew some of the people in the audience which was fun for him and for them (since he now lives in Watauga and doesn't have a reason to come to Arlington much any more). I have served on the Board with Jim for the last five years and with Jim as my mentor (including traveling to Austin with him to testify before the Texas Funeral Commission one time...but he goes there 4-5x each year), plus doing a lot of self-study, Elva has become an informed consumer when it comes to the funeral industry. At the end of the meeting, a crowd formed around Jim and they were still talking when Elva left at 3:30 pm.
Ryan Hulla. As Coordinator of UTA's Healthy Living and Longevity program for seniors, Ryan told the group about the opportunity to participate in the free program at UTA which helps keep older adults fit and healthy. The program is available for seniors aged 60+ and consists of gentle exercises which work on all of the muscles in your body. Ambassadors member Liz Blunt was kind enough to demonstrate some of the exercises which participants do during classes since she is a "regular" in these classes. A doctor's permission slip is required. The program is held in the air-conditioned UTA "Maverick Activity Center" which is on Cooper Street. Parking is free in the parking garage next to the MAC. They are doing pre-testing this week and next week but Ryan said registration is open most any time after that as well. More information and registration is available by contacting Ryan on his cell phone at (469) 734-4541 or by e-mailing Ryan at email@example.com .
Ann Foss. Our third speaker was Ann Foss, Principal Planner in the City of Arlinton's Office of Strategic Initiatives. Ann came to give us an update on the City's new-ish "ride share" program known as "Via." Some of the interesting facts shared by Ann:
Elva Roy is the Founder & Lead Ambassador of the all-volunteer group "Ambassadors For Aging Well" which meets in Arlington, Texas.