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:
Sixty people came to our July 9 meeting, mainly to participate in our two very good programs which are described briefly below the announcements.
Elva Roy opened the meeting with a few short announcements:
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. Our first program at the July 9 meeting was carried out by Melissa Roseboro (shown at the mic above), a nutritionist, and other team members from the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service who presented their "Dinner Tonight" program. The purpose of their program is to encourage people to cook and eat "in" instead of eating "out," because it's usually healthier when you control your recipes and know exactly what ingredients went into a certain dish. Saves money too, even when cooking for only one or two people. They prepared and served each Ambassador samples of a summer salad, a turkey sausage brown rice casserole entre, a cauliflower/parsnip/sweet potato side dish, and a rich, chocolate cake for dessert. Delicioso! They gave each attendee a printed cookbook containing recipes for all of the sampled food and lots more interesting and inexpensive recipes (great color glossy photos of each recipe). Thanks to Aldo Fritz, CEO of Downtown Arlington Management Corporation for making the introduction to the AgriLife Extension Service personnel.
[As an aside, Elva attended a different AgriLife Extension program last week in Dallas on the subject of bed bugs. Three hours! I expected to leave early but sat in my chair mesmerized. The A&M entomologist who spoke was very interesting, as well as two pest control persons, and an attorney from Legal Aid. I learned why bed bugs have become such a problem since 2000 and what to do about it. Thank goodness I haven't had any bed bugs (knock on wood), but I will follow the advice of the entomologist to never put luggage on a hotel bed or on the floor. Instead put luggage in the hotel bath tub or at least on the metal folding luggage rack. More to come. I intend to ask him to speak at a future Ambassadors meeting.]
Our second speaker, Mary Ann Contreras, R.N., and her sidekick Sheryl (also a trauma nurse), from John Peter Smith Health Network, put us to work--learning. Using the principles developed in the national "Stop the Bleed" program, Mary Ann taught us how to save the life of a person should we ever find ourselves involved in a traumatic injury situation with no emergency personnel readily available. She taught us what to do before the emergency personnel arrive to stop a person from "bleeding out" unnecessarily. She also handed out Stop the Bleed kits so we could learn how to use various tourniquets and other supplies. She taught us how to make our own emergency kits to carry in our cars, just in case the unthinkable happens.
Last Words from Elva:
Remember our next meeting will be Monday, August 13, 1:00-3:00 pm, at our usual location of 700 E. Abram St., Arlington. A short reminder email will be sent out the week before. We have some good speakers lined up!
Announcements at Meeting:
Corey Callaway, Callaway Financial Services, www.callawayfinancial.com/ gave the group an update on what's happening with interest rates, stock markets, bond markets, etc., and his opinion about what to expect in the near term. He also talked about the importance of keeping your end-of-life documentation current, informing your spouse about where all of the online accounts are and how to access them. Corey told us that Texas enacted its version of the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (RUFADAA) on June 1, 2017. This helps an executor/personal representative (named in a Will) or an agent (Power of Attorney) to gain access to a decedent's digital assets such as social media accounts, emails, etc. provided that the Will or POA specifically confers that intent with explicit language. We appreciated the updated education on financial matters.
Will Callans and Annabel Luna from John Peter Smith Health Network's "Geriatric Service Line" introduced us to services at JPS which are specifically geared for older adults. Many of us "active seniors" who attend the Ambassadors meetings are not yet needing some of the services described but it's comforting to know that when and if they are needed, JPS has "thought ahead" and is providing services especially planned and innovated for older people who are frail or who may have a neurocognitive disorder such as Alzheimer's disease. A special part of the Emergency Department is reserved for older people in order to reduce confusion and distraction and fear. Signage in the hospital has been improved to help elders find their way through the hospital. JPS has a geriatric clinic called the "Magnolia Clinic" which is age-restricted and uses specialists to serve older people. We learned about JPS being the only Trauma One (highest level of trauma expertise) Emergency Department in Tarrant County. And we learned that the Joint Commission has certified JPS as a NICHE hospital (Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders) and for SEPSIS infection (meaning they have taken every possible step to avoid patients picking up a "nosocomial" aka "hospital-acquired" sepsis infection. [Note: Elva has read that nearly 50% of all deaths occurring in U.S. hospitals are due to sepsis, so this is an urgent threat and JPS took action when others have not.].
LATE NOTES FROM ELVA:
Service. This week Elva completed her two-year term as Chair of the Advisory Council of the Tarrant County Area Agency on Aging and also completed her service on the Board of Directors of United Way of Tarrant County.
Lonestar Solutions Org (for autistic children). On 6/20, Elva was invited by Kathleen Lively, Executive Director, to attend a "parents meeting" of the autistic students who attend therapy dayschool for early intervention at Lonestar Solutions in Arlington. Elva is always interested in neurodiversity and enjoyed meeting and listening to the experiences of the parents. The parents at the meeting were interested in hearing about the "Take Me Home" program that the Ambassadors team has brought forward and which is being worked on by Commissioner Andy Nguyen's office. Lonestar Solutions is affiliated with Cleveland Clinic, one of the premiere health systems in the country. More info at www.lonestarsolutions.org
A Matter of Balance Coach Training
Become a certified Coach for this nationally recognized evidence-based
fall prevention program for older adults. The program helps individuals
60 and older manage concerns about falls and increase physical activity.
Date: June 12, 2018
Time: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Location: Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital Mid-Cities,
2304 Hwy 121, Bedford, TX 76021, First Floor Conference Room
Breakfast will be provided by Encompass Health.
Lunch will be provided by Brookdale Senior Living.
To register call 817-413-4949 ext 226 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
A Matter of Balance: Managing Concerns About Falls
Criteria for Leadership
Confidentiality, Community, & Record Keeping
If interested in becoming A Matter of Balance Coach, please contact:
Christina Bartha, 817-413-4949 or email@example.com
For those of you who have enjoyed learning/practicing free Tai Chi lessons with instructor Greg Ellis, you will be happy to know that Greg will continue teaching on Saturdays in June at Veteran's Park in Arlington. Everybody is welcome and there is no charge to attend.
Here are the details:
8:00-9:00 am, Veteran's Park, 3600 W. Arkansas Lane, Arlington. Look for Greg at the stage southwest of the memorial statue/parking area.
(Caption for photos above: First 3 photos above show stand-alone small houses (mostly 1 or 2 BR, 1 BA); the interior shot is of the Avion Village office; the open field shot is an open, undeveloped park area; the 2 red brick shots are apartment buildings (~20 buildings, I didn't count them); the last photo is the retail area across Belt Line Rd. from the apartments.)
Yesterday, in the swimming pool at The Summit (active senior activity center in Grand Prairie), I met a friendly woman who told me that she has lived in an Avion Village apartment (1 BR, 1 BA) for the last 8 years. She said the apartments are not all that nice, but they're quiet and safe, no issues among tenants, and she likes living there). She said over 8 years, her rent has increased only from $325/month to $375/month!
So I went to check out the "Village" and to document my findings for any interested Ambassadors. They don't advertise at all and have a wait list and Amanda in the office wouldn't say "how long the typical wait is" but when I asked if it's "like 2 years?," she said, "Oh, not THAT long." No vacancies now. When I asked about crime, Amanda said "Extremely minimal. Everybody knows their neighbors here and looks after each other."
Here is a link to their website www.avionvillage.net/ and an online Application Form can be found here. If you complete an Application Form and take them a $75 non-refundable Application Fee, when a vacancy opens, the Office will call you to view the available unit. There is no obligation to accept the vacancy. If you decline it, you will remain on the wait list for the next vacancy. Amanda said it's not like a typical lease agreement where you renew every year. Once you're in, you're in until you decide to leave (most of the vacancies are created by young people leaving to follow a job or to move to larger quarters due to growing family). When you want to leave, you provide 30 days' notice to the Office and that's it.
A bit more information can be found on their Facebook page at this link https://bit.ly/2Iz10dv
So here's the scoop.
We had a good workout today at the free Tai Chi lessons that we've been sponsoring, along with Downtown Arlington Management Corporation. A group of Chinese young men visiting UTA were walking by and two of them snapped selfies with Tai Chi participants in the background exclaiming "I want to show my friends in China that Americans do Tai Chi!" The free lessons continue on Saturdays through May 26 at 201 E. Abram Street, and then Greg Ellis, our master instructor, will continue free lessons on Saturday mornings starting at 8:00 am at Veterans Park at the bandshell stage there for the month of June.
Elva Roy made the following announcements:
1. Carol Marak, www.carolmarak.com , spoke about the various stages of aging and actions we need to take at the various stages, such as planning future living arrangements, care plans when assistance will be needed, etc. She invited any "elder orphans" to join her private Facebook page called "Elder Orphans." If you don't know the term "Elder Orphan," a synonym would be "solo ager." It describes someone who is aging alone and who doesn't have family or close friends to call on when help is needed. Carol emphasized the fact that we need to team up and take care of each other.
2. Jay Warren, Marketing Communications Manager for the City of Arlington, gave an update on various initiatives going on within the city. He invited us Ambassadors to become "digital ambassadors" by spreading the word about events and activities going on within the city. We can sign up by visiting this website www.arlingtontx.gov/dreamteam .
Lastly, Elva is seeking an Arlington veterinarian to come speak to us about caring for our pets in the hot summer months (flea/tick control, itching, etc.). This was a member's request from 2017. If you know a vet who would like to speak, please alert Elva at (817) 557-5700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Richard/Sharron Merrill / Proclamation "Older Adults Month" / Tai Chi
Tai Chi. Don't forget to come to Tai Chi beginner lessons on every Saturday in May, through May 26, 9:30 am - 10:30 am, 201 E. Abram St., Arlington.
Ambassadors. Also, you won't want to miss the regular monthly meeting of the Ambassadors on May 7, 1:00-3:00 pm, 700 E. Abram St., where we will have two good speakers. First up will be Carol Marak, writer and expert on senior issues, and creator of the "Elder Orphans/Solo Seniors" Facebook pages. Second speaker will be Jay Warren, former television news anchor and currently serves the City of Arlington as Manager of Communications.
Refreshments will be provided by Ambassadors' member Elizabeth McPherson. Thank you!
In Memoriam. Richard Merrill struggled with esophageal cancer and his suffering ended on Friday, 4/6/18, leaving behind his beloved wife of 55 years, Sharron. Elva Roy opened the Ambassadors meeting with 60 seconds of silence in memory of Richard and in support of Sharron as she endures Richard's absence and tries to adjust to her life which will be very different. Many members at the Monday's meeting expressed their sadness that we will no longer see Richard's smiling face at our meetings. He was on the Ambassadors' Leadership Team and was always "there" to do any task and to offer cogent ideas about various topics. We will all miss him greatly and Elva said that Richard was always one of her biggest supporters and also a vocal supporter of our Ambassadors group. He always "showed up" and is irreplaceable in our meetings and in our hearts.
Request your attendance at the City Council meeting on Tuesday, April 24, 6:15 pm. Mayor Williams will present the Ambassadors a Proclamation where he proclaims the month of May as "Older Adults Month." Sponsored every May by the federal Administration on Aging. More info at this link https://bit.ly/2FHK9js
Elva hopes for a good turnout to receive the proclamation (red shirt if you have one, if not, no worries). It's your chance to see the new City Council chambers at 101 W. Abram St. (parking garage west of City Hall at 101 Center St., or along Front St). And...good news...proclamations are done at the beginning of the Council Meeting so you don't have to stay for the whole thing...you can be home before dark.
Reminder about change of meeting dates for May and June. Because the County needs the use of our regular Meeting Room on the 2nd Monday of May and June, our meeting schedule for those months was moved. In May, we will meet on the 1st Monday (5/7/18) and in June we will meet on the 3rd Monday (6/18/18). Same time (1:00-3:00 pm) and same 1st floor Meeting Room at the Tarrant County Sub-Courthouse, 700 E. Abram St. Mark your calendars now, please, so you won't waste a trip on the wrong date.
Tai Chi classes are on hold until a location is found. The Levitt Pavilion is not available due to their heavy entertainment schedule. More info to come.
Stem Cell Therapy. Elva took a vote from the members present at the meeting about whether they wanted to hear a speaker from Neuropathy & Pain Centers of Texas at a future meeting. Elva said that on the company's website, they were promoting stem cell therapy by chiropractors and Elva has made it no secret that she is skeptical of stem cell therapy claims. The members voted that they were not interested in having a speaker from this company so Elva will let them know that they don't fit the educational profile that we seek for our meetings.
Think Positive Thoughts About Getting Older. Elva mentioned some new research coming out of Yale University showing that a positive attitude about growing older can help stave off dementia. Anyone interested in reading more about it can click on this link bit.ly/2BPN8bc Elva reminded the group that one of the primary purposes of the Ambassadors is to reinforce the knowledge that growing older is both good and bad (just like every decade of human life). We need to keep a positive attitude about aging and it's not that hard to do because we can control our thoughts (regardless of what we see on television and magazines which try to convince us that aging is an unnatural thing that we must "fight"...how silly is that!). Every face is beautiful, with or without the newest anti-aging cream. We are made to look exactly how we look and it's good!
Smart Senior Series continues at the Bob Duncan Center, 2800 S. Center St., Arlington, 2:00 pm. No charge. On April 19 the program is "Be Smart About Downsizing" and this session will be led by John and Ingrid Sullivan, members of this Ambassadors group, and new authors of a book titled The Ultimate Guide to Downsizing: Downsize Your Life to Upsize Your Lifestyle. Available on Amazon.
Tips & Tricks
1. Kimberley Maxwell, Urban Development Specialist, Arlington Housing Authority, email email@example.com or phone (817) 276-6742 . Kimberley spoke about programs for grants and/or "forgivable loans" for bringing homes of low-income residents up to City code compliance (central heat/air, plumbing, electrical, dilapidated fence, barrier removal for disabled persons including widening doorways, building ramps). Elderly and disabled persons receive priority on the wait list which currently is somewhere around 2.5 years. Exceptions may be available for "emergency repairs." To discuss a specific situation, reach out to Kimberley who will be glad to assist. Income limit examples are: Household size 1 person $40,000/year; 2 persons $45,700; 3 persons $51,400. "Income" is considered for qualification, not "assets."
Kimberley Maxwell from Arlington Housing Authority
2. Celia Brannon and Sharon ( ) from WellBridge Healthcare spoke about their programs. Their facility is at 6200 Overton Ridge Blvd, Fort Worth, TX 76132. Their inpatient mental health facility is limited to people aged 50+. The outpatient facility is available to those aged 18+. They treat substance use disorder (alcohol, opioids, illegal drugs) and they also treat depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and other disorders. A link to their website is here http://www.wellbridgefortworth.com/ Celia spoke for a few minutes about how to tell when professional help is called for versus just having a "down in the dumps" day or week. For further information, Celia's email address is Celia.Brannon@wellbridgehealthcare.com
Elva Roy is the Lead Ambassador of the all-volunteer group "Ambassadors For Aging Well" which meets in Arlington, Texas.