Speakers. At Monday's meeting we had two very good speakers. I failed to get a photo of Martin Noto, President and CEO of First Financial Bank who spoke to us about exploitation of elders in Tarrant County. Very interesting talk. The District Attorney's office says that the #1 risk in Tarrant County is from gypsies (Roma) who come around asking to do yard work or other chores and then try to overcharge elders for the work performed and threaten them if they don't comply. He shared lots of other information, including who are the culprits who mostly bilk elders out of their life savings (No. 1 is a family member, and No. 2 is a caregiver). He emphasized the importance of getting help from a trusted person when taking care of financial matters becomes overwhelming or confusing. Don't be afraid to ask for help. He talked about a situation that happened just last Friday at his bank where one of their elder female customers came into the bank, talking on her cell phone, and she pushed a note to the personal banker saying that she needed nine Cashier's Checks, each for $1,000, and gave a payee name. The customer claimed that the IRS was on the phone and if she didn't send them the checks, they were sending the police to the woman's house. The banker had a hard time convincing the woman that it was a scam and to "hang up" but finally the woman hung up and the checks weren't sent ("this time"....but the customer's "fear" doesn't portend well for her financial security in the future). Never, ever, ever, send a cashier's check, wire transfer, cash, or any other payment to someone who calls you on the phone trying to scare you into sending them money (including to bail your grandchild out of jail or to get a friend of yours home from an international destination when her wallet was supposedly stolen). [Scammers who prey on vulnerable people should be strung up by their thumbs (Elva's rant)].
Denise Wilkerson, an Arlington attorney employed by Easter Seals, spoke about enforcement of accessibility laws/regulations. She gave an overview of the applicable federal and state laws on several disability subjects, excluding transit regulations, but otherwise including "service animals" (dogs are the only "service animals" under Texas law). She said retailers are allowed to ask only 2 questions if someone wants to bring a service animal into an establishment: (1) "Is this is service dog?" and (2) "What tasks is this dog trained to perform?" "Emotional support" animals are not "service animals" and are not allowed, regardless of the recent publicity about a silly lady trying to take a peacock onto an airplane as an "emotional support" animal. I'm not sure of the point the lady was trying to make but it has caused the airlines to amend their rules.
The Ambassadors found both topics interesting and had lots of questions for the experts which the speakers graciously answered.
Photo of Denise Wilkerson, J.D.
Master instructor Greg Ellis is in the green shirt at the front of the group.
And the doctors that Elva is phone/email buddies with, including Dr. Peter Whitehouse, M.D./PhD (author of the book The Myth of Alzheimer's: What You Aren't Being Told About Today's Most Dreaded Diagnosis, available at Amazon here https://www.amazon.com/Myth-Alzheimers-Todays-Dreaded-Diagnosis-ebook/dp/B000V770GE/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1520980875&sr=8-3&keywords=peter+whitehouse) and Dr. Bill Thomas, M.D. (renowned geriatrician and author of 14 books on aging http://amzn.to/2Isup5t ) agree that it's much more important to furnish support to people living with dementia and to their care partners (offer respite care if you know someone living with dementia/care partner) than for a doctor to offer them a pill or patch.
Elva Roy is the Lead Ambassador of the all-volunteer group "Ambassadors For Aging Well" which meets in Arlington, Texas.