BOOK REVIEW. Elva gave a short review of a new book (released 8/22/17) she just finished reading entitled The End of Alzheimer's: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline by Dale Bredesen, M.D. (neuroscientist and professor at UCLA, Buck Institute). Dr. Bredesen claims to have reversed completely or at least significantly reversed symptoms of dementia for people in the early/mid-stage of Alzheimer's disease who follow his rather strict protocol which he calls the "ReCODE" (Reverse Cognitive Decline) protocol.
Some of the components of the ReCODE protocol involve diet (low carb, no processed food), physical exercise, brain exercise, detox poisons from your body (eat cilantro, sweat out toxins in a sauna, etc.), and he recommends getting your DNA report from "23andMe.com" to determine whether you might have one or two copies of the ApoE4 gene variant (can inherit one copy from each parent...some people inherited none, some inherited one copy and some inherited two copies). If you were unlucky enough to have inherited one or two copies of this gene, your chances of getting dementia increase.
Elva consulted with Dr. Peter Whitehouse, M.D./PhD (author of The Myth of Alzheimer's: What You're Not Being Told About the Most Dreaded Diagnosis) to get his opinion about Bredesen's book. Dr. Whitehouse's opinion and Elva's opinion are the same. It's a very optimistic view/title and won't work for everyone (because our individual body chemistry is very different) but everything on the protocol contributes to a healthy lifestyle and certainly won't harm anybody, so why not try the protocol? Dr. Bredesen does make the point that it won't do to "go halfway" on the protocol. You need to follow it to the letter to get the expected results. Elva noted that at least Dr. Bredesen is not "selling" herbs/supplements even though he recommends taking some.
1. Member Kay Reynolds, recently retired school teacher and healthy lifestyle promoter extraordinaire, talked to the group about harmful chemicals which are present in our everyday lives. She recommended that we learn about how to avoid some of the worst chemicals by reviewing the website maintained by the "Environmental Working Group" and sponsored by the USDA. The link to their free website is www.ewg.org and there is valuable information housed there, including a free water report for review by putting in your own zip code. I found Arlington's water report at this link http://bit.ly/2fb8baT
2. Boomer Benefits VP and Medicare expert, Danielle Kunkle, unpacked some of Medicare's complexities for us. She explained the differences between original Medicare, original Medicare with a Supplement Plan (aka "Medigap), Prescription Drug Plan, and Medicare Advantage (including some plans which include vision, hearing, and dental insurance for an extra premium). She explained why she normally recommends Medigap Plan G instead of Plan F (same coverage except for 2017, Plan G has a deductible of $183 and Plan F has $0.0 deductible but the monthly premium is higher for Plan F). The net savings is ~$300/yr to buy Plan G instead of Plan F but she said some people opt for Plan F, even knowing that it will cost more because they want the peace of mind that they will not be receiving a bill for any of their medical coverage, not even a $183 one-time bill). We all learned a lot, and after her talk, Danielle stuck around to answer individual questions on a one-to-one basis.
WELCOME. Elva welcomed everybody attending and thanked Kathy Wilkinson and Stacy Schooler from Overture Highlands for providing refreshments for our meeting. As is customary, Overture Highlands was given 5 minutes at the mic to tell us about their new luxury independent living senior apartments in exchange for providing refreshments for our meeting. This new complex will be a wonderful asset for many of Arlington's residents.
MUSICAL MEMORY SINGERS. Though not in time to be on the Agenda, Elva introduced Velma Bogart, leader extraordinaire, who has taken over the leadership of the community chorus (now called "Musical Memory Singers") for people with Alzheimer's/other dementias, which we've been discussing in our meetings for over six months. Velma spoke briefly about where we are and what is needed. We need volunteers mostly to spread the word that the chorus is forming. The first public meeting and brief rehearsal (just to give a taste of what we're about) will be held at the Pantego Lion's Club, 3535 Marathon St., Arlington, 9:30-11:00 am on Thursday, October 5 and everybody is invited to come check us out. No auditions. Singing in a group is not scary (and don't worry if you, like me, can't carry a tune in a bucket...we're all about the fun of singing). Please plan to join us. Ambassadors member Kay Reynolds has graciously agreed to be President of the 501c3 Board of Directors that is forming. Dana Lobough is Artistic Director. Questions can be directed to Elva or to Velma's email address which is email@example.com .
KINDNESS INITIATIVE. Elva spoke briefly about Mayor Williams' kindness initiative for our City and how the "Ask Arlington" smartphone app is set up to receive notifications about acts of kindness performed by Arlington citizens. You can download the app on your iPhone from iTunes or your Android phone from the Google Play Store (search for "Ask Arlington"). The City's goal is to log 400,000 acts of kindness and Elva asked all Ambassadors to participate and she passed out a list of 50 small acts of kindness, many of which don't cost anything. Elva is going to do #46 and #50 on the list and will report on "Ask Arlington" when that is done.[Note: No. 46 was done and reported on Ask Arlington.] If you were not in attendance and would like to receive the list of suggestions, just email Elva firstname.lastname@example.org and she'll email it to you.
TRANSPORTATION. Member Peggy Masters gave a quick update on the Mayor's Transportation Advisory Committee ("TAC") which Peggy has been serving on as a representative of the Ambassadors group. She said the final report is expected to be delivered to Mayor and Council in September. She said that there aren't any quick fixes and that the report will focus on solutions that are long-term. All of the Ambassadors members are interested in what the TAC is going to recommend for Arlington.
PROJECT UPDATE. A quick update on the Ambassadors' Top 5 Projects (out of 11 identified Projects) was given by Elva. The Top 5 Projects are:
The balance of the Agenda was not covered because of time constraints but will be covered at a future meeting.
COMMUNITY HOSPICE. Three representatives from Community Hospice (Robin Carter, Karen Godfrey M.D., and Parrish Horton R.N., gave a very interesting talk about hospice in general and about their own hospice service specifically. We learned that Community Hospice is the largest non-profit hospice in Texas and that they never turn anybody away, regardless of ability to pay. They offer in-patient service (at their own facilities) and in-home services. They are the only pediatric hospice in the DFW area. A member from the audience asked the question about what's the difference between a "for profit" and a "non-profit" organization. Remember that "for profit" corporations must satisfy their shareholders and give them the highest return on their investment (returning part of the profit to shareholders). A non-profit does not need to pay shareholders and thus the pressure to earn big profits is much reduced. The only way to earn profits is to charge the most $$ that the market will bear and deliver less service for the same $$.
Ambassadors Meeting 7/10/17
First of all - good news! At the Planning & Zoning Commission last evening, the Ambassadors had a good representation in support of the two "affordable senior apartment complexes" on the Agenda. Both (i) "Residence at Arbor Grove" 126-unit brought by OVP Group on Gibbins Rd (near Cooper@Randol Mill) and (ii) "Secretariat, 74-unit complex brought by NRP Group on Debbie Ln (between 360 and Collins) were approved and move to City Council for final approval at the City Council Meeting on August 8. We expect that City Council will give their final approval and then the developers will have to obtain the tax credits administered by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (VERY COMPETITIVE). Developers who want to provide affordable housing to seniors must jump through a lot more hoops than those developers who offer "market rate" apartments or "luxury" apartments for seniors. I SO appreciate developers who are willing to go through all government approval processes (!) in order to offer "affordable" options to seniors who can no longer endure the upkeep of a house. OVP and NRP could ignore the "affordable" market and just focus on "market rate" and/or "luxury" because they both build complexes for those markets, but they don't. So I say "thank you" (!) to them.
Combined, these two developments only offer 200 "affordable" apartments which is a drop in the bucket but it's a start. Each of these developers has a stellar reputation for the senior apartments they have developed in other cities and I hope they will come back to this area (either in Arlington or a contiguous municipality) to propose more "affordable" apartments.
So now, to "recap" Monday's meeting of the Ambassadors:
Elva Roy with the Prop 1 Victory Cake
1:00 Elva Roy showed a PowerPoint about how hospitals are ranked and rated. Which are the top ranked hospitals in the U.S. for various conditions/disease/afflictions and which in DFW are highest ranked, and which in Arlington are highest rated (and for what). This info is available at http://health.usnews.com/best-hospitals Elva tried to upload her PowerPoint with this information but got an error message. If you want the PowerPoint just drop Elva an email request and she'll gladly send it to you. email@example.com
2:00. Jacqueline Flynt, J.D., Executive Director of Dispute Resolution Services of North Texas spoke about services available to residents to help them resolve disputes through mediation (which is different from arbitration). Jacque explained what medication is and what kinds of cases it can help resolve (family matters, disputes with retailers, disputes between neighbors, etc.). She explained that the costs are so much lower and disputes can be resolved so much quicker than going to court to resolve a dispute. If the dispute involves charges for under $10,000, the fee is only $15 for each party, etc. Elva mentioned that years ago, she was a volunteer mediator with DRS North Texas. More info can be found at:
Dispute Resolution Services of North Texas, Inc.
4304 Airport Freeway, Suite 100
Fort Worth, Texas 76117
Great job Ambassadors! We did it! Some of us gathered for a fun Election Watch Party tonight at Havana Bar & Grill. We left elated at the results: 69% in favor of the bond to fund the new world-class senior activity center; 31% against. We are going to have so much fun at the new Center and we know that it will help Arlington's older residents to age-at-home for longer than they could if they had no place like this to exercise and socialize. Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make this happen, including, but not limited to, Mayor Jeff Williams, Councilman Charlie Parker, and Councilwoman Kathryn Wilemon.
Above photo is Elva Roy being interviewed by Zack Maxwell, Editor of the Arlington Voice. His article can be viewed at this link https://arlingtonvoice.com/arlington/politics
The PowerPoint used for the discussion tonight is available upon request from you to firstname.lastname@example.org The PowerPoint is pretty much self-explanatory and lists some interesting Arlington historical and other sites to visit, including a list of relatively unknown Arlington restaurants recommended by the Star-Telegram columnist, Bud Kennedy at the recent "Arlington on Tap" meeting hosted by O.K. Carter and Mark Joeckel. I tried to embed the PowerPoint into this Recap, but it "hung" and didn't load.
Announcements - Elva Roy
1:00 Ingrid and John Sullivan, Downsizing Experts, (and members of the Ambassadors group from the beginning) gave us a very interesting presentation on "downsizing" from a larger home than we might need into smaller living quarters. They defined for us some terms such as
Book suggestion. I mentioned a book on organizing and decluttering a home that I found helpful and which has sold millions of copies around the world, called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. If you search her name, you will see that she wrote a subsequent book and also there are YouTube videos about her methods of organizing. Highly recommended.
2:00 City Councilman Charlie Parker came to talk about Proposition 1 on the upcoming May 6 ballot to fund the construction of a new "active senior adult center" in Arlington to be located on the east side of west Green Oaks Blvd, just north of Arkansas Lane. The City owns a 36-acre tract of land at this location and the land not needed for the new Center will be leased to commercial developers with the lease fees expected to offset some of the maintenance and operating expense of the Center after construction. Charlie has been a tireless supporter of seniors in Arlington and has made sure that the City Council pays attention to its older residents who have given (and continue to give) much to this City (not only in taxes, but in untold thousands of volunteer labor hours). Charlie said that Arlington will have 80,000 seniors 65+ next year, and >100,000 who are 50+. And he said "Seniors deserve this new Center." I couldn't agree more. Thank you, Charlie!
Important - 3 Things: (1) Recycle Tour Date/Time; (2) FAQ Document for Proposition 1 (new active senior adult center) on May 6 ballot; (3) reminder of April 10 monthly meeting
1. Republic Recycle Tour Date is Friday, April 7, 10:30 am. The address is 6100 Elliott Reeder Rd, Fort Worth 76117. Twenty-three people expressed an interest in going but this date might not suit everyone. You can drive directly there or if you are interested in carpooling, we can meet in the vicinity of Interstate 30 at Fielder Road and go from there (let me know if you'd like to carpool or caravan). Republic has requested a head count, so please drop me an email if you expect to go. Also, it is not too late to RSVP even if you didn't do so before. Just drop me an email if you want to go at email@example.com .
2. FAQs available. The City of Arlington posted two FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) documents regarding the two propositions on the upcoming May 6 ballot. Proposition 1 is regarding the proposed new, world-class, stand-alone, age-qualified active senior adult center and a "FOR" vote on Prop 1 provides funding for the new center (please be sure to VOTE). On the FAQ, you will see the City's answer to the question "Will this raise my taxes?" And the City's answer is "No" as you can read for yourself. Proposition 2 regards the firefighter's request to be governed by State Civil Service. You can read both FAQ docs at this link http://www.arlington-tx.gov/news/2017/03/31/arlington-releases-faqs-may-2017-propositions/
3. Upcoming Ambassadors meeting. Our regular monthly afternoon Ambassadors meeting is on Monday, April 10, 1:00-3:00 pm, 700 E. Abram St., 1st floor Meeting Room (Tarrant County Sub-Courthouse). Our 1:00 speaker(s) will be John/Ingrid Sullivan, downsizing experts; and our 2:00 speaker will be City Councilman Charlie Parker who will speak about the proposed new active senior adult center. I look forward to seeing you at the meeting!
Today, Arlington tried something new...an expanded and larger senior expo than any held before in our City. The difference between today's Expo and the previous ones held at the Eunice Senior Activity Center is that at today's Expo, there was continuous entertainment going on with something interesting happening all over the Bob Duncan campus, plus free lunches for the attendees.
A continuous schedule of interesting speakers (including the keynote speaker, O.K. Carter, former editor of the Arlington Citizen Journal newspaper) was happening in one room with seating for 100 people, while there were activity demonstrations outside for yoga, zumba, and other such fun stuff; door prize drawings in the main exhibitor hall, and plenty of vendors to show off what they do/sell.
The Ambassadors For Aging Well bought an exhibitor table so we could tell attendees about our group and also ask for support for Proposition 1 on the upcoming May 6 election ballot (to fund the construction of a new world class, stand-alone, age-qualified active senior adult center.
In Arlington's Mayor Jeff Williams' welcoming remarks, he said that many seniors told him that they want a new senior activity center like The Summit in Grand Prairie and now they have a chance to express that desire, if they so choose, on the upcoming May 6 ballot [Note: voting "FOR" Proposition 1 will create the funding to build the new active senior adult center. Nearly everyone I spoke to at the Expo was enthusiastic about supporting the new senior center, so please don't fail to vote in the upcoming election.]
I served on the Planning Committee for the Expo and I am delighted to say that attendance exceeded the Committee's expectations. We were hoping to attract 800 "come and go" attendees and by 11:00, over 1000 attendees had come and the aisles were crowded with interested Arlington residents. I will get the final count at the debrief meeting of the Planning Committee next week but it was obvious that the turnout was VERY GOOD.
The only complaints I heard about the Expo from attendees were (1) there was too much going on at the same time (which is a good thing to me, leave 'em wanting more, and they'll come back next year); several people said they wanted to hear ALL of the speakers but they couldn't do that AND participate in the zumba activity outside AND hear the door prize numbers being read off, AND visit with the exhibitors; and (2) the sandwiches in the box lunches were too small.
A special thank you to Ambassadors members Sylvia Barrett, Dee Woods, Peggy Masters, and Jannette London for helping to staff the Ambassdors vendor table today!
Elva Roy is the Lead Ambassador of the all-volunteer group "Ambassadors For Aging Well" which meets in Arlington, Texas.