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CCV Expands Membership at Second JCC Open House (7/8/15)

CCV Expands Membership at Second JCC Open House
by Tom Knutsen
July 8, 2015

One more Capital City Village open house, two more members. On the last day of June, the Dell Jewish Community Center and WellMed partnered with CCV to sponsor an open house in the JCC’s meeting room. It was the second time the JCC has opened itself to CCV, the first was in December.

Despite a sudden and sustained late afternoon downpour, 21 people including nine first-time visitors showed up for the information session. Following a half-hour social hour where CCV members greeted guests, the center’s program coordinator, Annie Skelton, kicked off the program, welcoming all to the JCC. She introduced Executive Director Bonnie Gilson, who explained the purpose of CCV and then illustrated it by showing the CBS video about aging the Village Movement.

Next was a great surprise. George Mading, who joined CCV after the South Austin Open House in May, stood up saying he wanted to speak. “I didn’t clear this with Bonnie,” he began. George went to say that he is a profession skeptic — he is a retired fraud investigator for the Internal Revenue Service. When his wife, Betty, told him about CCV, he said he was deeply suspicious of its intent. Having looked into it, though, he stated the organization truly helps people and he is glad he joined.

“He is going to be helping us with our background checks,” quipped Bonnie.

Former president Sue Hoffman and then current president Kay McHorse detailed the development of the village movement and creation of the virtual community here in Austin.

Once the formal presentation ended, Sam and Beth Williams joined on the spot. Several other visitors asked for the flyers explaining membership costs and benefits.

A useful note is that two visitors said they heard about Capital City Village on KMFA! Our advertising works!

Yard Project Photos

Members Sue and Mart Hoffman and David Gamble and Volunteer Ross Bassinger assist Member Nellie Tellez with some sweaty yard work!

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CCV Visit to Ransom Center World at War Exhibit (3/4/14)

CCV Visit to Ransom Center World at War Exhibit (3/4/14)
By Mavis Waggoner

On Tuesday, March 4th, CCV members visited Harry Ransom Center to explore the World At War 1914-1918 exhibit. We were led by an enthusiastic and engaging docent, the Center was extremely gracious, and our good turnout did us proud. We revisited the political reasons why Europe was such a powder keg and what set off the fuse. The artifacts displayed gave us the flavor of the time and the challenges people faced, both at home and on the front. We recommend the exhibit for one and all. The Center has easy physical access, has stable camp stools available for a break from standing, and there is no entrance fee.

Thanks to member Sara Moore who arranged for the tour. She is also spearheading the creation of a CCV interest group focused on “the perpetually fascinating subject of war.” For more information, contact her via email.

Capital City Village Provider Fair Wrap Up

Capital City Village Provider Fair Wrap Up
by Tom Knutsen
December 4, 2013

If you missed the Capital City Village Provider Fair two weeks ago, you missed a special opportunity to take advantage of one of our most significant projects – developing a list of reputable service providers often recommended by our members or volunteer members. You could have met with two different law firms specializing in the needs Seniors have in estate planning and protection. Or met with a financial planner. Or met specialists in mental or physical health. Or re-modelers or movers. (You can check out the list of provider attendees here.)

You even could have met a guy who’ll watch your house when you go out of town, making sure all works well in your absence.

In planning the fair, Member and Public Relations Director Ericca Long planned for a wide-ranging group of providers. She got it; lawyers, financial planners, handymen, therapists.

I showed up as volunteer reporter, intent on learning who was there and why or how. If you think about our Village, a good question to ask any member, visitor, or provider, is “How did you learn about us?” I’m always curious about that.

I went to learn, and I found more: relief.

Jon Sullivan, Cen-Tex Senior Massage, LLC patted his massage table as I approached, “Hop up, We’ll see what we can find,” he said. Gently but firmly he moved across my shoulder muscles, quickly finding the walnut embedded in my right trapezius, or shoulder muscle. “Let’s see,” Mr. Sullivan said, and asked me to turn my head different directions, down left, right, etc., as he pressed with power against the shoulder.

After a few moments, “Ah,” I said, “You got it.” The knot released.

Mr. Sullivan, as he pressed on my body, told me he has specialized on massage therapy for seniors for more than twenty years. He told of a patient, late eighties, suffering from dementia, and stooped, whom he treats regularly. He said he works on releasing the fascia, the outer tissue that ties muscles together, because relaxing it improves motion and flexibility. After each session, he said, his patient is a little straighter, a little more coherent for a time.

With muscles, he explained, “Time is the like the pages of a book. With older people, the pages stick together.”

I guess I need to say, “Turn the page” when I start to get out of bed in the morning.

Directly across Yarbrough Library’s meeting room from him, Catherine Hotard, LMSW, had her simple display. A Licensed Master Social Worker, Ms. Hotard offers counseling services, skills she said she honed helping residents of Bastrop two years ago following the devastating fires there. Still in training, she works under the supervision of licensed clinical social worker, Sarah Kyle, PhD. She said she grew up in her grandparents’ home, so, she said, “I have a passion for older people.”

She earned her degrees at The University of Texas at Austin.
Yes, we all need help with body and mind at certain times, but what about our homes? At certain times, we travel, we fail, we need to move around more safely, or we need to move out to a smaller, easier to manage space.

For those of us who want to stay in place, as my mother said, “They’re taking me out of this house feet first,” and they did, we may need assistance. Lanny Kylberg of Kylberg Service Company is a handyman and electrician who can help you keep that old house going. He’s been in business for 35 years in Central Texas.

Jim Parr of Austin Troubleshooter can help with house chores whether you’re home or cruising the Black Sea.

Mr. Parr offers an array of handyman, house-sitting services, as his Web site explains. He has his business advertisement on the side of his truck. When asked how he came to know about Capital City Village, he said, “I was working with Family Eldercare when it was on Hancock, down the street, and someone probably saw the sign on my truck.” Going out of town, he’ll check your house, take care of your plants, and in the case of a serious problem, call a professional to repair it.

Another handyman service provider at Tuesday’s fair was Lanny Kylberg, an electrician who also offers general repairs, carpentry work, and painting. He said he didn’t know how he became a provider, but the CCV office called him. Our Provider Committee records show he’s gotten recommendations from two members. I guess he’s on my list to call when I need help.

What about adjusting your house to accommodate a walker or wheelchair, the need to make a house friendly to a handicapped person?

Ginger and Paul Barnett represented their remodeling business, Ageless Spaces. Ms. Barnett, recommended by Victoria Bovard based on previous experience, had a really effective display of their work on an iPad. She simply tapped her way through a house upgraded for better access, including a shower with no lip and no leaks – just a smooth floor where a person on a walker could scoot in with no curb.

Oh, and Ms. Barnett uses the letters “CAPS” after her name. “CAPS?” you ask. “Certified Aging in Place Specialist,” a designation by the National Association of Home Builders. The NAHB Web site tells us, “The Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) designation program teaches the technical, business management, and customer service skills essential to competing in the fastest growing segment of the residential remodeling industry: home modifications for the aging-in-place.”

You can coordinate your re-model with Melinda Gray Interiors. Melinda Gray recently moved to Austin from Seattle, Washington. She learned about CCV when she met Don Cook at the Metropolitan Breakfast Club.

Her work is interior design, and she brought a northwest magazine, Seattle Homes and Lifestyles, featuring a home she had re-designed into a warm, modern, country home.

Get your house fixed up, now all you need is help at home. You can call Right at Home, a private business that will organize vetted helpers you need to stay in your house. Owned by Edwin Young, it was represented by Marc Hernandez. He said his business learned about CCV by referrals. It’s a private-pay operation, not funded by Medicare or Medicaid, but it can help you find bonded in-home assistance for everything from transportation to bathing.

Are you ready to downsize, and shed the carapace of a large house for a smaller space?

Life’s Next Step is the brainchild business of Linda Carter. She said she got the idea for her business while taking care of her mother. She’d helped her mother shed goods and move into smaller quarters, learning along the way how difficult choices can be for the person moving. Ms. Carter said she realized that the easiest way to help in decisions of what to keep and what to give away or sell is to prepare a floor plan of the new dwelling, “So they [the people moving] can make a list of what will fit. It makes it easier for them to make choices.”

She arranges both the moving and the disbursal of “stuff,” so the client does not have to expend energy on logistics.

Last, or should it be first, how about the estate planning that we all face? How safe are our financial assets, who will ensure they are there when we need them, and how can we set up the process for our care when we’re no longer able to make those decisions?

Sara Pantin of Asset Strategies Group described her company’s services for insurance and financial planning. It focuses on seniors’ needs for financial security.

And we had two law firms whose specialties are needs of seniors. Larry Russell of Wilson, Sterling & Russell and Gaye Thompson of Thompson & Tiemann answered questions about serving the elderly and their needs ranging from wills and care planning to probate assistance. They’re both firms with specialties in “elder law,” which is an area that protects estates and prepares the path for care givers to attend to their families’ needs.

What did I come away with? I may have found my own legal help, but I have learned where to find someone to watch the house while I’m away. I may have found a massage therapist for my older body, not someone geared to get me ready for full contact soccer next weekend.

The fair raised my awareness that my wife, Caroline, and I have entered a new season in life, where we have different goals – it’s no longer college and graduate school tuition for our children, but how we can find tools to navigate toward a time of diminished energy and abilities to attend to new needs. Thought provoking.

Flo’s Membership Story

October 4, 2013
by Tom Knutsen

Flo D. was sitting on her couch, grooming her year-old pup Abby, when she said she likes Capital City Village so much “I had to tell my neighbor Lil about it. She joined right away.”

Flo–her full first name is Florence–had been working since 1998 as a house mother at Hardin House, a privately owned dormitory for women near the University of Texas campus, when she awakened one morning unable to see. That ended her working career, earlier than she had planned, for she said, “I loved those girls.”

She found an apartment at Wildflower Terrace, a three-story apartment building at the Mueller Development in Central Austin designed for adults fifty-years and older. She and Abby live on the ground floor, looking east toward Morris Williams Golf Course. A Pittsburgh Steelers helmet sits on the counter separating her dining area from the kitchen. “I’m a Steelers fan from Western Pennsylvania,” she said.

Unable to see, she knew she would need help with some chores as well as transportation. He daughter, Michele, told her about CCV, having found out about it, Flo says, from one of her friends. After reading the CCV brochure, “I called Bonnie (Gilson, executive director) and joined.”

Like many of us, she is reluctant to ask others for help, but Flo said she knows there are some tasks she cannot do, so she called CCV asking for help with “light housekeeping, making the bed, vacuuming, taking out the recycling.” She got great help from volunteers and CCV board members Kay M. and Sandy Y.

At least four times one of them came to help, Flo said, and “They are lovely ladies, lovely volunteers.”

Flo’s story is a reminder that CCV members have access to a “one call does it all” organization. Need a ride or a hand, our CCV volunteers are ready.

What Does Membership Mean to You?

Helping Members One Volunteer, One Provider, and One Service at a Time
From Ericca Long, Member and Public Relations Director
July 15, 2013
Contributed by Tom Knutsen and Stan Brooks

Capital City Village member Stan Brooks

I want to share an incredible member, volunteer and provider story with you (big thanks to Tom Knutsen for writing this story and Stan Brooks for extra contributions), and with all of Austin. If you agree that membership to CCV is invaluable, and well worth the cost, please share this story, and your own member story with your friends and loved ones. Email me too!

You may recall Capital City Village member Stan Brooks’ kind “thank you” note to CCV in the mid-May newsletter. Stan had broken his femur in March and was heading home after treatment and rehabilitation work when CCV members and vetted providers of home health equipment stepped in to make his house safe during recovery.

“It was all set up for me when I got back home,” said Stan recently. He was pleased, he said, “with being able to walk around the house without walking into furniture.”

While Stan was in rehabilitation, Stan’s neighbor, Mart Hoffman, went to his house with provider Steve Chodorow to evaluate its set up to determine the products Stan would need so he could live independently while using a walker. Steve, who owns Assistive Devices, Inc, gave Stan a catalogue of products he recommended for safety and ease of access. Steve also identified the potential hazards in pathways through Stan’s house, particularly sharp-edged furniture and rugs in or near normal pathways.

“I wanted to make sure Stan could get from the garage to the kitchen, through the den, to his bedroom safely on a walker,” said Steve.

In addition, member Drew Sawyer coordinated procuring the walker and an electric lift chair for Stan from Durable Medical Equipment’s owner, Brent Bradford, also an approved CCV provider.

CCV Members Barbara and David Gamble and Sue Hoffman brought meals and shopped for groceries in order to “keep his larder and his stomach full,” Stan adds. Mart and other CCV members moved furniture and rugs to clear the paths through the house.

Ultimately, Steve installed a ramp leading from the garage over a step into the kitchen and raised toilet seats with safety handles. A special feature that Stan said he liked was a bench with a sliding seat that straddles the bathtub edge, because “it allowed me to bathe without being in danger, I was able to get in and out safely.”

Stan now is using a walk-in shower, equipped with professionally installed grab bars, also from Steve’s ADI.

The lesson for CCV members is that when we need help, a telephone call to the CCV office can lead to assistance not only from other members but also from businesses we’ve recommended to the Provider Committee. When you’ve had success with a CCV provider, please let Bonnie Gilson or Ericca Long know so others can benefit when they have a need.