Austin Mayor’s Task Force on Aging

Dear Friends,

For the past year, I have had the great honor to serve on the Austin Mayor’s Task Force on Aging. I am very proud to have been part of this effort.

The recommendations from the Task Force include the following focus areas:

  1. Healthy Living
  2. Independence
  3. Informed Community

We are especially thrilled that under the focus area of ‘independence’, the Task Force specifically highlights the need for critical support and training for family caregivers. One of their recommendations is to expand CaregiverU, a collaboration that AGE is honored to coordinate with the generous support of the St. David’s Foundation. Continue reading

Older Americans Month 2013: Unleashing the power of age!

Here are a few of the things we know about the older adult population:

  • The older population (65+) numbered 41.4 million in 2011, an increase of 6.3 million or 18% since 2000.
  • Over one in every eight, or 13.3%, of the population is an older American.
  • Almost 3.6 million elderly persons (8.7%) were below the poverty level in 2011.
  • The Round Rock-Austin metropolitan area had the fastest growing “pre-senior” (age 55-64) population in the country, with a 110% change.
  • Older Americans MonthGrowth of the senior (age 65+) population ranked second nationally over the same period.

In the news, most of what you hear about aging is reflects negative or worried attitudes like how the ‘silver tsunami’ is coming and how the community isn’t ready to adequately deal with the booming population of older adults. At AGE of Central Texas, our business is to face the negativity head on to meet the needs of seniors in our community and help older adults age with dignity and vitality.

Thankfully, the time is upon us to focus on the positivity of aging– May is Older Americans Month! Every year since 1963, May has been the month to appreciate and celebrate the vitality and aspirations of older adults and their contributions and achievements. It is a proud tradition that shows our nation’s commitment to honor the value that elders continue to contribute to our communities. Continue reading

Meet Anne, A Volunteer


Anne is a Texas transplant- she moved here just over 6 months ago following the sudden death of her husband. She came to Texas looking for a fresh start and the chance to put down new roots in the aging industry, in which she has extensive experience. After attending a Get Acquainted with AGE monthly tour and luncheon, she found herself so taken with what AGE does that she decided to start volunteering. Anne wanted to keep herself busy as she settled into her new city, but she also wanted the chance to get to know the community and network with other professionals.

So, Anne began spending at least one day each week with the clients in AGE’s Austin Adult Day Health Center and another day providing administrative support to AGE’s health equipment lending closet. Immediately, it was clear that she has a special gift for this work.

Ultimately, Anne discovered that the purpose of her volunteer days goes much deeper than just networking and filling her time- she’s been impacted by her relationships with staff and clients alike. Her journey in the past year has not been easy, but her desire to serve others and give of herself has not faltered. Instead, Anne’s passion for helping others has helped her to find a place where she is needed and belongs.

Anne has a unique perspective as a seasoned volunteer and as a professional within the senior services arena. She says, “This community would be severely impacted if AGE was not here to offer services to older adults. One of the most concerning issues for seniors is isolation, and AGE does so much to connect their clients to things they love to do, to each other, and to the rest of the world.”

If you agree with Anne and think that what AGE of Central Texas offers is important to the community, please click here to learn more about how you can support the services that directly impact older adults in Central Texas. If you would like to find out more about how you can volunteer and get involved, please click here.

We at AGE of Central Texas are so grateful for the hard work and dedicated support from all of our volunteers and donors. Thank you for caring about the older adults in our community!

Keeping Seniors Safe in the Texas Summer Heat

This summer may have started out kinder and gentler than last year, but we aren’t out of the woods yet. The heat makes summer a dangerous season for everyone, but seniors are at a higher risk of suffering complications from the heat. Many seniors take medications that could dehydrate them or make them more sensitive to the sun. For seniors who are not as mobile or depend on others to come by to care for them, they may not be able to move themselves to a cooler spot or help themselves if they start feeling heat-sick when they’re by themselves. And they may have trouble recognizing when they are experiencing symptoms of disorders caused by heat before it’s too late. There are two main kinds of heat conditions:

Heat stroke is a very serious heat-related illness. Symptoms include dizziness, weakness, nausea, spots before the eyes, ringing in the ears, bright red dry skin, rapid, strong pulse, and a body temperature of more than 103 degrees.

Heat exhaustion is a more mild heat-related illness, but should still absolutely be treated. Symptoms include cool and clammy skin, a body temperature of up to 103 degrees, weak and rapid pulse, and shallow and quiet respirations.

If you notice someone who has these symptom, get to a doctor immediately!

Below are a few ideas and suggestions to help keep older adults cool:

  • wear light colored or loose clothing
  • use sunscreen, even if going outside for just a short period of time
  • wear a hat that is wide-brimmed to protect the face (but isn’t so tight as to prevent ventilation)
  • stay hydrated with water or other non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated drinks
  • keep a spray bottle with cool water nearby to lightly spritz the face and body
  • a shady spot outdoors may be cooler than inside, so sitting on a covered porch with a portable or ceiling fan may be a good option
  • if you are inside with no AC, stay on the lower floor of your residence (which is typically cooler)
  • mobile seniors should try to spend a few hours each day in a place with A/C: either a mall, library, a movie, or restaurant

Unfortunately, many seniors either cannot afford or don’t have access to air conditioning to combat the severe Texas heat. Below are a few suggestions to help:

Tips to help cool your home:

  1. When it is safe to do so, leave windows open (even at night) on both sides of your house to get a cross-breeze.
  2. Utilize portable fans and ceiling fans to amplify your A/C’s reach, or help substitute when you don’t have one.
  3. Close curtains or shades on sunny windows, or find a way to cover them if they don’t have draperies already.
  4. Clean and replace air filters regularly to maximize your AC and vent systems.

AGE of Central Texas is a community partner in Family Eldercare’s Fan Drive, so we have box fans available for those who are over 55, disabled, or have children under the age of 18 living in their house. They must be at or below 200% of the federal poverty level ($22,340 annual income for one person or $30,260 for a couple), and be able to provide an ID and proof of income. Call us at 512.451.4611 for more information.

For more information on how heat affects the elderly, click here for resources from the CDC.

Meet Wilbur, A Client

“We all need assistance; we all need a helping hand. No person’s an island.”

Wise Words and a Personal Perspective:

‘Good Afternoon: My name is Wilbur.  I am a client at AGE’s Adult Day Care Center.  I am 87 years old and a World War II Army Combat Veteran.  I served in combat with the infantry in the European Theatre and in the Army of Occupation in Japan.  After my military service I was employed in the United States Postal Service from April 1946 until my retirement in January 1985.

He won a trophy today for ‘Best Dancer’ at the Carnival.

When my wife of 56 plus years of marriage passed away in November 2003, I, like so many elderly people had a decision to make.  To my good fortune my son and daughter-in-law gave me the opportunity to make my home with them in Austin.  Both my son and daughter-in law were still in the workforce.  Early in January 2004 my son and I visited Elderhaven (AGE’s Adult Day Health Center)- My first reaction was like most people.  Would I like Elderhaven and most of all would staff and clients accept me?  Not only was I accepted, but the clients voted me February King and my friend Queen.  I had not danced in years, so after we were crowned we danced like royalty.

The Activity Director at AGE’s Adult Day Health Center here in Austin is Theresa.  Theresa schedules our activities, and at the start of each month every client receives a calendar of daily activities for the month.  Every day we walk and we do exercise.  Some of our activities are arts and crafts, music, entertainment, games, trivia, sing-a-longs, dances, and a lot more.  All activities help the body, mind, and soul.  We have a snack in the morning and in the afternoon.

If you are considering someone who needs day care where you are treated with respect and all clients are treated equally, Elderhaven meets your needs.  Clients are from different ethnic, social, and economic backgrounds and we get along great.  At Elderhaven we have clients from 30 years of age to the mid 90’s.  We pray, laugh, and sometimes shed a tear.  I consider my fellow clients my second family.’

It is clients like Wilbur who remind us that community and compassion is so important in absolutely everything that AGE does. For those who don’t know, AGE’s funding (and that of several local non-profits) and ability to provide services to clients was severely damaged this week by the withdrawal of a major supporter. If you would like to join the AGE of Central Texas family by giving towards the direct services that benefit clients like Wilbur, please click here or send a check to AGE at 3710 Cedar St # 2 Austin, TX 78705. Feel free to reach us at or 512.451.4611.


Thank you for your love and support. And thank you for caring about the older adults of Austin and Central Texas.

A Little Slice of Paradise on Cedar Street

Have you seen the green garden of paradise on the corner of Cedar Street and 35th? Here is our story….

If you are walking along the sidewalk that lines Cedar Street and pass the corner at 35th Street on weekday morning, you might be interested in the group of elderly men and women sitting together in the yard, under the trellised roof of a wooden gazebo. They sit at the south end of the sprawling fenced lawn, at one corner of the historic AGE Building. Birds chirp overhead, the morning air is cool and the sun is shining.   The serenity is infectious and it is easy to smile as a wave from one of these older folks comes your way. Also noticeable is the size, almost 3,000 square feet, and the beauty of the yard.  There are potted plants, colorful blooms, looming sunflowers, birdbaths that adorn the yard.  A manicured pathway leads to a secluded meditation garden on the side of the building.

The elderly folks sitting outside are members of AGE of Central Texas Adult Day Health Center (Elderhaven), one of two adult day centers in Central Texas. The AGE building is the center’s home.  Members are picked up by the AGE van or brought by their family members during the weekdays. Many are working caregivers and need a place to bring their parents, grandparents, or spouses during the day so that they are safe, healthy, happy, and stimulated. AGE of Central Texas Adult Day Health Centers provides these things so that older people, and those with dementia and other disabilities, do not need to go into nursing home care prematurely, but can instead remain with their families and in their communities.

Since AGE adopted the adult day center from Lutheran Social Services in the late 1980’s, community groups, churches, schools and corporations have come to AGE for volunteer projects.  Here they have donated time and money to the garden efforts, while working together in team-building activities to enhance and improve the grounds and the experiences of the members of the adult day center. Volunteers from St. David’s Foundation, Promiseland Baptist Church, and the Eagle Scouts, to name just a few, have contributed hours of time to weeding the garden beds, watering the plants, and planting new life in the gardens.

Community support is not new to AGE, but something very special began to unfold in the fall of 2011: a synchronicity in the vision, dedication, and financial support of a number of individuals and groups that brought about the planning and implementation of a multiphase habitat project which would beautify the garden and create a certified wildlife habitat.

As the program director of the Adult Day Center in Central Austin, Stephanie Hoffman has always remained attentive to the things that make her members happy.  One day in the fall of 2011, she noticed that a few of her members had been particularly fixated on the lone birdhouse by a wall at the exterior of the building. “I thought that we needed more birdhouses, something that is going to stimulate clients emotionally and cognitively,” she remembers. When Hoffman received a phone call from a representative from the City of Austin LEAPS (Leadership Education Public Service) program a few weeks later asking for ideas for a project that they could plan as a group, she suggested building birdhouses.

Representatives from Urban Habitat Committee of the Travis Audubon Society, with offices located in the AGE Building, had for some time worked near the garden and taken notice of the environment, and they began to become involved in discussions about garden projects. According to Hoffman, it was in these first conversations that the question was asked, “What is it going to take for us to have a certified habitat?”

As these individuals and their respective organizations, including folks from the City of Austin Parks and Wildlife Department, began to create the habitat plan at the end of 2011, there were several central factors that guided the discourse and planning. Building an environmentally sustainable and economically sensible habitat meant that native Texas plants were chosen. Careful consideration of the four factors that the National Wildlife Federation looks for in certifying a habitat (providing food, water, shelter, and a place for raising young) influenced everything from the selection of the berry bushes to the placement of birdhouses.  At the forefront of the planning was always the positive impact of the environment on the older adults who attend the adult day center. Lynn Hill, one of the Urban Habitat Committee members leading the project said, “My mother lives in a retirement home in Michigan and it is beautifully landscaped, and I know that means so much to the residents to have a beautiful place to be.”

With the leadership of the Travis Audubon Society, the LEAPS program, the City of Austin Parks and Recreation department and numerous local businesses, individuals, corporations and community groups who donated plants, supplies and labor, Phase One and most of Phase Two have been completed, and an application for certification to the National Wildlife Federation has been submitted. Phase Three of the plan will create garden beds and habitats in other areas around the AGE Building. Adult Day Center members have been directly involved, helping to paint ceramic plant markers for the over 35 species of native Texas plants that occupy the beds.   Meredith O’Reilly, the Urban Habitat Steward who led the plant marker project, described the activity, “It was an absolute pleasure to see the smiles and artistic talents of the AGE clients who created very special and purposeful art for the garden.”

AGE of Central Texas opened its Adult Day Health Center garden for families on the last Wednesday of the month in May for the first-ever Concert for Caregivers, and there are plans to bring City of Austin Park Rangers to the gardens to engage members in activities related to wildlife. Anybody strolling through the neighborhood will continue to see these older folks outside engaged in discussion groups and enjoying the weather, amidst the flittering of butterflies and chirping of birds that will keep growing around them.

– Written by Amanda Lyles, AGE’s Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator.

Originally published by Austin Parks and Recreation in the July issue of their monthly newsletter, the ‘Habitat Herald’.

AGE needs your vote! What a video could do for us…

Videos give you a glimpse into a part of the world you might not otherwise see- from a perspective you might not yourself experience. For non-profits, videos are a way to engage the community’s ears, eyes, and hearts as they share the stories of the work that they do.

AGE of Central Texas is pursuing an opportunity to create a new, professionally crafted video, but we need your help! UPG, a marketing firm whose mission is to help businesses bring their brands and services to life with video, is giving away a $5,ooo video to an Austin non-profit. To win, AGE must first receive enough public votes to be in the top five finalists, and then the decision will be made by a celebrity panel.

AGE’s services are so unique that they really have to be seen to be understood. A video would be an incredibly powerful tool to reach out to the community and share the good news of all the growth going on at AGE!

The homemade video we submitted for this contest features our incredible nurse as well as a volunteer from AGE’s Adult Day Health Care Center (Elderhaven). This volunteer has an incredible story himself- previously, he was actually a client of our Adult Day program after an injury that limited his mobility and ability to stay at home. After he healed, he felt so strongly about the good of the Adult Day program that he continues to volunteer three times a week to lead the men’s group.

You can support us in this contest by voting for our entry! To vote, click here. Select the ‘vote now’ button, and you will be taken to a second page where you will see all of the video entries. Ours is titled “AGE of Central Texas”, and to vote simply select ‘vote now’! You can vote once every 24 hours between now and July 3rd.  And please feel free to share with your friends far and wide!

AGE is incredibly grateful for the community around us.  Your support is what makes us who we are.

Austin is Aging, Developers Make Moves to Capture Market

Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, City of Austin demographer Ryan Robinson. Courtesy of Robert Calzada, Austin-American Statesman
Austin, Round Rock, Georgetown, the whole Central Texas region is aging, you certainly know. What is pleasantly surprising is that cities and businesses are taking notice.

Not long after this article (“Austin aging, latest census data show”), detailing the changing or “graying” demographics of Austin, did two major senior living developments get revealed:

The first one, in Georgetown, will be located near large Sun City Senior Living development. Read more about it here: 2 Georgetown projects add to region’s options for senior living

Today, a project in Round Rock was announced, which will bring more memory care living options to Central Texas. Read more here: Round Rock project will add to area’s supply of memory-care facilities

While both these projects will take some time to be available to seniors, we’re excited about growth in the number of resources for older adults in Central Texas. What are your thoughts?

The Future of Texas: Aging White Boomers and Young Hispanics

From our friends at the Community Action Network:

At a conference at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, Steve Murdock reviewed the changing demographics of Texas. Murdock, currently a professor at Rice University, is the former Texas demographer and former director of the U.S. Census Bureau.

The two faces of Texas presented in the data of Murdock’s report are old and aging Anglos and a burgeoning young Hispanic population. From 2000 to 2040, Texas public schools will see a 15% decline in the white student population and a 213% increase in the Hispanic population. Most of the projected growth is due to births, 22% is due to in-migration from other states and about 6% is undocumented. If current trend lines of poor educational outcomes and low incomes for Hispanics do not change, our State’s future will be bleak, Murdock said.

Read more here at or visit the Hobby Center website.

FREE Caregiver Conference: RSVP Today!

Join AGE for our upcoming FREE Caregiver’s Conference: Striking a Balance!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

2525 West Anderson Lane, Northcross Mall
Norris Conference Center, Red Oak Ballroom
9 AM – 2 PM (Doors Open at 8:30 AM)
Light breakfast and lunch will be provided at this FREE conference

Registration Deadline: Friday, September 10, 2010

Click here to register, or visit the Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area website.

For Questions or Assistance call 512-916-6180.

Elderhaven Adult Day Care Center of Austin & Williamson Counties will provide free respite for caregivers the day of the conference. Reservations are required: 512-458-6305.

Participants will discover local caregiver resources, acquire skills to better manage their caregiving situation, and connect with other caregivers and local experts on aging.