A town meeting is a form of direct democratic rule, used primarily in parts of the United States since the 17th century, in which most or all community members come together to legislate policy and budgets for local government. The term is commonly used by U.S. politicians to describe forums at which voters can ask questions.
On the other hand, in local government, a town hall is the chief administrative building of a city or town, functioning as the base of the mayor. Few senior housing, nursing homes, and other facilities seek systematic input of residents and tenants by encouraging so called residents’ associations and periodic town meetings.
When attendance dwindles or is a fraction of the community, there is cause for alarm and reconsideration especially of management’s role. Once a pattern of disinterest, distrust, or nonattendance has been established, extra effort will be needed to recover interest, trust and attendance! Here are well-intentioned Guidelines for Successful Town Meetings, DO’s and DON’T’s for town meeting organizers and participants.
DO begin the occasion with a brief explanation of the significant difference between town meeting and town hall.
DO schedule and announce a town meeting at least a week ahead.
DO post the meeting announcement in several locations. Use large bold type, black on white. In several languages if at least half of the potential attendees do not understand and speak English.
DO attempt to have a simultaneous translator present, whether for sign language or languages other than English, preferably not a staff member.
DO post a time-lined agenda. Distribute copies, whenever possible. Suggested agenda items include: Moderator identifies her/himself. Moderator welcomes and identifies new guests, tenants, neighbors, whoever. Moderator urges those present to input agenda items before the next meeting so that they can be included in the printed/distributed agenda. Committees’ reports. Questions.
DO turn up the thermostat well before the meeting, so that the room is comfortable.
And vice versa if it’s summer!
DO start on time! DO arrive on time, although better late than never.
DO NOT circulate an attendance sheet!! DO NOT sign an attendance sheet—unless you’re a child.
DO NOT talk, murmur, mumble while someone else is speaking.
DO have a tape recorder going throughout the meeting; make the tape available on loan following the meeting. Meetings should be tape-recorded for the benefit of persons (1) who cannot attend, (2) who are reluctant or hesitant to attend, (3) whose first language is not English, (4) who are hearing impaired or who simply can't hear well (some seniors don't want to acknowledge diminished hearing.) Radio Shack, online outlets, Office Depot, etc. have cheapo tape-cassette (NOT microcassette) recorder-players.
DO consider refreshments, but aim for low-calorie/sugar. DO NOT charge for them, however, and definitely DO NOT suggest “voluntary” monetary contributions!!
DO post “minutes” following the meeting in the same place that the announcement of a forthcoming meeting was posted.
Salem Lutheran Home, Center for Elder Independence, and Lavender Seniors of the East Bay are working together to survey and develop programs to assist lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender elders who reside in Alameda County elder care communities. Gil Gerald and Associates with Lavender Seniors of the East Bay/Tides Center developed a foundational survey to determine the knowledge, attitudes, and policies of those providing professional care as well as who share a residence with LGBT elders in independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing and memory care facilities. It was funded in part by the Alameda County Behavioral Health Care Services and Mental Health Services Act (Prop 63).
They have also launched a training program to assist individuals who are caring for the LGBT community. The first training will begin with facility administrators; a second phase, for those who provide hands-on care. Subsequent trainings will be designed to assist with the implementation of standards of care.
A National Senior Citizens Law Center’s earlier survey, “LGBT Older Adults in Long-Term Care Facilities: Stories from the Field,” found that LGBT elders had great fears of elder care facilities and avoid seeking needed services out of fear of discrimination. Included were hundreds of anecdotal instances of mistreatment, harassment and refusals to provide basic services or care across the nation.
To learn more about: Lavender Seniors (510) 667-9655 or visit the website at www.lavenderseniors.org; Center for Elders’ Independence, (510) 433-1150 or visit the website at: www.cei.elders.org; Salem Lutheran Home (510) 534-3637 or visit the website at www.salemlutheranhome.org.
Webinars: Social media and senior transportation. The National Council on Aging reports that several transportation organizations are sponsoring a webinar on August 3 to discuss a study on the cost of seniors living at home and riding transit versus relocating to an assisted living facility. “Webinar” is short for Web-based seminar, a presentation, lecture, workshop or seminar that is transmitted over the Web. A key feature of a Webinar is its interactive elements -- the ability to give, receive and discuss information. Contrast with Webcast, in which the data transmission is one way and does not allow interaction between the presenter and the audience. Register for August 3rd webinar: http://waystohelp.ncoa.org/site
MARK YOUR CALENDAR: August and September 2011. Call to confirm date, time and place.
Readers are welcome to share by email news of events that may interest boomers and seniors. Daytime, free, and Bay Area events preferred. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesdays, beginning in August, 10:30-12 Noon. Parkinson’s Yoga & The Art of Moving. Jewish Community Center East Bay – Oakland Branch, 5811 Racine St. (58th & Telegraph). $120./month. (925) 566-4181.
Wednesday, August 3 10 A.M. – Noon North Berkeley Senior Center Advisory Council meeting. Public invited. Call to confirm (510) 981-5190. (Note: City Council July 19, 2011 Consent Calendar agenda item #10 re Berkeley senior centers’ advisory councils.)
Wednesdays, August 3, 10, 17 and 24 6 P.M. Wednesday Evening Movies at Mastick Senior Center, 1155 Santa Clara Av., Alameda. (510) 747-7510. August 3: You Again. August 10:The Town. August 17: 127 Hours. August 24: Rabbit Hole.
Wednesdays, August 3, 10, 17 and 24 6 - 8 P.M. Summer Evening Computer Workshops at Mastick Senior Center. Patricia Meier, Instructor. August 3: E-books and E-readers. August 10: Internet Phone Services. August 17: Photo Sharing On-Line. August 24: Make a Movie. $10. per class. Register at Mastick Office.
Wednesday, August 3 6-8 P.M. Alameda County Library, Albany branch. 1247 Marin Ave. Lawyer in the Library. Free 15 minute consultation with an attorney. Sign up in person at the Reference desk or call (510) 526-3720 ext. 5 during library hours.
Thursday, August 4 1:30 P.M. – 2:45 P.M. Emergency Preparedness. Albany branch of Alameda County Library. Speaker Colleen Campbell, Senior Injury Prevention Coordinator. Free program for older adults, caregivers and service providers. No reservations required. (510) 526-3720 x 7.
Saturday, August 6 11 A.M. – Noon End of Life Planning Workshop. Berkeley Public Library, West branch, 1125 University Av. Learn basics of wills, trusts, powers of attorney, advanced healthcare directives. (510) 9891-6270.
Wednesday, August 7 6-8 P.M. Lawyer in the Library. Albany branch of the Alameda County Library. Advance registration required.Sign up in person at the Reference desk or call (510) 526-3720 x 5. Free.
Monday, August 8 7 P.M. Musical performance by The Hot Fritatas. Kensington Library. Event sponsored by the Contra Costa County Library Summer Reading Festival. Free. (510) 524-3043.
Wednesday, August 10 10 A.M.-2 P.M. 10th Annual Healthy Aging Fair Festival. Chabot College, 255555 Hesperian Blvd., Hayward. Free lunch. Raffle prizes. Entertainment. Free shuttlefrom South Hayward BART. (510) 577-3532, 3540. Sign up at your senior center for free bus service. In Berkeley, contact Deborah Jordan (510) 981-5170 for information.
Wednesday, August 10 10:30 A.M. – Noon Dr. Mary Anne Brady presents “California’s Economy: Great Depression 2011?” Free for Mastick Senior Center and Osher Lifelong Learning Institute members.
Thursday, August 11 6-7:45 P.M. Berkeley Public Library, South branch. 1901 Russell St. Lawyer in the Library. Free legal advice and help with questions.
In-person sign-ups only; sign-ups begin at 5pm. Names pulled by lottery at 6 P.M.
Saturdays, August 13 & 14 1:30 P.M. music; 2 P.M. show. SF Mime Troupe's 2010: The Musical. Live Oak Park Live Oak Community Center, 1301 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA. ASL interpreter on site on August 14. Outdoors. Free. (510) 227-7110. AC bus #18 stops nearby.
Tuesday, August 16 - 9 A.M.– 4 P.M. DeYoung Museum Senior Field Trip. The Jewish Community Center of the East Bay is coordinating a trip to the De Young Museum in San Francisco to see the latest Picasso exhibit. Price includes transportation,
And admission to the museum and the exhibit. $25.00 for seniors. Sign up required in advance by August 8th. Payment due when signing up. CallSam Young (510)848-0237 x148.
Wednesday, August 17 1:30 P.M. BerkeleyCommission on Aging. South Berkeley Senior Center. Call to confirm (510) 981-5178.
Saturday, August 20 11 A.M. Landlord /Tenant Counseling. Central Berkeley Public Library. Also Sept. 17.
Tuesday, August 23 10 A.M. Mastick Senior Center. Overview on reverse mortgages. ECHO non-profit counseling organization presentation.
Tuesday, August 23 3-4 P.M. Berkeley Public Library, Central. Tea and Cookies. A book club for people who want to share the books they have read. (510)981-6100.
Tuesday, August 23 7 – 8 P.M. El Cerrito Library book discussion group meets the 4th Tuesday of each month: “The Glass Room.” Feel free to come to one or all discussions. (510) 526-7512.
Wednesday, August 24 - 10 A.M. Dr. Alicia Perez discusses Balance & Dizziness.. Tips to Reduce Falls. Mastick Senior Center.
Wednesday, August 24 1:30-2:30 P.M. Alameda County Library, Albany branch. Great Books Discussion Group. Eliot's The Hollow Men and The Waste Land. Facilitated discussion. Come to one meeting, or all meetings. Books are available at the Library. Parking! 526-3720 x 16.
Thursday, August 25 – 1:30 P.M. Mastick Senior Center Music Appreciation Class.
Join William Sturm, Volunteer. Recital featuring “Norwegian Romantic: Agathe Backer-Grondahl”. The class discussion and recital will be of music by a Norwegian woman composer.
Monday, August 29 7 P.M. Book Club:Dubliners by James Joyce. Kensington Lirary, 61 Arlington Ave., Kensington, CA. Joyce declared Dubliners to be a chapter in the moral history of Ireland. This is a collection of 15 tales that offers vivid, tightly focused observations of the lives of Dublin's poorer classes. Free. (510) 524-3043.
Tuesday, August 30 - 1 P.M. - Seminar on funerals and memorialization. Greer Family Mortuary’s Andrew Slakey. Mastick Senior Center.
Tuesdays, beginning Sept. 6 – 10 A.M.-12:30 P.M. Mastick Senior Center Creative writing class. Fee class.
Wednesdays, Sept. 7 and 14 – 9 A.M.-1 P.M. Mastick Senior Center. AARP Driver Safety Program refresher course designed for motorists who are 50+. Preregistration required. $12 per person for AARP members, $14 per person for non-AARP members. Registration is payable by check ONLY made payable to AARP.
Wednesday, Sept. 7 10 A.M.-Noon North Berkeley Senior Center Advisory Council meeting. Public invited. (510) 981-5190. (Note: City Council July 19, 2011 agenda item #10 on Consent Calendar re Berkeley senior centers’ advisory councils.)
Wednesdays, Sept. 7, 14, 21, 28 & Oct. 5, 12 - 10:30 A.M. Mastick Senior Center. Balance Your Walk with the Alexander Technique. Lenka Fejt, certified teacher, will begin a six-part workshop on the Alexander Technique. Prepaid registration fee of $60. required.
Wednesday, Sept. 7 Noon. UC,B Music Dept. Hertz Hall. Noon Concert Series will resume with Joe Neeman, violin and Miles Graber, piano, performing works by Bartok and Sarasate.
Wednesday, Sept. 7 through Nov. 3 – 2 P.M.– 4 P.M. Alameda Adult School instructors provide computer instruction at Mastick Senior Center. Note: Tuesday morning class 9:00 A.M.-11:00 A.M. Register at the Adult School, 2250 Central Avenue, Rm 160 or on-line at www.alameda-adult-school.org.
Wednesday, Sept. 7. 6-8 P.M. Alameda County Library, Albany branch. 1247 Marin Ave. Lawyer in the Library. Free 15 minute consultation with an attorney. Sign up in person at the Reference desk or call (510) 526-3720 ext. 5 during library hours.
Thursday, Sept. 8 6-7:45 P.M. Berkeley Public Library, South branch. 1901 Russell St. Lawyer in the Library. Free legal advice and help with questions. In-person sign-ups only; sign-ups begin at 5pm. Names pulled by lottery at 6 P.M.
Fridays, beginning Sept. 9 Impariamo L’Italiano at Mastick Senior Center. Donatella Zepplin, Instructor. Sign up in the Mastick Office or call (510) 747-7506.
10 A.M. - 11 A.M. Beginning Italian. 11 A.M. – 12 Noon. Intermediate Italian.
Tuesday, Sept. 13 - 9:30 A.M. to 12:30 P.M. Mastick Senior Center. Jewelry
Making with Rose O’Neill. Beads and tools will be supplied. Class is limited to 10
students. Cost is $15 per person. Sign up in the Mastick Office or call 747-7506.
Saturday, Sept. 13 10 A.M. – 3 P.M. 34th Annual Health Fair. Allen Temple Baptist
Church, 8501 International Blvd., Oakland. Free health screenings. (510)544-8910.
Beginning Wednesday, Sept. 14 - 1 P.M. Mastick Senior Center Cultural Events class includes two Berkeley Repertory Theatre performances. $70 per person for the term does not include admission to cultural exhibits (discounted tickets are available). Minimum enrollment of 15 required. To reserve a seat, visit the Office or call (510) 747-7506.
Thursdays, beginning Sept. 15 - 10 A.M. – 11:30 A.M. Mastick Senior Center Computer Basic Skills class. Nancy D’Amico, Volunteer Instructor. Sign up in advance in the Mastick Office.
Friday, Sept. 16 10 A.M. – 1 P.M. 14th Annual Senior Resource Fair. Presented by San Leandro Senior Services. San Leandro Senior Community Center, 13909 East 14 St. (510) 577-3462.
Saturday, Sept. 17 11 A.M. Landlord /Tenant Counseling. Central Berkeley Public Library.
Saturdays, Sept. 17 & 18 1:30 P.M. music; 2 P.M. show. SF Mime Troupe's 2010: The Musical. Willard Park, Berkeley, CA. Outdoors. Free.
Wednesday, Sept. 21 1:30 P.M. Berkeley Commission on Aging meets in a senior center, probably North Berkeley Senior Center, 1901 Hearst, cor MLK. #25 AC bus stops at the NBSC. Phone to confirm location (510) 981-5190.
Tuesday, Sept. 27 - 1 P.M. Mastick Senior Center. Informative presentation on “Getting the Most From Your Doctor’s Visit.” Lecture by Patient Advocate Linda Garvin, RN, MSN. Register in the Mastick Office or call (510) 747-7506. To learn more about Linda Garvin go to www.patientadvocatebayarea.com
Tuesday, Sept 27 3 P.M. Tea & Cookies Book Club. Central Berkeley Public Library.
Tuesday, Sept. 27 7 – 8 P.M. El Cerrito Library book discussion group. Feel free to come to one or all discussions. Let the Great World Spin. (510) 526-7512.
Wednesday, Sept. 28 1:30-2:30 P.M. Alameda County Library, Albany branch. Great Books Discussion Group. Morrison's Song of Solomon. Facilitated discussion. Come to one meeting, or all meetings. Books are available at the Library. Parking! (510) 526-3720 x 16.