research outlining a plan to establish a multigenerational day and wellness center at the city-owned
RBJ Health Center for low-income seniors. (Photo by Jay Godwin)
AUSTIN, Texas, March 19, 2019 — The Austin-Round Rock metro area is home to the country's second-fastest growing population of adults ages 65 and older, and is on track to hit approximately 700,000 seniors by 2040. The urgent and increasing need for health and care arrangements for these seniors is the focus of a one-day symposium hosted by the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin, AustinUP and the City of Austin Commission on Seniors. The symposium, Livability for Longevity, is free and open to the public and will take place on April 3 at the LBJ School of Public Affairs.
The senior population in Austin is outpacing health and social care capacity. In 2016, the City Council committed to adopting a plan to address the problem. In 2018, it adopted a resolution to pursue measures described in research published by the LBJ School's Jacqueline Angel, a professor of public affairs and sociology. The research, led by Professor Angel and conducted with graduate students from the LBJ School, describes an operational plan to establish a multigenerational day and wellness center at the city-owned RBJ Health Center for low-income seniors. Students will share their findings and recommendations from this research during the conference.
"The recommendations we are making to the city will have a lasting impact on the Austin community, and I love being a part of that," said Emma Nye, an MPAff student in the DC Concentration.
Nye explained the hands-on nature of the work.
"We meet for three hours every Monday with different stakeholders from Austin Public Health, St. David's Foundation, Central Health and the Housing Authority of the city of Austin — just to name a few," she said. "We have also all made time to travel off-site to meet with seniors in their homes at the RBJ Residential Tower and at Lakeside Apartments."
Follow the conversation: #AgingAustin
Many stakeholders from these organizations are scheduled to deliver remarks at the symposium, including Austin City Council member Ann Kitchen; City of Austin Commission on Seniors chair Janee Briesemeister; president and CEO of Meals on Wheels Central Texas Adam Hauser; Enterprise Chief Administration Officer of Central Health Larry Wallace; and former CEO of Seton Healthcare and LBJ School alumnus Jesús Garza.
Angel reiterated the collaborative and meaningful nature of the project.
"In this advanced policy and practice seminar, students exemplify the best of teamwork and collaboration, and how wonderful goals can be achieved in making a better life for low-income elders in Austin," she said.
"The city of Austin recognizes that new experiments must be implemented in dealing with the challenge of addressing the service needs of low-income seniors in high-need areas," Angel continued. "The Center will serve as a prototype for a particular model for cities across the United States as an innovative and integrative way to provide health, social and community-based services to seniors with little income. Once established, the center will work with the community to provide multigenerational services and care."
"In this advanced policy and practice seminar, students exemplify the best of teamwork and collaboration, and how wonderful goals can be achieved in making a better life for low-income elders in Austin," —LBJ Professor Jacqueline Angel
The "Sandwich Generation" — those people caring for elderly parents and who have responsibility for children and grandchildren — will benefit as well. They will enjoy free time and relief from the stress of constant caregiving. Grown children can also attend to their children and health care needs.
"It has truly been an honor working on a project that is designed to make vulnerable seniors age in place safely, with improved wellness and, hopefully, joy,” Nye said. “This course is so different from what I expected — it is a lot of work, so many meetings, and extra hours that I was not anticipating; but it is without a doubt one of the best experiences I have had at LBJ because the whole team and I have the opportunity to help seniors in our community in a real and lasting way."
Angel and her students conducted this work as part of an innovative policy in practice course, which aims to give students experience implementing solutions to the city's needs.
Additional sponsors include St. David's Foundation, AARP and Westminster retirement community. See more on sponsors.
8:30 a.m.: Registration
8:45 a.m.: Welcome: Teresa Sansone Ferguson, AustinUP
Opening Remarks: Austin City Council Member Ann Kitchen (Introduction by (Shadhi Mansoori)
9 a.m.-10 a.m.: Introduction of LBJ Student Team Members: (Professor Jacqueline Angel)
Presentation: "Building an Intergenerational Metropolis in the City of Austin: Findings and Recommendations" (Item #41) Emma Nye and Alex Abbott
10 a.m.: Break
10:15-11:15 a.m.: Panel Discussion
Co-Moderators: LBJ Students Patricia Hart and Katy Quan.
Panelists: Janee Briesemeister, Chair, City of Austin Commission on Seniors; Annette Juba, Deputy Director, AGE of Central Texas; Adam Hauser, President and CEO, Meals and Wheels Central Texas; Larry Wallace, Enterprise Chief Administrative Officer, Central Health
Real-world insight about the opportunities and challenges of policy implementation toward an age-friendly Austin, i.e., how do we expand the conversation and what’s it going to take to bring about meaningful change?
11:15-11:35 a.m.: Student-led Audience Interactive Polling (Gaby Mordi)
11:40 a.m.: Angela Evans (dean, LBJ School) introduces Jesús Garza
11:45 a.m.-Noon: Closing Remarks (Jesús Garza, Former CEO Seton Healthcare)
Noon: Audience feedback and follow-up over lunch (Boxed lunches, Q&A)
1 p.m.: Door prize