ACU to host Texas Silver-Haired Legislature forum

Posted January 28, 2016

The Texas Silver-Haired Legislature will host an intergenerational town hall forum Thursday, Feb. 4, from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. at ACU’s Hunter Welcome Center. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m.

The free event is open to the community, and lunch will be provided. Call the ACU Pruett Gerontology Center, 674-2350, by Friday, Jan. 29, to reserve a spot.

The town hall is one of several being conducted throughout Texas by the Texas Silver-Haired Legislature to discuss issues affecting seniors. TSHL delegates of West Central Texas are conducting the Abilene forum in partnership with ACU Pruett Gerontology Center, ACU Foundation and West Central Texas Area Agency on Aging.

This is the second event of its kind and an opportunity for local citizens and university students to discuss the issues of the aging community.

The TSHL will work with participants to develop resolutions for the next legislative session. ACU students also will conduct gerontology research during the event.

Dr. Charlie Pruett, director of  Pruett Gerontology Center, said about 200 citizens and 60 students are expected to attend.

“All of us are going to get old,” Pruett said. “So it affects everybody. It protects you and me for when we are that age.”

Adelaide Rich, a senior speech pathology major from Boerne, Texas, and one of the students who will participate, said the forum will focus on the issues of citizens ages 60 or older. Participants will be seated at tables of eight, and each table will identify a No. 1 priority and solution for an issue related to aging.

“It’s a great opportunity because anybody can come and talk about these issues,” Rich said.

Four generations participated in the last intergenerational town hall meeting, which took place in 2014. The TSHL will take the resolutions written during the forum to the 16th Texas Silver-Haired Legislative session. From there, the TSHL will prepare a written report to the governor and other state officials, the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services and the Texas Legislature.

Graduate social work students will conduct research by surveying student participants before and after the event to see if their biases about the elderly change when they participate.

Sponsors include Abilene Regional Medical Center Senior Circle, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, ACU Pruett Gerontology Center, ACU Foundation, West Central Texas Area Agency on Aging, Wesley Court and the TSHL Foundation.

Participants will include retired ACU faculty, senior citizens, aging cluster members, ACU students and TSHL members of the West Central Texas District.

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