GoGoGrandparent is a transportation service available throughout the United States and Canada that works with existing Transportation Network Companies (TNC’s) such as Uber and Lyft to provide transportation options for seniors.

One difference with GoGoGrandparent, besides the fact that it is specifically for seniors, is that you don’t use a smartphone app like most companies. Once you sign up for the service, you call 855-464-6872 or 855-GOGO-USA when you need a ride. Rides may be scheduled a day in advance, but the preference is to call about 15 minutes before you want to be picked up from a location. Prices can be higher during peak travel times.

The vehicles used are four door sedans and individuals must be able to transfer independently from folding wheelchairs or with the use of walkers. Payment is made by a credit card kept on file, so no money is exchanged with the driver. Seniors may go wherever they wish and up to 100 miles away; they are not limited only to doctor appointments or shopping. In addition, seniors may take people with them; there is a limit of four passengers per vehicle.

For more information, visit https://gogograndparent.com/
An FAQ is available at: https://gogograndparent.com/faq

NOTE: Gogograndparent is not available in all areas. The web site allows you to put in your zip code to determine if you have access to the service.

State Independent Living Council Virtual Conversations

The Texas State Independent Living Council (SILC) will be hosting a series of virtual conversations on various topics related to independent living.

The first webinar will be on Friday, May 5th, from 2 – 3 pm Central time, and will feature a discussion about emergency preparedness. The presenters for this webinar will be Ron Lucey, Executive Director of the Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities, and Danielle Hesse with the Texas Disability Task Force on Emergency Management.

This virtual discussion is free and open to the public. To register, please click on the following link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3309752482715138307

Topics for future virtual conversations in this series have not yet been announced.

Upcoming Events: AFB Center on Vision Loss

Here are three upcoming events sponsored by the AFB Center on Vision Loss in Dallas:

1) The seminar entitled: Balance: Getting Back to Basics has been re-scheduled.
New date: Thursday, April 20th
Time: noon – 3 pm
Location: AFB Center on Vision Loss, 11030 Ables Lane in Dallas
RSVP to: Neva Fairchild at neva@afb.net or call 214-438-5316
Lunch will be provided.

2) The Balance Intervention Study has also been re-scheduled
New dates: Thursday, April 20th, or Friday, April 21st, by appointment, for pre-test assessments
Location: AFB Center on Vision Loss, 11030 Ables Lane in Dallas
Contact: Neva Fairchild at neva@afb.net or 214-438-5316
This study consists of a 12 week training program designed for individuals who are 55 years or older and have vision loss. Study participants will have access to balance equipment and Tai Chi classes. Pre and post tests will be conducted.

3) Free self-defense class for the visually-impaired community
Date: Friday, April 28th
Time: 10 am
Location: Grand Room, Sedona Village Senior Living, 2800 Sedona Ranch Drive in Fort Worth
RSVP to: Terry at 940-206-6829
This specialized class is specifically for individuals who use white canes.

Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation Mentor Program

The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation offers a Peer & Family Support Program for individuals who have paralysis and their families or caregivers. The foundation matches persons who have been newly paralyzed, or are having difficulty copying with their condition, with individuals who can act as peer mentors.

The organization strives to match people who live close to each other and are similar in traits such as age, gender, ethnicity, cause of paralysis, and level of injury. If no one can be found that lives nearby, the mentor may communicate with an individual by phone, e-mail, or Skype.

To get started, contact the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation at 800-539-7309, or use the form available at: https://www.christopherreeve.org/get-support/get-a-peer-mentor

AGE of Central Texas Services

AGE, which stands for Austin Groups for the Elderly, provides a variety of free and fee-based services for elderly individuals and their families / caregivers in Central Texas.

Fee-based service:
AGE operates two adult day care centers, one in Austin and one in Round Rock

Free services:
Health Equipment Lending Program
AGE library / online resources
Quarterly ENGAGE newsletter
Personal consultations
Computer classes for seniors
Monthly caregiver support groups in Austin and Round Rock
Annual caregiver conferences in Austin and Round Rock
Caregiver U classes, for caregivers and seniors, in Bastrop, Hays, Travis, and Williamson counties
Caregiver seminars and workshops, which are usually held four or five times per year

For more information on this beneficial resource, please contact AGE:

Low Vision Seminar in Dallas on February 25th

The Foundation Fighting Blindness is hosting a free seminar for persons interested in learning about age-related Macular Degeneration, Retinitis Pigmentosa, and related disorders. Seating is limited. A continental breakfast will be provided. In addition to sessions, vendors will be available to promote low vision services and products.

Here is the pertinent information:
Date: Saturday, February 25
Time: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Location: Best Western Plus Dallas Hotel & Conference Center
8051 Lyndon B. Johnson Freeway
Dallas, TX 75251
Advanced Registration: 800-647-0008 or http://www.FightBlindness.org/DallasFortWorthSeminar

Scholarship Resources for Texas Students who are Blind

Here are four scholarship opportunities for Texas students who are blind:

American Council of the Blind of Texas (ACBT)
Application packets may be obtained from the following sources:
• Texas Workforce Solutions/Blind Services Division Counselors
• Education Service Centers
• Dianna Carter, ACBT Scholarship Committee Chair
Please submit scholarship packets or requests for further information to the address below:
Dianna E. Carter, Committee Chair
12106 Swaps Drive
El Paso, TX 79936
The applications will be available from March 1 – July 7, 2017.

American Council of the Blind (ACB) Scholarship Program (National)
For more information, contact:
American Council of the Blind Scholarship Program
Attn: Dee Theien
6300 Shingle Creek Parkway, Suite 195
Brooklyn Center, MN 55430
The deadline for applying is February 15, 2017.

National Federation of the Blind of Texas (NFBT)
Applications and information will be available beginning June 1, 2017.
The deadline is August 15, 2017.
Applications will be available at https://www.nfbtx.org.
For additional information, contact:
Lara Sowell, Scholarship Chair

National Federation of the Blind (NFB) Scholarship Program (National)
NFB is currently accepting applications.
The deadline is March 31, 2017.
Applications are available at https://nfb.org/scholarships.

Texas Workforce Commission Stakeholder Meetings

The Texas Workforce Commission will hold a series of meetings in various cities to allow public comments regarding the proposal to merge blind vocational rehabilitation services with general rehabilitation services. Here is a list of the meeting dates, times, and locations:

Monday, January 9 – Austin, 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Texas Workforce Commission
101 E. 15th Street, 244
Austin, TX 78701

Thursday, January 12 – Harlingen, 2 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Texas State Technical College Cultural Arts Center
1825 North Loop 499
Harlingen, TX 78550

Friday, January 13 – Houston, 9:30 a.m. – 11 a.m.
United Way Houston Community Resource Center
50 Waugh Drive
Houston, TX 77007

Thursday, January 19 – Lubbock, 12:30 p.m. – 2 p.m.
Workforce Solutions South Plains Workforce Development Board
1301 Broadway, Basement Level Conference Room
Lubbock, TX 79401

Friday, January 20 – Dallas, 9:30 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Dallas County El Centro College – Bill J. Priest Campus, Room 1530
1402 N. Corinth St.
Dallas, TX 75215

Interested persons are invited to attend these meetings and provide public comment. In addition, written comments will be accepted until January 27th. Written comments may be e-mailed to: TWCPolicyComments@twc.state.tx.us or mailed to: TWC Policy Comments, Workforce Policy and Service Delivery, Attn.: Workforce Editing, 101 East 15th St., Rm. 440T, Austin, Texas 78778.

Questions about these scheduled meetings may be directed to the Texas Workforce Commission at 512-463-8942.

Make Your Voice Heard: Two Survey Opportunities

The first survey involves employment of people with disabilities. The survey may be completed by individuals with disabilities, employers, or providers. This survey is not restricted to any county or area of the state.

The deadline for completion is Friday, December 16th. Please follow this link to access the survey: https://ndiinc.formstack.com/forms/employment_options_texas

The second survey is only for residents of Travis County, and concerns transportation. Here is the link for this survey: https://www.traviscountytx.gov/tnr/transportation-plan/

There is one week remaining to complete this survey. Interested persons may choose a brief version of the survey, or a detailed version.

Important Information for Texas Voters with Disabilities

Here is important information about voting in Texas if you have a disability:

In every federal election each polling place will offer at least one type of accessible voting equipment.

Accessible voting systems can accommodate no vision, low vision, no hearing, low hearing, limited manual dexterity, limited reach, limited strength, no mobility, low mobility, or any combination of the foregoing except the combination of no hearing and no vision.

Each polling place is required to meet strict accessibility standards, such as ground floor access, curb cuts to the entrance, wide doors, and other barrier free elements.

Voters with disabilities may receive assistance in voting from either election officials or a person of their choosing. A voter may not receive assistance from his/her employer or someone from a union. The voter does not have to provide proof of disability.

If a person asks for assistance from an election official, a poll watcher or election inspector is allowed to observe the process.

A voter who does not understand English, or communicates using sign language, may bring an interpreter to assist him/her with voting. If the voter cannot bring someone, he/she should contact a local election official and request that an interpreter be available at the polling location. Be sure to specify what type of interpreter is needed (for an oral language other than English or for sign language).

Curbside voting is allowed during early voting or on Election Day. It is advisable to call an election official ahead of time if curbside voting will be needed.

If you are over the age of 65, have a disability, or will be out of town on Election Day, you may vote by mail. Click here for instructions on voting by mail: www.sos.state.tx.us/elections/voter/reqabbm.shtml

In some counties, the Democratic Party staffs volunteers who will provide transportation to voters who are elderly or disabled on Election Day. These volunteers will not ask for money, and will not ask who you are voting for or what your party affiliation is. It is advisable to contact the office ahead of time as there may be a waiting list or transportation schedule. For a list of the Democratic Party offices in Texas, click here: www.txdemocrats.org/party/counties

Information for this blog post was taken from: www.votetexas.gov/voters-with-special-needs/