This Wednesday we talked about the NAP that we did in last quarter and after we discussed the book Worlds of Difference, we watched a petty interesting documentary. The documentary talks about how elders feel about others’ view of them and their perspective of viewing aging. This documentary encouraged me to think about why people tend to not value the last decades of their journey. It is interesting that people all want to know celebrities’ childhoods. People want to learn about what they have done as kids and what were they thinking about all the time in order to be inspired by their story or to find reasons behind their success. However, only a few people interest in celebrities’ elder life. People tend to be careless and throw the conclusion that all elders might live same lives. I think elder lives are fascinating to know about because only a few kids get to choose what they want to do during their childhoods but almost all elders have chances to lead the way of their elder lives. I hope all elders have the chance to be the person they want to be even at their age and I feel really sad watching elders talk about how people treat them the way they do not want to be treated as.
Last Wednesday we brainstormed about propaganda ideas for this program and later discussed about the Book Worlds of Difference: Inequality in the Aging Experience. It is interesting that when I thought about what attracted me to apply to this program I realized that this program is actually a lot different than what I think it is, in a good way. The biggest attraction to me before was the site visits. I think field trips will be really interesting and I will learn a lot more about elder centers and the society in elder’s views. But for now this project interested me the most is the healthy aging project. I guess after went to several different elder centers I started to think about what things that elders need but are absent in their life and how can I improve them to make their life easier and happier. When I was interacting with elders they always reminded me of my grandma. I believe that in my grandma’s deepest part she still long to travel around and put on pretty dresses even she denied those when I tried to persuade her.
I feel the core concept of our HAP should be how to encourage elders to face their natural desire and let them know they can still achieve their life goal and provides them the resource needed for that.
It was nice to meet everyone after spring break. I am really happy that I made friends through this program and get to know people who may share the same passion with me! ;) Yesterday we talked about our Healthy Aging Project and I felt really excited about our HAP! Our group had a short meeting before the class and I shared my thinking about the project. I presented my idea to my group and they end up liked the idea of design the sensory garden or multigenerational park by ourselves. I was so excited that they liked my little presentation because I always want to do something like this, something that we can actually put it in the community and let people experience it. After taking to Professor Lewis and Professor Bussell, our group had a clearer step-by-step plan for our HAP and we what to do. I really like that we all got the change to create our own Healthy Aging Project and we can all put something that we passion about in this project.
Today was the last day of this program in winter quarter. We all brought food that we made or food that we want to share to the classroom. I really like the fried rice that Rhiannon made by herself and the packaged egg roll that I do not know who brought them. The egg roll is the best that I ever had. Today was really relax and fun for all for us. I was just talking to people and having delicious food. We talked about our finals, our other classes and our plan for next quarter. I am very happy that I made friends in this program and some of them are also USP majors so we may will take class in the future and we can go to major-related event together. This program helped me learn a lot more about elder’s llife in San Diego. I also learnt a lot about healthy aging and the features of a age-friendly city and community. The book we read this quarter opened my mind about elders’ daily life and their struggles and happiness.
West Center gave me a very good first impression from our last visit so I was really looking forward to this event. The Casa de Manana dance was way beyond my expectation so I was hoping that the West Center Senior Prom will be successful too. That day was a raining and cold day. There were a few pedestrians on the way to the West Center. The theme that we decide for the West Center Senior Prom was Saint Patrick’s Day so we brought a lot of decoration that represent this theme, including little green plastic tie and hats, and a lot of glasses and hats for the photo booth. And we also brought the Oskar statues and raffle prizes to surprise them.
After we handed out all the cookie, chocolate, and fresh fruit we started the dance. Honestly, the dance only attracted few people to stand up and participate in this event and made me a little sad. But people tend to have more fun in the Photo Booth that day. It was interesting that at first they all very shy and hesitate to go to the photo booth. But after people started knowing that there was a photo booth there was even a line in front of the booth. My favorite moment in that night was the chatting with a lady. I asked her if she want to go the photo booth and she refused but kept smiling at me. She then asked where am I from and what is my major. After she known that my major is Urban Study and Planning, she smiled and say that I can help them built the street in front of the Senior Center more walkable. She is a really nice lady and smiled a lot. She made my day.
On this Wednesday me and my group member presented the book written by Applewhite, This Chair Rocks. I really think this book rocks too! She brings up a lot of aspects of how people view aging that I never think before in the book. I actually learnt a lot from our group discussion, even more than the book itself. We talked about how she managed to structure her argument and how should we present the book in a way that can share very aspect of the book to the class. This book is a broad introduction of ageism and it includes a lots of day-to-day scene. She talked about ageism in a really interesting way and used her words to present us vivid scenes and examples.
This book talks about the aging industry in American of 21 Century. This book truly opened my mind to look at aging in another angle. According to the book, aging was treated as illness in order or merchant to create opportunities to make profit. This book provides a lot of data and examples. The presentation was also clear and organized. The book is like a research paper that is very well organized and detailed.
Today we all shared our presentation about our neighborhood. I think this is an awesome project because this project can help us really analyze what are important features of an age-friendly community. It also gave me a clearer view of if we need to design age-friendly city in the future, what are features that we need to look for and improve. I think the WHO Checklist is also extremely helpful. In the checklist, it talks about all aspects of a daily life, including Outdoor spaces and buildings, Transportation, Housing, Social participation, Respect and social inclusion, Civic participation and employment, Communication and information, Community and health services. I did not know this all contribute to aging-friendly city and now I start to think about the city as a whole and what part defines what. It is really interesting to listen other group’s project. They prepared really well and put a lot of pictures in the slide, which make me learn about their points efficiently. Each neighborhood has their special character and I was impressed by La Jolla’s high education rate. The streets in Barrio Logan are definitely so unique and colorful.
After this presentation, I start to realize that the life of elders in San Diego might be tougher than we think and also can be easier than we think in different neighborhood and to study healthy aging in community scale is important for us to actually know their daily life.
This is the most memorable night for me in this program. We the decoration team got there earlier so I got the chance to see the original look of the room we used for the dance. The room is really large and has some classic design shown in the details. After we putted on stars and Oscar posters, the room start to look like a ball room.
There are a lot of people showed up. They looked really excited when all of us lined up greeting them and they even joked around. Everyone dressed very pretty. The band was really great and the atmosphere there was perfect. After the band started playing, I saw a lot of people began humming of the songs that they feel familiar.
I never thought that the dance will go that well at that night. Few people started dancing in the begin and later more and more elders join the group and began dancing at the center of the room. They shake their body with the rhyme of the song playing. The most memorable moment for me was the time that all of us circled around and dancing together in the middle.
I feel really really happy to have the opportunity to be part of the event. Everyone there looked really enjoy. It is nice to share a memory with them and I feel happy and proud seeing they liked the event and enjoy it. When I saw those elders dancing, I can kind of imagine the boys and girls they used to be and when they were our age.
Casa de Manana is one of the place that impressed me the most among all the sites we visited. It is located in La Jolla Cove, a place that is perfect for tourist and resort. I bet the view from the windows inside those apartments will be awesome. Not like the Gary and Mary West Center we been to the week before, there are a lot of recreational space inside Casa de Manana. There are room for movie, room for recreation class, a library, and even a hair saloon inside. The Casa de Manana looks more like a resort rather than an elder center to me.
I was surprised about how high the rent actually is. Even the lowest rate will be above 1,500 dollars, not to mention those single houses which need more than 10,000 dollars. But after I saw the dinning area and swimming pools, I kind of get the reason why. The dinning room looks the same as t a fancy restaurant in San Diego. I like the fact that then provides foods that can be taken out and brought back to their room. I think this is sweet and perfect for someone want to eat their dinner watching TV shows and movies.
People lived in Casa de Manana all seem to have very inspiring stories. Some of them one will never guess their age based on their appearance. They all look energetic and seem enjoying their life. I knew some of them better after we shared our personal stories and some of the stories are sad and some are sweet. I really thankful that I had the opportunity to chat with them and their stories encouraged me to become the person I want to be in the future.