Today, we met up earlier in front of Casa de Mañana to talk about our HAP’s. It was so nice to work outside because the weather and the scenery were beautiful. Even the professors agreed so much that we took a group picture in front of the ocean. Afterwards, we went inside to meet more seniors for the LEG activity. The senior woman that I talked to was named Deetta. When I told her my name, she told me that people often think that her name is Deanna. I thought that was interesting because people always think my name is Diana. Deetta mainly talked about her life of traveling. She has traveled to all seven continents and almost all the states in the U.S. except for North Dakota. Her most memorable trip was to Antarctica, where she saw a ship almost sink. I was impressed with her amount of traveling given that she had nine kids. I asked her how did she find the time to travel with having so many kids. She had done all of her traveling when she retired and all her kids were grown. At 20, she was close to graduating college with a degree in sociology and psychology. She was also engaged as well to her husband, who was an engineer. For her career, Deetta became a teacher for special needs kids for 25 years. I was amazed at her life and how she has been able to age gracefully at 91 years old. She most definitely had an interesting and fulfilling life and I hope to be able to travel as much as her one day.
I was glad that we had a late start to class this week because it seems like I still cannot catch my breath this quarter. We did not go to the same location as we did last time when we went to Bayside, but right across the street from it. I was a little bummed that we could not do Zumba with the seniors again this time since the new location was smaller and was not able to accommodate all of us. However, I remembered that some of the seniors that we did Zumba with last time were here at this new location. It warmed my heart knowing that these seniors were continuing to stay active in their community and that some even remembered us from last time! Additionally, I enjoyed the LEG activity that we did with the seniors. It was really interesting to learn about the seniors lives at our age. The senior woman that I spoke to was from out-of-state. At 20, she did not know what she wanted to do and her brother thought it was unacceptable for an unmarried 20 year old to be doing nothing. So, she moved to California with her brother and got a certificate in typing. She then got an office job, where she met her husband. She had said how a majority of her coworkers were men and that not a lot of women were working at the time. After she met her husband, they got married, had three kids, and has stayed in California ever since. After telling her story, she asked each of us where we were from and what “ingredients” we were made of. I thought it was a bit odd of a question until I realized that she was trying to ask about our ethnicity. She praised us for being in college, pursuing a career and reminded us that we may end up somewhere else besides California like herself. Her statement made me wonder if I actually was going to move somewhere else and almost scared me because I cannot imagine living anywhere else. The future can be overwhelming, but when I think of these seniors and how far they have come, it does not seem so bad after all.
I enjoyed seeing everyone on the first day of class. It was interesting to hear what everyone did during their spring break. I know I definitely took this break to recoup from last quarter. Thankfully, this quarter seems to have a more manageable workload. We went over our HAP’s this class period and it was good to do some more planning. I felt that it was a little difficult to get a solid proposal over break because everyone had different schedules so I was glad that we had more time to work on it. I am a part of the walkathon group so we mainly went over which possible locations and dates that we might choose. We found that Mission Bay would be our best option since there is a clear paved path and pretty scenery. We additionally shortened the length of our walk because we realized that it would take a while for seniors to walk a 5k. I had also let my group know about an elderly woman that I met on my plane ride back to San Diego and she had told me that she was a part of a walking group called SD Walkabouts. I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to invite her group to our walkathon. She seemed thrilled about the event and said she would spread the word to her group. There is still much more that my group needs to discuss, such as the budget and advertising, but we have made good progress.
When the dance began, I helped distribute the raffle tickets as the guests entered. They were all coming in so fast that I could not rip the tickets fast enough to give to the next person. However, I was glad to be the first guest to greet them. I thought it was very cute that some came dressed up. My favorite was this man’s sequence-patterned tux. I also helped set up the photobooth and games area. Since the dance was carnival themed, the games were ring tossing and bean bag throwing. I think the seniors enjoyed playing the games and even the prizes that we gave out. I heard one senior say she was going to give her prize to a little girl. The best part of the dance was when the prom king and queen were crowned. For a second, I did not know that they were a couple so when I figured that out, it made watching their dance much more special. I could see how happy the queen was dancing with all the attention on her. I hope we made her feel like a million dollars. Overall, I noticed how the people at this dance appreciated us more and the things that we were giving them. I could see their faces brighten up every time they won something for the raffle. A drawback that I felt with the dance was that it all seemed a bit rushed and the series of events were a bit unorganized. I felt as if the dance went by so fast and that there was not enough time to do everything at a slower pace. Maybe three hours should be allotted for the dance instead of two next year. Other than that, I think the dance was a success and am glad I could to participate in an event like this! At the end, the class took a group picture, but I missed out on it because I was in the bathroom. I was a little bummed, but hopefully I can get photoshopped in!
I was a part of the group that planned the dance at Casa de Mañana so I arrived earlier to help set up. Wayne, Nina, and I got to decorate the photo booth. The decorations for the rock n’ roll theme definitely livened up the room. I also liked how we took the pictures with a polaroid camera because the seniors could take them home as a souvenir. I even got to take a picture with one elderly woman as she walked into the dance. She was so excited to wear the funny photo props. I think the photo booth turned out to be a hit during the night! Another hit of the night was the dancing. Although the band did not play the best music, we made the best of it. Most of the seniors just watched us dance, but everyone kept saying how they loved our energy and watching us dance. I felt a bit awkward when they were watching us, especially since I did not know how to dance to the music, but I still had so much fun! I loved how we would all get so excited if the seniors came up to the dance floor. I was surprised at their energy myself. For instance, there was one lady who said she was in her 90’s, but she was up dancing with us practically every song. It was so cute every time she happily switched between us to dance. One thing that I wondered during the dance is if the seniors thought we were weird for dancing solo instead of with a partner. I thought about this since I noticed how many of the seniors who would come up to dance would go in pairs and dance together. I tried dancing in a pair like them with Alisa, but the footwork was more difficult than I thought. At the end of the night, this lady had come in and ask me if the dance was over. It broke my heart to tell her that she missed it, but she stayed around anyways and seemed to enjoy talking to the remaining seniors as they were leaving.
We continued our presentations for class this week. First, we started off with the oral history project presentations. Wayne presented first and turned out to be my favorite EP project so far. His EP was his mom, who has Native American roots, so he had made three dream catchers to represent her memories. They were made so beautifully that I am sure he could sell them on Etsy. It was so sweet to see how close Wayne was already with his mom and how this project brought them even closer. After the EP presentations, we presented on the current events articles. My group presented on an article talking about the possibility of robots being able to care for seniors. The robots are meant to give caretakers more time to do other tasks, not completely replace them. This could additionally reduce loneliness for the elderly. One aspect of the article that I appreciated was the effort to make sure that the robots were culturally competent. I feel that this is one feature that is often left out of technological developments. The robots are currently being tested in Japan and the UK, which are two culturally different countries that would serve as a great model. I doubt that any robot could be completely culturally competent, but this is one step towards the right direction. One aspect of the article that I questioned was the affordability of these robots. This kind of technology is most likely expensive, which means that only high-income seniors would be able to afford a robot. Thus, this would further the gap between low and high-income seniors. I feel that there are other better ways to relieve a care taker and reduce loneliness rather than this option.
This week’s class had a lot of presentations involved. The first set of presentations was on the current events articles, which were similar to the ones last week. The second set of presentations was on Selling the Fountain of Youth. I was a part of this group, but I was not one of the presenters. I thought the book was a little too descriptive on the people within the beauty industry, which made it a bit more difficult to read. The author’s style was written like a play by play. However, I liked that it highlighted on growth hormones instead of beauty products because I have never thought of that side of the anti-aging industry before. It seemed to be something that one could have only if they were rich. The book also made me wonder how we should define ‘anti-aging’. I feel that there is no such thing as ‘anti-aging’, thus a product should not be marketed as such. The last set of presentations that we did was the EP presentations. I really enjoyed watching these presentations because I could see the new bond that was formed between the memoir partner and their EP. I really liked Shivani’s project because she put her grandma’s three memories in a jewelry box. It was a good representation of her grandma’s memoir. Everyone’s project was so uniquely different and interesting that I am excited to present mine next week. I hope that I will be able to present my EP in a way that makes him proud.
It felt weird being in a classroom this week since we have been going to site visits all quarter. I was a bit overwhelmed at the amount of projects that we covered, but I’m glad that the professors were able to break everything down. It was nice to be all together and talk about our experiences so far. Our first activity was the current events article presentation. I enjoyed the discussion that we had, especially about if older people should drive. It reminded me of my grandma and how she wanted to drive even after her license was taken away. Her car got taken away, but my family had to lie to her and say it was in the shop. I think after a while, she finally realized that she was never going to get her car back. I feel that this is a sad realization for many elders because a part of their independence is taken away. After the current events presentations, we went over our other projects, such as the book presentation, oral history project, HAP’s, and NAP’s. By the end of class, my head was spinning with mixed up acronyms. However, the project that I am excited to do is the NAP. My group chose to assess Encinitas, which I have never been to before. We decided to do a visit to Encinitas on Saturday and check out the local community center and library. Both of these places had pretty ocean views and were in good condition. My group even got to join in a jazzercise class at the community center. The class was open to everyone, but the majority were all women. They were all very sweet and welcoming to us. I am looking forward to our second visit to Encinitas next week.
I have to start out by saying that Casa de Manana was the most luxurious retirement home that I have ever been. Their location was right at La Jolla Cove so the view was simply spectacular. My favorite room at Casa was the library because there were large open windows that faced the ocean by these comfy-looking chairs where you could read peacefully. I wanted to live there now as a student, but it cost more than my tuition! I could not believe how much the monthly cost was to live there (about $3,500 to $12,000). I was told that a couple had bought two villas to make it a grand villa. My first thought was, “How much space do you need for two people?” Despite the price, I could tell that all the seniors there were really happy and felt spoiled. I loved how the residents were so eager to share their lives and how they ended up at Casa because they were all such interesting stories. I could not believe the age of some of the residents because everyone looked so young and healthy. There was one woman who was about to turn 100 years old next week and she did not look a day over 70. Another woman said she went skydiving for her 90th birthday. My jaw literally dropped when she said that because I am too scared to go now at my age, let alone at the age of 90! I really enjoyed my time here and it inspired me to want to make a living for myself where I will be able to afford to age in place in a home like Casa.
On Saturday, we went all around downtown to look at different affordable housing options. The first stop was at Potiker Family Senior Residence. A woman named Irene allowed us to see inside her unit. It reminded me of the one my grandma had stayed in when she was in a care facility. My grandma did not like staying at a care facility, but Irene seemed happy and positively-spirited. One thing that I noticed at Potiker was how the outdoor area’s sunlight was blocked by a large apartment complex building. It seemed to darken the area and discourage any activity outside. During our visit to Potiker, we also stopped by Sara Francis Hometel. This residence was meant to be transition housing. The hometel did not seem like a good place to live since the living spaces were so small, smelly, and dirty. Even one resident had walked by during our tour and told us not to rent at Sara Francis because it was ‘disgusting’. The place did not seem to be age-friendly at all. The next stops after Sara Francis were brief. I mainly noticed how well all of them blended into the community so well. I would have never known that these places were affordable housing if no one had told me. Our last stop, North Park Seniors, was the best one. The building itself was kept in great condition and was built thoughtfully to accommodate seniors. For example, each floor was color-coded differently to allow seniors with dementia to be able to remember the location of their apartment. There was also plenty of outdoor space that allowed for socializing and looking at the pretty view of North Park. I would definitely feel the most comfortable living in North Park Seniors if I was an elder person because of the small details that made the place more comfortable. It was funny how each place we stopped at was progressively better than the last, but it was nice to see the wide spectrum of affordable housing options in San Diego.