The HAP at the Gray and Mary West was amazing! We had so much activities such as a photo booth, raffle prizes, and awards. Our theme for the senior prom was St. Patrick’s Day. We had only a short time to decorate the room but we had so much help. Many of the senior volunteers helped us set up which was so helpful and nice from their part. I had many favorite parts from the prom. I think my favorite part was announcing the prom king and queen. The winners were extremely happy. They got to have their first dance and be photographed. I got a chance to talk to the queen and was saying how this was one of the best times she has had in a while. She was saying how she had never won queen before. She was taking so many pictures at the photo booth with the king it was so great to see how happy she was. There weren’t many people at the photo booth at first but once we spread the word about it, it got so busy. So many seniors were taking picture with their friends but they also wanted to take picture with us to keep for memories. One elder even had saved pictures he had with former LCSer. The raffle prizes were also a big hit. So many were so grateful to win prizes. Also at the end of the prom we gave everybody goody bags. They were so surprised that after the raffle prizes and everything they still got something at the end. It was a fun and amazing experience to have been able to put together this events for the seniors at the Gary and Mary West Center.
For our class, this week we started with a debrief of our HAP’s. Everybody seemed to have enjoy themselves on Friday. Everybody had great stories of the elders they talked to and how so many were saying how happy they were. This week we also presented our NAP’s which was our age friendly community assignment. This project was definitely very informative. I hadn’t had a lot of time to explore San Diego and the different communities since moving here. But through this project I got to see a little more on the strengths and weaknesses of each community. We had three groups who assessed La Jolla, Barrio Logan, and Golden Hill. The group I was in did Golden Hill. Getting the chance to explore Golden Hill was very interesting. We saw many positives of the community such as transit and the architecture that is preserved by the community. The other projects were interesting as well. I learned that there are many elders in La Jolla but sometimes it hard to realize it because it could be a tourist area. There are also many retirements hope in La Jolla for example like Casa de Mañana. I found that the average rent is actually pretty high compared to other cities around. I really enjoyed learning about the culture of Barrio Logan and the community itself. We also discussed what we needed or had ready for our HAP at the Gary and Mary west center. Seems like everybody is looking forward to our HAP this weekend.
The Casa de Mañana healthy aging project was a huge success. I enjoyed myself so much just being able to see how much the elders enjoyed themselves. Unfortunately, I wasn’t there to set up and decorate but my fellow classmates did such an amazing job. I really enjoyed the red carpet at the entrance. The elders seemed really happy walking through the red carpet as we welcomed them in. The band was a big hit because they were getting the elders to come out and dance. We did a conga line that the elders joined. One of the older women was so happy to join she wanted to hold our hands and to have us make a circle. Even thought she had trouble walking she was so lively. It was so great to see how happy she was. During the dance, we had a photo booth that elders were really liked. They would come to the booth and use all the props. For the elders who had a harder time walking we would walk around with the camera. My favorite part of the dance was the raffle prizes. As riffle prizes we had many blankets, gifts cards, and orchids. They were so grateful for all the prizes we handed out. I wish our HAP could have been longer because we were having so much fun. As all the elders were leaving they were thanking us and so appreciative for us spending the time with them and for everything we did. The elders were telling us to come back and visit which I thought was so sweet. It was definitely a great HAP.
Going to Casa de Mañana was a great experience to see how the wealthier seniors live. The location where the site was had an amazing front view of the ocean and it looked like a resort. Before going in we got to learn a little bit more of the history of Casa de Mañana but also what group of seniors they serve. We learned that the prices range from $3,300 for a studio to $11,000 for a villa. I was really surprised that it was that expensive especially after learning that some seniors have been living there for years there. Once we went inside it was so beautiful inside. They were having an exercise class in the ballroom which we passed by on our way to the library. The library had many large windows and was super organized. What I really liked about the site was the personal touches they had for the seniors such as the hall of artwork from some of the residents and how they had a rosebush for every resident that was currently living there. We got to interact with some of the seniors. We were divided up into 3 small groups where we got to talk to each senior on a personal level. The two lady’s we were talking about were so sweet. They told us about their life stories and how they ended up living in Casa de Mañana. They both agreed how they all felt like a close community and that this was their home.
Today’s class was pretty short. We checked in with our class HAP since we are preparing for Casa de Mañana which is on Friday. I am very excited for our first HAP. We decided on a red-carpet event for Casa de Mañana and a St. Patrick’s Day theme for the Gray and Mary West center. I hope that everybody gets dressed up. I hope all the seniors enjoy all the fun activities and raffles that we have planned.
This class meeting, we had another book discussion on This Chair Rocks. This was another great book. This book was more about the ageism towards seniors. It talked about how we have this misconception that once you start getting old it goes downhill. After reading this book I defiantly do not think that this is true. A point that the author made that I though was the most interesting was when she talked about the U-shape of happiness. This idea talks about how we are the happiest when we are youngest and the oldest. After the presentation again, the other half of the class presented their oral history projects. Many of the projects had such interesting stories about their EP’s especially about when they moved to the U.S and how they ended up raising their families here. My favorite thing about the oral history projects was getting to see all the photos of everybody and how every picture has a deep story that goes with it. This project was definitely so great because it was on a more personal level and each individual had their own story to tell.
I wasn't sure what to expect before going to the bayside community center. I was surprised to walk in and see that it was one large room with mirrors it reminded me of a dance studio. I arrived a little late so I missed out on the talk that the director gave but from my other classmates I heard he was very passionate about the work he does at bayside. This was defiantly one of my favorite site visits. We had such a great time being able to do Zumba with the seniors at the center. Wow it was a workout though! I was not expecting it to be so fast paced. The seniors that were in the class seemed to be having such a great time as well. I couldn't see the Zumba instructor because I was towards the back and everybody was so nice. After we finished Zumba the seniors were having a potluck and they were so welcoming towards us they really wanted us to eat with them. When we sat down with them they told us how long they have been going to the center and about their lives. I found it interesting that many of the seniors that go to the center have actually lived in San Diego for a long time; some even grew up near the center. Since it was valentine’s day the Zumba instructor brought the seniors little goody bags that they seemed to appreciate so much. They seem like they are a close community and very welcoming. I can’t wait to see the bayside center after all the remodeling and then school that they are building across the street turns out. I think having a school so close would be great for both the seniors and children because they can implement intergenerational programs.
For today’s meeting, we had the discussion for the book of Selling the Fountain of Youth. This book was definitely so interesting because it discussed how in our society people are obsessed with looking young. The book had parts that were really eye opening such as how much money people spend of all these face creams and pills to stay young. The group that presented did a great job on touching on the key points. In my opinion, it is crazy how all these anti-aging companies push this idea that the natural process of aging should be stopped and how “just because we are getting old we don't have to look our age”. I realized that these companies just keep growing because they target both men and women. Even I feel like anti-aging companies are targeting me. When I look for face moisturizers or just a face was they always have creams from 20+ year olds and they make it seem like it is never too young to start with anti-aging. These companies make it as if getting wrinkles and slowing down is a bad thing.
After the book discussion half of us presented our oral history projects. I really enjoyed hearing about people’s family members and getting to see some of my classmates amazing projects. It’s nice to hear also the experience or difficulties that people had while interviewing their EP.
During class, we discussed our projects that are coming. We got to hear about some of the past project from other students. They gave us many useful tips. I found it inspiring that they were so passionate about their projects and that some of them are still continuing their work. I’m still a little nervous about what I am going do for the project. We also talked about the group HAP’s that we are going to do together. I’m excited about doing the senior prom. We also got to choose where we will be doing our NAPs. I haven’t lived in San Diego for long so I’m especially excited to just be able to get out in the community and asses how friendly to elders it is. I think this is a neat project because I feel that we will be able to identify the needs that the elder community needs.
Going to the Gray and Mary West center was an amazing opportunity to get to interact with the elder community who are low income. We first started our day by learning more of the population that goes to the Gray and Mary west center. When we walked in they were having an exercise class which I thought was great to keep older people active. I was surprised how busy the cyber café was. I think at times we have a misconception that seniors don't know anything about technology but they really seemed to enjoy it. What I found the most interesting about the center was that the upstairs was the clinic and dentist. I never realized how important every aspect of health tries in together. He mentioned how their dentist not only worries about the dental issues such as oral surgery but they also worry about where they are going to sleep that night or if they have anybody who can help with the recovery. After we learned more about the center we got to help serve the first round of lunches. The population was very diverse who spoke all different languages. The seniors seemed to really happy when someone in the group spoke their native language. Before serving lunch, we got a chance to walk around and socialize. At first, I was a little shy because there were so many seniors but they were actually very social and really wanted to talk to all of us. It gave us an opportunity to get to know about their lives and how they ended up living in San Diego. After we got to chat with some seniors we got to serve them lunch. It was great to see the system they have in place to make serving more efficient.