When we arrived, the seniors quickly assembled and set up preparations for the potluck after Zumba. The instructor chooses wonderful, upbeat songs that everyone can dance too. She also choste a good set of choreography that makes people tend to smile. I genuinely begin to sweat every time we come, because the moves are so engaging. I had mentioned in my previous blog post about zumba that the instructor also makes a commendable effort at modifying the exercises for older bodies. She runs through stretches in the final dance that help to prevent injury and increase muscle longevity. The activity is excellent and I’m very happy that Bayside has this available to them.
Our discussion involving the same theme as last week, the WHO’s age-friendly cities, was wonderful. I worked in a group with Tessie, Niel, Jackie and Tammie. Everyone was so nice and welcoming. Niel and his wife Tessie have been living in Linda Vista for about 40 years. They knew a lot about the area! Niel informed me that after WWII, the government subsidized the construction of 3,000 living units in the Linda Vista area. The purpose of this was to house technicians and other military industry employees as well as their families. Niel and Tessie purchased their home for about 19,000 in the 1960s. They agreed that subsidizing this housing and having the opportunity to invest in a home allowed them to have a better life. In 1965, $19,000 is about what would be $150,000 today. I am more than willing to bet that their house is worth more than that, considering the property values in San Diego. Niel and Tessie have since paid off their home, and are probably able to live comfortable due to their equity.
The whole group had a great sense of community pride, coining Linda Vista as the heart of San Diego. All of the adults in this group repeated that phrase multiple times. (Maybe Bayside should use this for a slogan) They love the parks that are close and walkable. Tammie explained that she loves going by the skatepark to watch the young boys skate. The skatepark is also supposedly the 2nd largest skatepark in the state. They were very proud of this. Tammie also said she often interacts with the skaters and other young people in the park, clearly making Linda Vista a welcoming place to live. We have learned how detrimental social isolation can be for elders, and for people in general. From our conversations, we learned that the community in Linda Vista is incredibly close, and if people are not close, then everyone is also friendly. I have always felt warm and appreciated at Bayside. All of the experiences there have supported this. I’m really hoping that they are interested in working with us on our HAP, especially because the community has wanted a garden. But as with all community outreach projects, we must handle the community delicately, and establish trust and friendship before proposing changes.