|Life Course Scholar Program at University of California, San Diego||
|LIFE COURSE SCHOLAR PROGRAM|
Entering week 6 of the spring quarter, and being that we are over half the way through the course, our in-class session provided a good time to check in and debrief. We began class with a discussion of our LEG at both Casa De Manana and Bayside, detailing our observations, feedback, and overall experience. We were able to detail the differences in ideas and opinions between both sites, and also the commonalities between them. One main thing we noticed was that Bayside showcased community pride and detailed the various things that they felt Linda Vista did well in being an intergenerational community. This differs from Casa De Manana who expressed a multitude of improvements to La Jolla and ideas that would create an intergenerational community that they felt was lacking where they resided. This could be due to the fact that most of the residents of Casa De Manana are transplants from various places around the nation and the world, and thus do not have as much community pride for La Jolla as would a long time resident. After our discussion, my Healthy Aging Project group and I were able to share how our art from the heart event at Bayside last Friday went. We shared the painting we drew, as well as the surveys we had the elders fill out. We were able to report that the elders thoroughly enjoyed the class, and we're looking forward to the next one. In further detailing our findings of the HAP, we will be preparing and present a poster at Symposium in June. We had a wonderful presentation by Professor Pearson on how to create a Poster Board via PPT. She provided tools, tips, and examples of both successful and not as successful posters, which will be crucial in preparing our posters on our HAP’s. As the class came to a close, we were able to participate in discussions of the stories in the Worlds of Difference, about aging and work that is both paid or unpaid. One thing that was brought up was understanding diversity and culture, and the ways in which we can better understand and be respectful of others cultures in the aging experience. We went even further and discussed whether the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion course at UCSD are effective in exposing students to issues surrounding cultural awareness and diversity. Overall, it was a productive class and look forward to our next meeting.
I was looking forward to returning to Bayside, and once the day arrived, I couldn’t be more excited. Upon arriving, we were greeted by some familiar and friendly faces that we met before, and we all immediately jumped into to talking with some of the members. It wasn’t too much longer, till we were called over by the talented and energetic Zumba instructor, who led us in various dancing moves that went along with the diverse music selection. It was great to see that individuals of all ages could come together and participate in an activity together that was both fun and good for each others health. After 45 minutes of Zumba, and a little out of breath, we all began preparing to break out into learning exchange groups. Like what we did at Casa De Manana, we provided markers, and large pieces of paper for the members of the Bayside Community Center to write and draw their thoughts regarding what constitutes an intergenerational community. After grabbing some food from the potluck, we were able to sit down with some elders who call Linda Vista home. In our discussions, and to my surprise, many of the elders shared that Linda Vista to them seems to represent a well designed intergenerational community. Being that it was accessible, had parks, libraries, transportation, and access to health care. However, one thing that was shared that could be improved upon, was adding more parks and safe shared spaces for elders and younger people to come together. Another thing was increasing the amount of affordable housing, as many of these elders who bought their homes years ago, feel that today's housing prices would have been out of reach for them. They shared that homeownership is important to feeling a part of a community, and thus ways to achieve it are important. Lastly, increasing civic responsibility and wanting to help others in your community, whether it's through volunteering or helping with carrying groceries, the sense of community and shared responsibility needs to be brought back. It was a great opportunity to be able to hear what members of the Bayside Community Center feel about what constitutes an intergenerational community and my hope is that in future urban planning these ideas are heard and included.
On Wednesday, April 25 2018, the life course scholars cohort for Spring 2018 visited Casa De Manana, a Senior Retirement Community in La Jolla, California. We presented the findings of our neighborhoodh assessment project that took place in the winter quarter of the course. La Jolla, Golden Hills, and Barrio Logan were the three neighborhoods that had been assessed based on criteria for Age Friendliness provided by the World Health Organization. After presenting our findings to residents and staff of the retirement community, we then were given an opportunity to engage in a group activity with the elders. This activity entailed the students and elders discussing what an ideal intergenerational community would consist of. An Intergenerational Community is a community that is designed for all ages to be able to live together while reaching optimal health and safety. We were given a large piece of paper, that we were encouraged to write in words and in drawings what our group believed should be included an Intergenerational Community. Our findings from these drawings and discussions are included below:
- Transportation: Adequate public transportation that is accessible via walking. Furthermore, transportation should include buses, trolleys, and carpooling services.
- Residents at Casa De Manana expressed that they felt isolated from public transpiration due to their inability to access nearest bus stop which is up a steep grade and over a couple blocks away. They described their wishes to have the trolley route expand to include the La Jolla community.
- Housing: Developing affordable and accessible housing that multi-generations can live together in. By allowing for mixed generational housing, shared experiences and knowledge can benefit each person, no matter their position in the life course
- Residents at Casa De Manana described having a place for where the elderly can share housing with college students.
- Social and Civic Participation: A community that enjoys games, arts, and music across various areas, and encourages different generations to enjoy together.
- Residents at Casa De Manana expressed going on a field trip to Barrio Logan to see the artwork, and wanted to have college aged students join them
- Residents at Casa De Manana also expressed board games such as bridge and dancing that can be taught and experienced by young and old together
- Built Environment: Building public spaces that allow for people to come together at various times of day to experience music, art, commerce, and relaxation.
- Residents at Casa De Manana described building communities that surround a central plaza akin to those in Spain. This would allow people of different ages and backgrounds to come together for various events and experiences
The residents of Casa De Manana were eager to be involved in creating and living in a community that embraces shared spaces, and a community that consists of people at different stages of the life course. Thus as we develop our cities into the future urban planning, and policy across various sectors need to understand that older adults want to be a part of communities that have younger citizens, thus an Intergenerational Community.
Our 3rd in-class session involved a full agenda of things to do. We began by discussing our site visit to Casa De Manana next week. Though we visited this site last quarter, this time it will be a little bit different. Rather than being given a tour and presentation by the residents and staff of the retirement community, we will be presenting to them. Our presentations will include a short summary of our results of the neighborhood assessment projects we did last quarter. In class, we all did a mock run through to gauge our time and refresh our memory of what we observed. After we finish our presentations, we will be able to engage in a shared writing activity with the residents, and also enjoy a social time to be able to chat and ask questions. I look forward to being able to visit Casa De Manana next week.
Once we finished our preparations for our site visit, we then moved on to our continued discussion on the writings in World of Difference: Inequality in the Aging Experience. These discussions we centered on the Social and Psychological Contexts of aging. The stories shared were diverse in their content and messaging, ranging from ageism in the workforce to wanting to be different, to understanding chronic homelessness of the aged. We had a rich and filled conversation about these various writing, and I thoroughly enjoyed being able to listen and share my thoughts. After having our discussions, we then shared an update on our Healthy Aging Project. In regards to our, we were able to procure an art instructor for the event at Bayside for a reduced fee, and are now working with Bayside on a set date. We hope to have the event during the first two weeks of May and look forward to seeing it all come together.
Lastly, we were able to finish the class with a moving discussing aging and retirement, and possible solutions to the social security crisis that faces future generations. I found this movie to be refreshing and motivating as it helps bring to light a different solution to ensuring social security benefits last for many years to come. Rather than raising the age of retirement, the movie discussed over the life course introducing times of leisure and rest, as well as benefits which would encourage people to work longer. It further detailed that those who are retiring at 65 still have a lot of skills and life to live that would be beneficial to the workforce. This would help reduce the strain on social security that is causing it to run out. This is a film that everyone should watch to better understand the social security funding issues and how it can be resolved, besides simply raising the age requirement.
I look forward to next week and sharing my experience at Casa De Manana.
Being our second meeting of the Spring quarter, things were in full swing and this meant a packed day. We began the class discussing how we could better recruit students for the program next year. Unlike years in the past, we have decided to recruit in the spring to allow students ample time to include the course in their schedule. In voicing our ideas, we expressed that we wanted to encourage a variety of disciplines to apply and sought to reach out to various departments at UCSD. We also decided to reach out to various student run clubs and organizations to be included in their email blasts, and announcements to acquire more students to join this awesome program.
Once we completed this we were then were tasked to create questions to be included in a survey. This survey would be given to the members of the various sites we visit when doing our healthy aging project. It would be given after they participated in the project we put on, thus providing us we feedback. Ideally, we would like to have a survey that could be given prior to the event as well, but for the time being we are focusing on a post-survey. After we finished brainstorming questions, we then were led by three fellow students in a discussion on a set of readings in the book Worlds of Difference, by Eleanor Stoller and Rose Gibson. It is a compilation of various stories that describe the experience of the aging experience and how inequalities occur. In this discussion, we described stories relating to the life course perspective of aging and depending on your age during a specific time and event can affect your overall aging experience.
After finishing our discussion, we were then introduced to a new assignment in which we are to create a video/infographic/story etc. that addressing myths about aging. Through this assignment, we are looking to fight back at ageism, by demystifying the myths that people share surrounding the aging experience. Once we finished with that, we then broke up into our HAP groups and was able to check in and work on it. Our group has been able to contact Bayside and now waiting on approval on a date and if our art class idea would be okay. We also reached out to some art vendors, and at the time, are speaking with an art instructor who may be willing to lead the class. More updates to the come next week.
After a restful, but not long enough spring break, I was excited to return to my favorite class for the spring quarter. It was good to see everyone and hear how their break was, as well as what classes they are taking this quarter. I day began with an overview of what the course schedule would look like for the next 10 weeks, I was excited to see that we were going to be doing some more site visits, as well as returning to Bayside Community Center to engage in A fun Zumba class again. We also discussed the book we would be reading this quarter and detailed who would present which sections. I look forward to reading this book, as it’s a compilation of diverse stories that center around aging.
Once the logistics were completed, we then broke into our Healthy Aging Project Groups, and began to discuss our plans. We discussed the template we filled out over spring break that provided a good overview on what we plan to do, the resources and supplies we need, as well as how much we have to spend on our event. Our group is putting on art class with snacks and drinks for the Bayside Community Center, with hopes of having the artwork displayed in the center, as well as serve as a way to fundraise. We were able to meet with Professor Lewis and Professor Bussell to go over our plans, and to provide us with some helpful insights. We plan to reach out to local vendors and organizations to see if they are willing to donate art supplies. We also agreed that hiring a professional art instructor is the most important as it will really create the overall experience we are looking for in putting this on for the community members of Bayside. Lastly, we discussed how the event would be marketed and thus people would sign up for it. After hammering down details and understanding what our next steps our, we sent out an email to Bayside looking to set a date and also see if there was any input they had, as well as answer some questions that we created.
I look forward to seeing how our Healthy Aging Project turns out and being able to provide this fun and special event to the Bayside Community.
It was a cold, rainy day in Downtown San Diego, but at the Gary and Mary West Center the smiles and laughs that filled the room emitted warmth that was reminiscent of a warm, sunny day. Upon arriving, I was excited to have the opportunity to put on this senior prom for the guests at the center, that I had met a couple weeks prior. The guests who relied on the center for their daily breakfast and lunch represented a diverse and rich population of San Diego seniors. I looked forward to being able to talk and interact with the various seniors, as they come from all walks of life, and had many incredible stories I enjoyed listening to. Our group was the first to arrive, and being that we had a lot to do, we got started right away. I with the help of a couple of my peers, began filling the goodie bags with the remaining snacks that we had not had a chance to add. After finishing this, I was able to see the St Patrick’s Day themed senior prom starting to take shape. From four leaf clovers to mardi-gras beads, as well as a beautiful green backdrop to the photo booth, it was almost time for the party to start. I noticed that the food was beginning to be plated, and therefore, I grabbed a pair of gloves and jumped in to help the process go more quickly. The food that we provided included pizza, bananas, oranges, cookies, and chocolates along with refreshments. It wasn’t too long later till our party goers started arriving.
We have music playing as people entered, and began to hand out food to the various tables. While doing this, some of us were dancing to liven up the mood, and we were joined by some of the seniors. It wasn’t too much later, that we had the centers choir come up and sing some songs. This was a touching moment as the whole room lit up when hearing their fellow friends and center goers singing in harmony. After this we announced the prom king and queen, as well as awarded Oscars to a various volunteer in the room. This was a great added touch as it helped keep the energy of the party going along with following the prom theme. We then were able to dance for a little bit, and encouraged the seniors to go take photos in the photo booth. Everyone loved the photo booth and the fact that they could take a photo home with them was an added bonus.
The last main event of the party, was the raffle. We raffled off blankets, gift cards, and coffee cups. It was touching to see how everyone celebrated when they came up to collect their prize, and it was easy to see how much each person appreciated. Once this concluded and the party ended, we were able to send each person home with a goodie bag filled with toiletries, and snacks. As I handed these bags out, everyone expressed their gratitude for the event, and were eager to let us know that we are welcome back anytime. Putting on this senior prom was the highlight of my quarter and I look forward to sharing my experience with my friends and family.
Being a native of San Diego, I feel pretty knowledgably of the various neighborhoods in the city. However, after participating in the neighborhood assessment project I realized there was a lot for me to learn. Stemming from all the new insights I gained in assessing La Jolla, I was excited to get the opportunity to learn from my peers about some other communities. In class we were given presentations on Golden Hill and Barrio Logan, both neighborhoods that I have visited. Through these presentations I was able to understand better the resources, cultural backgrounds, as well as issues that were unique to each community. One thing I gained from the presentations, was that despite differences, there were common themes that were shared between each neighborhood. The one that stood out the most is the issue of affordable housing. San Diego has a pressing issue in regards to providing affordable housing, for both the young and old. Furthermore, to be the best city we can be in terms of Age Friendly, providing adequate, safe, affordable housing is key.
After our presentations we were able to break up and meet with our healthy aging groups. My group is looking to put on a Sip and Paint class for the residents at Linda Vista, in partnership with the Bayside Community Center. We are looking to have a professional artist come and teach panting to a group of residents at Bayside, along with providing some light snacks and refreshments. Our hopes are to then be able to display the artwork around the center. With some more discussion, and brainstorming figure out a way to incorporate a fundraising aspect to the project. This is something we feel would be beneficial as Bayside is looking to raise funds for their new center, and we want to support them for all the good they do in Linda Vista.
It was a beautiful winter night in La Jolla, and at Casa De Manana a party was about to commence. At 5:30 a group of us rode over to Casa De Manana to prepare for the Oscar Themed Party that was to begin at 7pm. As soon as we arrived, I began going through the decorations and through the help of my peers, we began to transform the place. From old movie posters, to hanging stars, and not to forget, a couple silhouettes of Elvis, the Oscar themed room was beginning to take shape. As more of our classmates arrived we were able to start putting together the photo booth, which had a red curtain background with various props to use while taking photos. Lastly, we placed the red carpet on the floor, and with the band starting their music, the party was ready to begin. As the residents began entering the party, it was great to see their reactions and how they truly loved what we had put together. Each resident was given a raffle ticket, which was then used to give out prizes later in the night. The prizes ranged from blankets, to books, to gift cards, and even beautiful orchids. The raffle was a big hit, and many of the residents were very thankful for what we had done. Throughout the night, I was able to dance with the residents, and being that it is one of my favorite things to do, I had a great time. Through my dancing I was able to meet and talk with some of the residents more, and hear about their lives. This was one of my highlights, as I was able to gain insight into the people who live here, and how diverse their lives have been and continue to be. As the night began to wind down, evidenced by a half eaten tray of desserts and tired faces, I was pleased with what we were able to accomplish. This is something I will look back on for years to come, and look forward to what we put together this Saturday at the Mary West Center in Downtown.
The in class session today was primarily focused on preparations for our upcoming Healthy Aging Projects at Casa De Manana and Mary West Center. We were able to discuss logistics regarding the decorations that had been ordered, as well as potential prizes for the events. It was exciting being able to see that our ideas that had just been developed a couple weeks ago, were starting to take shape. Being that Casa De Manana dance is this coming Friday, we were able to focus on the timeline of what will take place, along with procuring rides. I’m going to be helping with setting up the decorations for our Oscar themed event. I look forward to seeing it all come together, as well as being able to interact with the residents, whether it be dancing or just enjoying a casual conversation.
We also did a brief check in regards to our neighborhood assessment project. My group was assigned to La Jolla, and we shared some of the observations we made in our visits. It was a great experience getting to see La Jolla with a different lens and be able to see how it meets the age friendly guidelines designated by the World Health Organization. We were able to end our session with a sharing of our potential Healthy Aging Projects we will develop in the spring. I shared that I’m interested in working with Bayside Community center, in developing an art class, in which community members can make their own art. This art can then be hung up around the center via a gallery showcase, where potential donors can be invited to attend, and purchase the art, which proceeds will be put back into the center. Though this is just a rough idea at the moment, I’m eager to see how it all comes together with help from fellow students.