This past Friday our group took our first trip to visit three St. Paul's Program of All-Inclusive Care (PACE) sites to talk to the elderly participants of the program. PACE provides a wide range of services from healthcare to social services and the services are free for seniors who have Medicare or Medi-Cal. At the first site we visited I had a conversation with Anna who was keen on speaking about her past experiences as a nurse. She spoke of training to be a nurse in the cadet academy, the atmosphere in the U.S. during World War II, and how penicillin began to gain popularity. Never had she thought that she would live to be 92 years old! Throughout our conversation, Anna was humorous and made witty quips about her biggest pet peeve: those who don't wash their hands after they've been in the bathroom.
The second site we visited was an intergenerational site that had a daycare for children and programs for the elderly as well. In the mornings, the children and elderly gather daily to recite the flag salute. The dynamics of this site felt the most natural to me because the interactions between the elderly and the children felt more like a family unit. The third site we visited was similar to the first site, but seemed to have a more lively social environment.
Overall, I felt that I gained some insight on options that are available for senior citizens who are not able to fully live independently. I look forward to visiting these sites again and exploring in depth the elderly's perspective on aging.