In St. Paul’s PACE, I was paired up with a lovely old lady, Lorraine, she is in her late 70s and have physical disability. She also has difficulty in speaking due to the gunshot in her head when she was 35 years old. Although of all these unfortunate and difficulties, she was open and cheerful enough to share her life story to me. During our conversation, she sometimes frustrated by herself of not being able to remember a certain word or a certain event; in order to sooth her, I patiently listen to her and help her complete her sentences. I was surprise when the staff in PACE told me that Lorraine wrote a book, "My Life," a book that contains her old journals and old photos. After she showed me, my reaction was “Wow!” She even has her baby pictures in it! The book documents her life journey, from when she was born, at school, graduated, into marriage, at work, and to the time she started to loss her ability to write and now sitting in a wheelchair. From this sharing, I learnt the struggles of aging, and most importantly I see the changes of the stages of life; she was once at the same age as me, having all the dreams and goals in her life, having the ability to take care of herself and even others, but now she is helpless in a wheelchair and is depended on others for help. Through this reflection, I learnt that it is our turn to take in the responsibility of helping the vulnerable elders. We should because we have the ability to do so!
Through this Life Course Scholar program, I am able to have more direct contact and interaction with the elders. I can recognize their psychological and physical struggles of aging after interviewing them. It is important to encourage younger generation to interact with elders and reduce the generation gap that think old people are boring, outdated, or not worth listening to. I love listening to elders’ life stories; I admire them when listening to them. For me, they are the life mentors!