This week we went to the Bay Side Community Center to have our LEG with the participant of the Zumba class. There were a lot of people We were conversing about “life at 20” with a woman named Jackie. She was so kind and full of advice. She really focused on the questions and making the whole experience insightful and fun. One memorable thing she had mentioned is that when she was twenty, she left from the East Coast to San Diego alone with her brother without knowing what she wanted to do in her life. The first few years in San Diego she was working from job to job until her brother wanted her to go to school because she was young and full of life. She said that no one really knows what to do in their lifetime, but you must take advantage of all the opportunity that life gives you and to appreciate them all. Whenever one door closes another one opens and to always know your priorities was something she taught us. She shared her bracelet with her cousins’ names and birthdates showing her love for her family and how much she valued them. She was very sweet; I am glad I was able to talk to her.
This week we went to Casa de Mañana to talk with the residents about their life as 20. I was able to talk to Deana about all the adventures she had. She traveled to all seven continents and almost all the states in America except North Dakota. She had nine children because she always wanted a big family since she was part of a small family herself. She began traveling when her children were old enough to maintain themselves and she decided to travel to places she always wanted. Throughout our whole conversation she really emphasized her travel experience indicating how special travel is in her heart. She was very passionate of travel and wanted all of us to see travel in her eyes. She saw traveling as a way to learn about more cultures and lifestyles, for it is the best way to learn and broaden your horizons. She inspired me to never stop being young and achieve your dreams no matter what your age is because it is never too late.
Today was our first day back from spring break which was much needed. We went over our HAPs projects during our class today and then everyone shared their project with the class. I enjoyed working with my group to finalize a few things and converse on our ideas. I believe sharing our ideas together made the project come together and, also, receiving feedback from our professors was very insightful because they are our biggest resource. Then, everyone shared their own HAP, and I was amazed by everyone’s ideas. I got really excited for many of them because I thought they were all great interactions with the elder community. I really enjoyed hearing the idea of the cook book of the elders of our community and the way to receive the recipes is by interacting and sharing a conversation with them. I thought this idea has so much connection and heartwarming interactions with the community.
Aw what a day! The moment I walked into the cafeteria, I was filled with joy. The whole room as filled with colors; colors I didn’t notice the last time. All the decorations and thought put into the Prom was just so heartwarming. It was heartwarming to see everyone work hard and offering a helping hand everywhere. The games, the photobooth, the food was all so wonderful, and I know the people loved them. I wanted to cry of joy when I saw people coming in with their fun, party clothes and just having such a huge positive attitude. Though everything went so quick, I enjoyed every moment. The announcing of the King and Queen filled me with joy especially when I saw the face of the Queen. She was so grateful and happy, oh how wonderful it was to see her smile. We know they may have been going through rough patches, so I really hope this brightened their day. AWW and then my friend Alisa was filled with joy when she crowned the Queen, I was so happy to see her reaction and to see the huge impact the crowning was for her and seeing Queen’s smile. Definitely a heartwarming experience! Then, I saw people dancing on their own and it just gave me joy that they were able to have this time to let go of their worries and emotions, and just dance everything away. I think what impacted me is watching them seize the moment to have fun and enjoy themselves. I can’t explain it, the pureness of them dancing and having a wholeheartedly good time just filled me with joy. I guess in college we forget to do that, so I miss seeing these joyful encounters. I’m glad this prom happened. Afterwards, when we were giving their goody bags, EVERYONE was so happy and so grateful to receive one. A lot of them kept saying “is this for me?” or “you all are so generous.” Also, on my way to another commitment, I saw a woman from the center was on the same bus as I was because I recognized her blanket (the ones we raffled). It amazed me how far she was coming from just to come to the center. She found a home and shelter there, so distance doesn’t stop her. It made me wonder “Wow, imagine how many other people are doing the same thing to be there?”
Today we all presented our NAPs to the class and I got to learn about so many areas in San Diego that promote healthy aging. We discussed about Little Italy, Sabre Springs, Barrio Logan, and Encinitas. It was amazing to see the diversity in each city and they all cater to the needs of its community. For example, in Little Italy the majority of people living there are pretty young-ish averaging around early 40s, so the central of Little Italy is all dining and entertainment. There is not much catering to people needs like a nearby grocery store or anything really crucial for home living nearby. Everything is far in walking distance, making it difficult for residents- more accessible for people with cars. In contrast, Sabre Springs was much age friendly and higher quality maintenance for the residents because it is such a high-class neighborhood, for the average household income was around $100,00 a year. Each place was so beautiful and expensive; San Diego always surprises me on how expensive it is. This project was definitely an eyeopener for me because as I go to a new city, I see the WHO checklist in my mind and compare them on my own time. I see through a different lens to determine how age friendly it is and how impactful the city is to its residents.
Today in the five-minute article presentations, I learned so many new things and we discussed about topics that were so informative. One article brought up the discussion on housing privilege and privileges in general. We discussed how many white privileged people have such great outcomes in their careers and life, but we shouldn’t ignore the fact that they put in a lot of hard work into their careers. However, how do we know that other people aren’t working hard as well (maybe harder), but don’t get the same outcome as them? I began to ponder within myself on this question too. This question is so awakening because I see in many people all the hard work they have put into their studies, but don’t get to be in their top choice university, in the top program, or in the top position at their job. It amazes me how different people are based on their background or race. Everyone works hard and others don’t, but it really depends on the starting point of people. We discussed in class that people have a much greater head start in life, making opportunities and privileges so abundant to them and almost handed while other people may not have that head start like in my case: I am a first generation student, so I didn’t get the head start as other peers of mine who had parents that went to high school, thus I had to struggle to be where I am today. Or another case of mine, I have to work 16+ hours a week for my tuition because my parents can’t fully help me pay my schooling, while others don’t have to work/worry because their parents can afford tuition. It is all about the head start of people and that is why people may not have such luxuries in life, especially housing. Connecting to this, in another article we also discussed how housing is not seen as a human right rather a privilege in this country. I was amazed by this because I myself did not see it this way until I took this course. I always knew in my heart that I always wanted for people to have a roof over their head, but I didn’t strongly feel about it until now. Housing deserves to be a human right for the sake of our fellow human beings. People shouldn’t be burdened with worry of where to sleep because of inequity. There are so many circumstances and unpredictable life changes that people can go through that shouldn’t be seen as privileges. We shouldn’t be so prejudice, but instead have compassion for everyone and create change to the housing situation we have now. Housing can provide so much health and stability for people that it deserves to be a human right. I can see this because of the tours we have gone and encountering people along the course of this program. this program has impacted my perspective on my community.
Today was the first day of sharing our Extraordinary Person project. I was the first person to share today because I was excited to talk about my dad, my EP. This project made such an impact in my relationship with my dad. By having the opportunity to open up to each other. Since the beginning, he was so excited when I asked him to be my EP and was more open with me. We started to text and call each other more, and we were more comfortable in each other’s presence. Thus, when I presented about him, I began to choke up from all the emotions I had. Moreover, everyone’s presentation on their EP was so genuine and heartwarming because you can see their own unveiling of their EP’s past and emotions. Everyone discovered so many things they didn’t know and grew a stronger bond with their EP because of it. One of the most inspiring EPs was Lesley’s grandma, for she always fought for her education and implemented high importance of it in her children. This just reminded me of the saying “you reap what you sow.” She reaped persistence and hard work in her children and that is what she sowed in her own children and grandchildren. It was such a motivation for me to be the best version of myself, not just for myself, but for the people around me. Our elders are such great examples to learn from and gain invaluable lessons for life.
Today in class we had a reflection on casa de manana and then had three groups of students present to us on topics they researched. Someone mentioned that a lot of people were younger than they looked, but it could be because of the stress they did not go through in life and how it is due to the privileges they have. And it is so true everyone has their own privileges and in life and they all come in different ways or forms, but for the residents in Casa it seems to be more privileged than residents we saw in the other residence like Sara. So, the aging of the residents in Casa were probably less worrisome and stressful evident from the graduate and undergraduate degree statistics, but it could also come because of different events in life. I am always fascinated how all these aspects in life are connected to one another and all holistically affect a person: such as transportation, community, family, financial stability, housing, nutrition, health, basic needs, and so many more components in life! They all coexist with one another and it’s time to stop seeing them in different components but rather all under one umbrella and accept they all can have the same affect to one another. After, our classmates shared their articles. The first group talked about vehicular transportation and raised the question of how old is it too old to still be driving? My firsts thoughts were there is no absolute age because every single one of us is uniquely different and I cannot be someone to judge on that. It is true we need to be able to evaluate when a person should stop driving, but not by age but rather by ability and if they are physically and mentally suitable to be able to drive. Maybe having an evaluation test every five years at the DMV or somewhere to ensure the safety of drivers like Jayson suggested. Another group presented on people with memory loss and how we can incorporate them in having a community and also caregivers. There was a big discussion on this but what was really eye opening for me was the role of a caregiver. Someone shared how they were a caregiver for their mom with cancer and she was just a high school student. It broke my heart hearing she was a caregiver at that age, but also made me respect her A BILLION times more because it is such a heavy responsibility and I respect her for giving her time for her mom. Though I may not know the role first hand I have seen it been played by my mom and cousins and I’ve seen the hardships they went through- it’s physically and mentally rough. I guess the reason it was a shocker to me that someone that age can be a caregiver was because I always imagined a caregiver as a nurse or hired person, but it totally passed through my head that a caregiver is much broader than a nurse, there is a whole spectrum on caregiving and now I understand more on caregiving. I do believe there should be more help for caregivers like mental health services, a stipend for their time, and nutrition help. The other discussion was on how can an ageing community feel less lonely in their ageing process in their community either urban or rural? I always had an idea that it can be lonely at that age because they can miss their family and friends, but I didn’t think of ways how they cannot feel lonely. I thought this was a great discussion on ways we can incorporate more ways to help them age in place and live a greater life and feel more connected to their community and different age groups. My first thought was having like little field trips to places around their area to explore just like casa de manana offered. They can have fun exploring and making friends while on the way. I also like a classmate’s idea of us, a younger generation, having conversation with them during walks so they can feel connected to other generations.
Front view of the ocean, walking distance of La Jolla Village with designer stores and yummy restaurants, and Cabo San Lucas vibes: WOW! Wow were my words as I was getting there, and I continued to say them as we toured the whole residence. I am still shocked (mostly culturally shocked) by this residential area. It all started when we were introduced to the coordinator and Kelly (I believe) they were dressed very fancy and old-fashioned. They were different from the other places we’ve visited because they seemed so enthusiastic and in advertising mode! Then she was sharing the demographics of the homes, and OMG 40% of the male residents had a graduate degree, I can’t imagine the percentage number of residents with an undergraduate degree. I am surprised, yet not at the same time because who can be able to live there with a regular paying job or people with who did not have such a privileged life. Then we learned the numbers of what they pay a month, 3500-12,000 DOLLARS! WOW, again, I can’t imagine having that type of money each month and probably not working too, but of course I am a little naïve when it comes to social security, 401k, and everything important for retirement, so I have a hard time imagining all that money. They offer independent living and assistant living, but don’t offer a skilled nursing facility. So, the cost raises with the amount of assistance the person may need, but for the most part they all receive similar services: meals (salmon!), a gym facility with classes, room necessities, and more needs. In my opinion, I would expect to be spoiled here for the amount they’re paying. The place did give off a paradise living feeling and I just felt safe and secured here. It is a little cultural shock for me because people are here living the rest of their lives here and paying to be here because they want to. I have never heard of someone wanting to leave their home, but I would mostly hear grandparents moving to a relative caregiver and age in place with their family and the family would provide. It’s is like “why leave when you have family welcoming you with open arms” and I can’t imagine seeing my parents leave to live somewhere, unless it is to their homeland where they can stay with other family members. Along with the culture shock, I was very surprised with the age group because most of the people we met were 90 years old and above. We met Henry I believe who was from Whales, then we met Helen who traveled with her husband because he worked in foreign affairs, we met someone who was going to turn 100 the next day, we met someone whose daughter was an engineer and chef he was a Navy sailor, and another woman who worked with Special Ed students. There was such a great variety in people, but yet very similar. They all looked young for their age and had such a fun filled life (for the most part). They were all white and didn’t see anyone of another race and it was just very different from the other places we toured. There was definitely a different atmosphere. I did like the community and how there did seem a sense of community between everyone. For instance, there was this one woman signing up in the binder of events to go explore San Diego. It gave me joy how she was trying to do something outside and get to continue learning new experiences. It was very sweet to watch because I imagine them that day and how their facial expressions might be. Overall, at Casa de Manana there was this theme between the people we met how they always want to continue learning and enjoying life’s greatest joys.
Thank you for taking us out to San Diego. A lot of the places we visited was the first-time I was stepping foot there, so I enjoyed this trip a lot. In this trip I definitely viewed the world differently and have more compassion for people. Everyone has their own struggles they face, and we probably don’t even realize it as we see them or as we may walk past them in the street or if we were to randomly talk with them. Everyone has a story to tell and everyone’s aging will be different, so I feel it should be our responsibility to comprehend and try to understand what they may go through and don’t be so quick to judge. Moreover, we were taught at the Potiker Family Senior Residence that the poverty line for people in America was created in 1950 and hasn’t changed since. What in the world? My first thought was why?? It is evident that life is dramatically different now than it was 70 years ago, but the law hasn’t changed to accommodate to today’s needs. I am astounded that this law hasn’t changed, and I am really hoping that there will be a change for our people. There are a lot of things wrong with this and I wish I may learn more and have a part to create change to this. Furthermore, we were able to tour the Potiker Residence and it was very nice from the outside, but what I did notice is there wasn’t much accommodation for residence with disabilities. For example, the hallway doors did not compliment the needs of people with disabilities and I saw it would be very difficult for people with disabilities to open the doors and walk through them alone. This did raise a concern for people with disabilities or even people who may not be able to open a door that heavy. Then, we met Irene (I believe) and she gave us a tour of her room. The room was small, but she made it home and it seemed she liked to live there. She was so welcoming to visitors and happy to have us there to share her story. She shared how she is very grateful to be there, for she was previously at a nursing home in Texas. At Texas, she was suffering from mistreatment at the nursing home and bed bug infestation. My heart broke hearing her story and watching the tears in her eyes. The suffering she went through to finally be there and be able to find an affordable home made me realize the difficulties people can go through to age comfortably. She was so grateful and hopeful to be there. She makes me think of others and then I worry, what are other people’s stories? How are the people on the waiting list doing? Where are they? Are they okay? Moreover, we went to Sara Francis Hometel and it was just a whole different atmosphere. The second we were stepping foot in I can smell the cigarette in the air and a different feeling than the Potiker. I felt scared and worried for the residence because it doesn’t feel like a home. We walked around the halls and so many different unwelcoming doors: a sign of “no spray please” and “the dog shouldn’t worry you rather the owner of the dog” and a bag of water nailed at the top of the door entry. Another classmate shared that one of the residents told them “Don’t live here!” This tour really made me realize the different circumstances and situations people can go through in life. Going along the tour, we went to North Park Senior Apartments for LGBTQ Seniors. This place barely opened like a year ago and the amount of thought and care that was put into the residence is amazing. The color coordination in the doors so residents won’t get lost, railings in the hallway, and wide enough bathrooms for easy wheelchair movement was just so heartwarming that there is a place for easy at home aging. I kept reflecting on the game we played at our first retreat, how anything can have an effect on our lives and the privileges we inherit. The game keeps coming to mind this quarter as we are going to new places and also as I am walking around in my own life. Life became very real to me and makes me appreciate all my opportunities and gifts in life and makes me want to help other members in my community.