Visiting a senior home for the first time was an exciting experience for me. I was a bit scared because I did not know what to do or what to talk about, but it ended up being really fun and heartwarming. When we first arrived, Paul explained to us in great detail the many difficulties that the elderly face. I knew that many seniors lived in poverty, but I was unaware of the vicious cycle of not being able to get money or housing. It shocked me to learn that it takes 11 years to get a voucher that allows a senior to live somewhere, but even that voucher does not guarantee housing. Before we served lunch to the seniors, we spoke in our respective languages to show the elderly which of us they can communicate with comfortably. I do not speak Tagalog fluently, I only understand it well. However, I tried my best to talk to a few Filipino women and they were understanding. They could tell that I was trying hard to speak in Tagalog, so they spoke half Tagalog and half English. Being in that setting made me realize how important it is for me to actually learn how to speak Tagalog. It was okay because the women knew English as well, but if they didn’t the situation would have been different. Serving lunches was also fun, the elderly appreciated us helping out. While waiting in line to serve lunch, I was able to talk to my fellow classmates and get to know a few of them better.
The retreat on Saturday was fun and not what I expected. We did many activities that helped us learn more about each other, and they also helped us understand the big picture of the LCS program. I was able to get to know my classmates better and get a feel for most of the different personalities in the cohort. It was inspiring to witness Trish talk about her book and have her show us up close how much information can be held in one picture. I shared with my partner a picture of my friend group and I from back home, and how we always take pictures of us in a polaroid picture, with a number 6 somewhere in the picture. From that picture, I told my partner more about my friends and the story of how we became friends and how we split, but then came back together. Trish was able to conclude from that picture that I am a leader. I thought it was amazing to see that from that small glimpse of my life, Trish could tell what kind of person I am. At the end of the retreat, everyone shared what they would be doing when they turn 80. I liked listening to everyone’s perspectives and taking a bit from each person’s and adding it to my own. I realized that the class is full of people who all truly care about other people, whether it be their family or people that they just want to help. Everyone is very inspiring and I hope to grow and mature while taking this class with them.
I was not able to attend the housing tour, but I joined LCS because I wanted to see the world from a different perspective. I feel that the majority of the public tends to forget about our elders and neglect their needs. Because I aspire to become a pharmacist, I want to be able to understand seniors on a level where I can sympathize with their hardships and use this knowledge to help when it comes to discerning what medication they need. I hope that my eyes can be opened to the various struggles that the elderly face and the factors that cause these problems. I also want to grow in my social skills with seniors and learn from their past experiences. As of now, I see the aging experience as something that depends greatly on the family of the senior. In my family, we took care of my grandparents until they decided to go back to the Philippines because they did not like it in the United States. I know that other families however just send their grandparents to nursing homes or do not take care of them because it is inconvenient for them. Some other seniors do not have family or became distant from them. I also am aware that once seniors retire, they rely mainly on money from the government, which can be tough. Some feel useless because they no longer contribute to society. I do not know many details of the aging experience however, just a few generalizations such as these.