By Kasiemobi Udo-okoye, linkAges Advocate
Yesterday at the Los Altos Senior Center, I and another advocate, Mihiri, set up an information table with our mentor for the day, Christina. We set up our table with its linkAges table cloth, the banner, the free candy and sticky note pads, the sign up sheet and brochures. There we were, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed on our first day, ready to sign up the older people who would surely be there soaking up some sun or socializing before their next dance or fitness class. Turns out, though, Los Altos is a pretty quiet town. Even though the weather was sunny and warm, there weren’t very many people around.
We managed to quickly talk to a few people on a way to a Tai Chi class that was starting in a few minutes. (Note to self: Tai Chi is really really popular! Future linkAges-sponsored activity?) But the long and short of it was that we weren’t very busy. At first, I have to say, I was a little disappointed that we weren’t getting much traffic, but the downtime at the Center turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because we got to talk to a really great staff person at the center named Candace. Candace is the Senior Program Recreation Coordinator for the City of Los Altos, and she is in charge of implementing the Center’s events, like the Tai Chi and Line Dancing classes, and making sure that the Center runs smoothly.
We ended up talking to Candace for quite awhile, and besides talking about exciting new developments in her life and her growing home, we got to pick her brain about what it’s like to have a career in senior recreation. Candace told us about her interest in the science of healthy aging and gave us great insight into the rewards of working with older citizens. She was great to talk to! I think the most surprising insight she had to share was that while there is a lot of emphasis in the field on physical, clinical issues in healthy aging, in her daily work Candace gets to provide seniors with the social resources and community that are just as critical to healthy aging. Working with seniors, Candace said, has made her unique in the recreation field, and means she’s plays an important role in creating a community for seniors where they can find the kind of fun, engaging activities that keep them active and connected with others, just like we’re trying to do with the linkAges Time Bank.
It just goes to show that going out in the community always has something to teach you, and linkAges’ partners are pretty amazing. I can’t wait to meet more of them every week!