Creative Arts * Creative Education * Creative Therapies
During the month of July our participants attended a picnic at La Milla Park after more than 16 months in quarantine! Case managers and participants enjoyed eating hamburgers together and playing at the park. Older adults did exercises and enjoyed each moment at the park. EISOA followed all CDC recommendations.
We all know that quarantine increased the risk of depression, and after all our participants received their two vaccines we decided to celebrate in person. Our trip to the park and Thursday in-person classes has given our participants an environment of normality. In addition, we are providing art material to take home and providing nine virtual classes via Zoom.
Those are some quotes from our participants:
Mrs. B said during the picnic, "when my mother was part of the EISOA program, I did not understand why she was always ready to attend classes, go to the different events and be in contact with others in the program. After I retired from my job, I felt anxious to be at home all day and not have anything to do. My mother told me to join EISOA because she understood how I was feeling. So, I decided to contact one of the case managers, and after an interview, I decided to participate. Since that day, my life has changed, and now it is full of activities. I am learning to paint, and I am again part of a group. I know that I will not be part of a group that suffers from depression due to isolation."
Mr. R said “ I feel happy to be part of the program and have the opportunity to share those moments with my friends in the group. It was too many months in quarantine, and I was missing being with people. I appreciate how my case managers helped me during the quarantine and love all the calls I received during all those sad months.”
EISOA Back With In-Person Classes
In June we returned to in-person classes for our older adult participants after 16 months in quarantine! EISOA program started face-to-face classes at OCCTAC on Thursday, June 3, 2021. Every Thursday, our participants attend arts and crafts classes from 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM.
Mental and physical health in our older adult participants have being negatively affected during all those months of social distancing for COVID-19. Quarantine increased the risk of depression and emotional disturbances, stress, and low mood. To help combat this, our program started different projects for our participants to attend art classes at OCCTAC.
Some of our participant expressed their emotions during those classes. Mrs. G said, "during the pandemic our arts projects were an effective method to reduce stress that I was suffering due to the quarantine, and it helped me to decrease my sadness. Now, I am feeling happy because I can attend those classes at OCCTAC in person now, improving my quality of life that was lacking due to the COVID-19 social distancing.”
Mr. M said, "I love having the opportunity to attend those classes at OCCTAC. Although, I did not get the COVID-19 vaccine due to medical problems, OCCTAC invited me to joing them while following all CDC regulations for those persons who cannot receive the vaccine. Everyone respected my condition and used their mask during the time I was in class. I feel that the program and my friends from the program are supporting me.”
Thank You To Teresa's Jewelers Family & Friends
On May 8th, Teresa's Jewelers and friends donated a gift to the older adults in OCCTAC’s EISOA program to celebrate Mother’s Day! They were so happy to receive these beautiful gifts and to know that there are people like Teresa who are always aware of them. It was not uncommon to receive these gifts from her since the jewelry store has supported the EISOA program in several opportunities during the last years.
As stated by the Program Coordinator, Rosa Garcia “This expression of love and celebration made them feel special and unique!” Program participant Leticia Gonzalez said, “Mrs. Saldivar always keeps in touch with us, and I want to say thank you because during those difficult and sad days (of the pandemic) she remembered us." Carmen Adame said, "Teresa's Jewelers brought me joy during Mother’s Day celebration, not only because of the value of the present that I received, but because I felt special."
In addition to all the wonderful Mother’s Day gifts to all the participants, Teresa generously donated a beautiful bracelet to raise additional funding for our older adults program.
We thank Teresa's Jewelers, her family, and friends for this generous donation to support our older adults’ program at OCCTAC. Last year was a very difficult year for all of them, but today they celebrate all the blessings received! Mil gracias Teresa for your loving heart!
Halloween may look different during COVID-19, but it was no excuse for the EISOA Program to not celebrate with their older adult participants. OCCTAC and the EISOA program have reinvented and transformed the way we are in contact with our older adults. We kept our older adults’ community safe this Halloween by having a virtual Halloween party. On Wednesday, October 28, 2020, they had fun with a virtual costume party, treats and tricks and fun games. But the good news is that even though we cannot celebrate as easily in person, we can still make memories and spend time together! Most of our participants who attended the virtual celebration called our case managers to say, “this is my real party I attend after pandemic started more than eight months ago, it was fun and helped me to forget all the negative things that are happening during this 2020.” Another participant said, “I never imagined what fun a virtual party can be!!”. “Having this virtual party gave me the opportunity to put my imagination to work when I try to have a costume party with things around my home. I am scared to go and buy something in the stores.” This celebration keeps our older adults active and decreases the risk of suffering isolation and/or depression.
COVID-19 Brings Challenges To Older Adults
The beginning of this new fiscal year bought many changes to everyone and our EISOA Older Adult participants are not the exception. However, case managers did the transition from face-to-face classes to virtual classes. It was not easy to make it work, but our amazing older adults are adapting to those changes and they are attending six EISOA classes each week using Zoom, Facebook live, What’s App, messenger, and text messages. Case managers are doing home visits to provide masks, surgical gloves, hand sanitizer, art material, and lectures to cover a month of classes following the CDC requirements for COVID-19 at the time to do the home visit.
Most of our older adult participants said they are thankful for all the effort that case managers are doing to maintain their physical, mental, and emotional health.
One of our participants, Mr. H., said, “I don't know what would have happened if I hadn't had the support of my case managers who calls me several times a week asking me how I'm doing and what I need. I was very anguished and stressed about what is happening to us and they referred me to a therapist who is helping me a lot. Now after several virtual appointments with my therapist I feel calmer, so I want to thank you for everything you do for me. I thought that being an older adult, I no longer mattered to many but since I have been part of the program, I feel protected.”
During July, our older adult Mrs. O. was diagnosed with COVID-19; consequently, she had to move out of her daughter’s house to go live in a hotel. She had some assistance from her daughter to pay for the first week at the hotel, but she was worried because she was out of money and her daughter could not help her pay for another week to stay at the hotel. The case manager contacted several places and was able to obtain $1000 to help the participant pay for the hotel stay; also, through our fundraiser, we will be able to help our participant with $200 for other expenses. The participant is now doing well and recovered from COVID-19 and moved back in with her daughter.