Rolling Out

Center for Elders’ Independence celebrates 40th anniversary

Center for Elders' Independence celebrates 40th anniversary
Center for Elders’ Independence senior program director Joél Olivier (Photo credit: Rashad Milligan for rolling out)

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – The Center for Elders’ Independence celebrated its 40th anniversary on July 12.

The facility serves as a daycare center for elders who can get physical therapy, exercise and socialize among other elders in the community before returning home in the evening. It’s a happy medium for adult caretakers who want help caring for their loved ones, but do not want them to live in an assistant-living home fully. The celebration included decorated tables and celebratory dancing music for the elders.

At the event, rolling out had the opportunity to speak with senior program director Joél Olivier, CEO Maria Zamora and physician Lincoln Sison.

What is going on here today?

Joél Olivier: We are celebrating our 40th anniversary serving the seniors in our community.

Why do elders need to socialize with one another?

Maria Zamora:  It’s incredibly important. This is something we’ve known here at the Center for Elders’ Independence even before the pandemic. But the pandemic really highlighted and emphasized just how critical it is for seniors to engage in socialization. You know, prolonged isolation has the equivalency of smoking 15 cigarettes a day for seniors in terms of health outcomes. So it’s really important for seniors to not only stay active but engaged with other humans. That socialization piece is very important.

When did you first become passionate about this line of work?

Dr. Lincoln Sison:  I’ve been passionate about this since I took my geriatric fellowship program. I have always been after the welfare of the elderly and have been interested in how I can make a change in their lives. Seeing the opportunity of being here in the PACE program has really opened up a lot of opportunities for me to be able to help our elderly population. Through the type of service we provide, I feel that we have really made a difference in their lives, so to speak. I feel at least being able to offer that wraparound service, I think we’re really giving them justice and the philosophy of care they would like to receive, which is what I would like my own family to receive.

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