Today was the first PALETTE in Motion class and it was an experience that was completely different from what I expected. Because I am a pharmacy student, I do not participate in classes like this at all so it was a great change from the normal class setting. But beyond learning in a different style than lecturing, the PALETTE in Motion class showed me how I can learn about the older population through movement. All of the PALs that attended the class came in with a positive attitude and an openness to learn. My PAL, Alice, was vibrant and talkative from the moment we all sat down next to each other. All of the other seniors were also very excited to do different warm up exercises and flex their creative muscles. More than anything, they seemed to enjoy doing something that most of them were not used to. They were able to step outside their comfort zone.
The different exercises showed me how age stereotypes are completely wrong and how ageism does not truly reflect the aging population. All of the older women that attended the class were all willing to learn new dance exercises and have fun and none of them perpetuated the stereotype of a stubborn old person. Everyone was enjoying him or herself and laughing. Although this isn’t a class where we purposefully teach each other, I could see the intergenerational learning occurring. While we learn to breakdown any stereotypes that we may have lingering in our minds about older adults, the older adults learn that the younger generation still enjoys their free spirits and they do not have to conform to negative connotations and jokes existing in the media. This also can relate back to Pharmacy because I have now witnessed how aging occurs differently with everyone. It’s important to tailor care according to a person’s needs and we cannot just group all older adults into one category with general stereotypes. It is important to stay focused on the needs of that patient alone. As evidenced by the group of PALs in attendance today, everyone has their own feelings about their age and this group definitely felt young and enthusiastic. I look forward to learning and experiencing more through the program and bettering my ability to care for patients in the future.
Archana Raghavan, graduate student in Pharmacy