I am not going to lie, I was an ageist before this class. Even walking into the first class, I was skeptical about how it was going to go. I was pleasantly surprised. Working with the senior volunteers these past few weeks has definitely opened up my eyes to a lot of things. It has been so interesting to see the differences between the student and the senior volunteers. During the first class, it was apparent that the professional students were extremely self conscious but most of the senior volunteers were not shy or afraid to experiment with the different dance motions. It has been so fun watching everyone grow more and more comfortable week by week. Sharon, my PAL, has so much spunk. Most of the senior volunteers have so much more movement in them than I thought possible. A lot of people underestimate the abilities of seniors, especially when they see a walker. But, this past weekend, a PAL with a walker performed a beautiful duet with one of the pharmacy students. It was amazing to see how someone who I thought was going to have so little movement create something so beautiful.
Attending this class has definitely eliminated any fear that I may have had about aging. The fact that all of the older PALs have made it clear that you can age beautifully and you learn so much along the way is inspiring. I never saw myself being friends with any of the PALs really but I have a dinner date planned with Alice and Sharon this Friday. Overall, I am so grateful that I was given and took this opportunity to work with all the PALs in the PALETTE program.
Shivangi Bhatt, graduate student in Pharmacy