December 9, 2011
Professor Mary True
On Site Observation Project: Late Adult Development
The site that I choose to observe was a Bethany Assisted Living center in my hometown of Duarte, California. It is a facility that is run by the Carmelite nuns who take pride in their mission of "At the Service of the Family for Life” and providing quality care with compassion and a profound respect for the dignity of life of all. Elderly residents receive supportive services in the comfort of their own personal living space while still allowing them to maintain their autonomy. I had the opportunity to observe the residents during their daily exercise routine, their lunchtime, and after lunch activities. I observed the physical development program that Bethany offers. It is a guided activity that is done as a community with an instructor everyday prior to lunch. Residents have the choice to participate or not in one of two activities. One of the activities includes going for a walk with a caretaker around the campus or at the nearby walking trail. The second activity, which I sat in on, takes place in the common lounge and is led by an instructor. The participating residents sit in a circle while doing various exercises that offer variability based on each individuals ability level. This exercise opportunity is provided because Bethany understands the importance of maintaining physical ability despite age and because it serves as “a powerful health intervention” (Berk, 453). These exercises are performed to help strengthen the heart, muscles, increase flexibility, and to improve stability.
The opportunity to exercise can prove to be very beneficial for the elderly, which is why Bethany ensures that it is provided. Through the physical activities that are performed, “gains in vital capacity are seen that compare favorably to young adults” (Berk, 454). Physical activity allows the elderly to achieve favorable benefits not limited...