For our facility observation we visited the Lincoln City Community and Recreation Center. Our group of three observed nearly 30 senior citizens participating in Senior Aquatic Exercise class. This class is offered three times a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, 8:30-9:30.AM. The class is said to be one of the center’s most popular classes. Instructor Kathy Conner leads participants in a workout that is said to include: aerobic conditioning, strength training, flexibility range of motion, and lots of fun! The facility we observed also offers gentle water aerobics, as well as arthritis and fibromyalgia classes that are focused on slower paced exercise that could be beneficial for a senior member.
Upon arriving at the center we noticed the Meals on Wheels truck pulling away from the sight to make deliveries. Once in the building a young man at the front desk greeted us warmly while and chatted a bit about our project. He informed us that there might be fewer people using the facility on that particular day of our observation due to the nice weather. With that being said, the number of participants was still pleasantly surprising. The clerk also mentioned that there are often senior members utilizing the indoor track and weight room.
Above the pool area is an observation deck. We chose to observe the seniors from this location initially. The first thing that caught our attention was the small groups of people formed in the pool. There were approximately five small groups of people socializing, a few people scattered around the pool who were not interacting with others, some individuals were floating on water noodles, some simply treading water, a few following the instructor, and one even doing pull ups off the diving board (which we all found very impressive). A group member pointed out how very few of the members were actually watching the instructor. The majority of the members were busy chatting and not paying much attention to the exercises being demonstrated. At one point the instructor prompted the class to move to the wall for a specific exercise, she had to ask at lease five times before getting everyone’s attention. Additionally there were several members who never noticed the change in exercises and continued with the same repetitive exercise the whole time we observed.
The majority of the members had smiles upon their faces and laughed often. The over all feel of the class was light and fun. Some members also brought guests to the class. Our observation group later learned that one of the guests was the daughter of a senior member. She came on a regular basis to join her mother.
After observing from the stands our group went down and joined some senior members in the hot tub. There were five women, four senior members and one member’s daughter. The members in the hot tub were very welcoming and inquisitive. Our group introduced ourselves and explained our observation project. When Marco asked if anyone would be willing to do a casual interview, the women had lots of questions especially about the “high-tech” items that were going to use. Marco explained that he would be audio recording the interview, and the women were fine with that.
Our group began asking questions to one member and before we knew it all five women were joining in. Most questions evolved into a drawn out, round about answer. Many times we were asked, “what was the question again?” Questions often led to an answer to a question we had not yet asked. The members were very willing to share their life experiences as well as giving us advice and suggestions to help with the aging process.
After the class was over we had two volunteers stay and continue the interview in the seating area of the center. The two women were very friendly and willing to answer our questions in great detail. In our smaller group we were able to keep on track slightly...