written by samantha wong (peace advisor)
Last semester, I got involved in a health coaching program that really helped me integrate my passion for teaching with my desire to learn more about health. I work as a health coach specialist at the Strawberry Creek Lodge, which serves a large and diverse elderly population. During individualized appointments with an elder, I team up with a primary health coach to discuss the elder’s health goals and create a curriculum of topics that the elder wants to learn about. I then spend the following week researching and creating an informational handout based on that health topic, which may range from nutrition to diabetes to osteoarthritis. During the subsequent appointment, I present the handout to the elder and answer any questions he/she might have about the topic. During one of the appointment slots, I also help run a “drop-in kiosk” where elders who do not have individualized appointments can come to ask health-related questions, pick up informational flyers, or simply chat with us.
I really love the experience of serving as a health coach because I get to see the positive impact that our health information and support/accountability system has on our elders. After 8 weeks of our first cycle, not only were we able to build strong relationships with our elders, but they also told us that they felt healthier after making time to exercise, eating healthier foods, and taking time to meditate. If you have a chance, the Health Coaching DeCal offers a great opportunity to learn more about health coaching and the opportunities offered under the Lifelong Medical and Strawberry Creek Lodge programs.