The continuing mission of the Peninsula Shepherd Center is to help seniors keep doing things for themselves. And it is the mission of executive director Lisa Nokes to ensure that Peninsula Shepherd Center provides a support system so that older adults, age 60 and beyond, can live independently and self-sufficiently in their own homes.
The center also provides opportunities for seniors to learn and socialize.
“Peninsula Shepherd Center is a coalition of service organizations, local churches, and community groups dedicated to serving the senior population,” said Nokes. “We are dedicated to keeping seniors independent, active, and in their homes as long as possible. We have found that, by trying to keep people in their homes, that they’re so much more vital, engaged, and that they want to do things on their own.”
Added Nokes of engaging seniors: “We do this by providing a number of programs. The one we’re best known for is our Out and About senior transportation program, which combines vans and private cars taking seniors grocery shopping, to hairdressers, medical appointments – wherever they want to go.”
There is an annual fee of $65 per year for unlimited rides in the transportation program, added Nokes.
Peninsula Shepherd Center seniors live in San Diego neighborhoods of Point Loma, Ocean Beach, and Midway/Sports Arena. The 60-and-over population represents 18.1% of the total population in these neighborhoods, significantly higher than the San Diego County average.
Peninsula Shepherd Center also offers the only senior lounge in Point Loma and OB located inside the All Souls' Episcopal Church at 1475 Catalina Blvd. Seniors are able to stop by and work on a puzzle, play a game, socialize with others, and use computers. They can also come in and gain information on community resources and various senior services offered throughout the Peninsula. The lounge is open Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Nokes noted Peninsula Shepherd Center is free to Peninsula seniors age 60 and over. Seniors must be 65 years old to qualify for the transportation program.
PSC has been especially engaged in aiding seniors during the ongoing pandemic.
“Isolation is a tremendous concern, especially for seniors, with terrible physical and emotional consequences,” Nokes said adding: “We work very closely with all of the senior organizations in San Diego. Banding together, we’re a member of the San Diego Senior Community Foundation. It is probably the foremost organization dedicated completely to making the lives of seniors better.”
Nokes said COVID has also forced Peninsula Shepherd Center to become creative in providing senior services.
“The programs that we had before, we had to adapt them to people being in their homes, and to create new programs,” she said, citing an example.
“We have a new program called Peninsula Shepherd Center Connections Through Technology. We take computer tablets out to folks, train them on how to use them, then link them up to their church or the library so they can be independent. We’ve taught them how to use email and they love getting pictures of their grandchildren. It has been a wonderful, freeing experience for these folks to be able to feel some connection.”
Nokes added Peninsula Shepherd Center’s programs have also gone remote hosting things like Zoom bingo and chat, where people can dial in to talk and share their stories.
“During the recent election we had a group of people on Peninsula Shepherd Center chat and all we did for three weeks was go through the ballot initiatives,” said Nokes. “People love to be connected and talk to each other. We just had a Zoom slideshow presentation by someone who has visited all 59 national parks and it was stunning.”
Concluded Nokes of Peninsula Shepherd Center: “We’re really trying to help seniors help themselves.”
Peninsula Shepherd Center
Where: 1475 Catalina Blvd.
Contact: sdpsc.org, 619-223-1640.