Maria Lopez Garcia, PACE participant at Center for Elders' Independence

Maria Garcia: Dancing and Laughing to Health

The vibrant Maria Lopez Garcia, nicknamed “JLo” can be easily recognized at the East Oakland PACE Center from her hearty laugh, often from the center of a dance circle. A native Spanish speaker, she discovered a renewed sense of well-being and joy through the innovative healthcare service model of PACE, provided by Center for Elders’ Independence.

Maria’s story is a testament to the transformative impact that comprehensive and inclusive healthcare can have on a senior’s life.

When Maria first joined PACE a year ago, she found a healthcare plan that catered to her language needs. Diagnosed as pre-diabetic, Maria struggled with her medications, exercise, and diet. At her previous clinic, Maria could not communicate with her doctor, and her rising blood sugar levels were putting her at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. The language accommodations at CEI PACE have made Maria feel more at home, enabling effective communication with her healthcare team. This personalized approach not only eased her concerns but established a strong foundation for trust and understanding.

With the support of PACE, Maria’s diabetes management improved drastically. She no longer needs daily insulin shots and her medications have been reduced.

Holistic Approach

CEI’s holistic approach provided education on nutrition, exercise, lifestyle changes, and emotional well-being. As a result, Maria experienced a positive shift in her overall health, marking a significant improvement in her diabetes. She attends the center three times a week and has made friends with everyone.

Maria says, “”It has been a pleasure to be part of CEI. I give it a 10 out of 10! I love the attention, care, and respect I receive from my doctors and team. And even though I don’t speak English, everyone is a friend I can hug. I have too many friends!”

Maria in Exercise Class