For the last few days in February, for Black History month, we share the memories of Mr. John Moore, a current participant at our PACE center in Berkeley, California.
When Healthcare for African Americans in the Bay Area was a Struggle
As a Black man, born in the 1940s, Mr. Moore has had to struggle while living in America. “In 1953 I was struck by a car.” Mr. Moore suffered a bad concussion and lost feeling in both his hands and his left side, among other wounds.
He remembers the ambulance taking him to Richmond medical group where he was denied treatment because he was Black. “I only lived three blocks away, and still they denied me,” he says, frustrated. The medics drove him to an Oakland medical group which admitted him, but unfortunately, he slipped into a coma for 28 days.
Historical Lack of Black Doctors and Nurses
When he speaks of this experience, you can tell it’s difficult and scarred into his memory by the way he scrunches his hands in his lap and his expression becomes sad. During this time, Blacks were excluded from the field of medicine as both health care workers and patients. Mr. Moore recalls the long fight that took many ground-breaking cases and legislation just so Blacks could work in the health care field and get proper healthcare.
A Long Rehabilitation
“When I woke up from being unconscious, I had to start all over like a child.” For him, this was hard because his childhood was filled with playing many sports — baseball, basketball, track, tennis, football, and boxing. “I thought I was going to go pro in baseball before I had my accident.”
As a Senior, Wanting to be Healthier and Stronger
Wanting to be better, Mr. Moore was born in Texas, but moved to Richmond, California, with his parents about a year after his birth. He’s lived in Richmond most of his life and likes his city and the fact that he’s surrounded by water.
“Growing up, I was determined to be better. I never gave up on anything. I have always been independent and when I needed help, my sister heard about Center for Elders’ Independence and got me enrolled. And now I feel great. Recently I was in a skilled nursing facility, temporary, and that was hard, but I got better with help from my team at Center for Elders’ Independence.”
Mr. Moore is now living independently at home with support from Center for Elders’ Independence. “I feel that this is a good program that betters my health.”
Looking Out for the Next Generation, Beyond COVID
COVID is a painful reminder of the days when discrimination was outright because of the record number of Black and Brown people that have died due to the sickness. But Mr. Moore says he is back at the PACE center and ready to get his second dose on the Moderna vaccine.
He loves that he has met so many people since joining Center for Elders’ Independence in 2016 because, he says, “in all my jobs, I’ve dealt with the public. And one of the things I love about Center for Elders’ Independence is that I meet all kinds of people and they ask me about baseball. I love making friends.
“What’s happening right now is contagious and the best thing about the [PACE] program is they offered the shot early. Now that we are grown, we have to look out for ourselves and our children.”