Golden opportunities

Marta Pazos, 69, and her mother, Delia Pazos, 93, have found a special place to enjoy their golden years together.

Three times a week they take the tai chi class in the garden of the Glendale Adult Recreation Center. They also come for special luncheons and activities at the center.

It's not only a way to take a break from their Glendale home, but a chance to get some exercise and socialize, Marta Pazos said.

When her father died seven years ago, it was a big loss for them, she said. Marta is the last of the couple's three children. Her mother had developed a lot of anxiety during her father's illness.

"I was looking for excuses to get out of the house. This place is wonderful. It's great therapy. Mom looks forward to coming here, and she feels good here."

Even when the weather is overcast and threatens their trip to the center, Delia will look out the window and tell her daughter, "No, I think it's clearing up," her daughter said.

In the tai chi class, her classmates stand while going through the poses, but Delia opens and closes her hands while perched in her wheelchair. It still seems to make a difference, her daughter said.

"It's soothing, and it gives you energy," Marta Pazos said. "It makes a difference because when we don't come we can feel the rust growing into our bodies."

The class is held outdoors, and they play music, which adds to the tranquillity, she said.

"It transforms you to a better version of yourself," she said.

Marta is very nurturing to her mother, said Sevag Garabetian, community services coordinator at the senior recreation center.

"It's almost like the roles have been reversed," he said. "The daughter is taking care of her mother. They enjoy coming to events here together and each other's company."

Doing tai chi together strengthens the mother-daughter bond, said Julie Anne Leviant, community services supervisor at the adult center.

"It keeps the mother young at heart," Leviant said.

After the class, the seniors gather together in the shade for a chat.

"This is the part she enjoys the most — socializing," Marta Pazos said.

One of their friends they see quite regularly at the center is Ann Thompson of Glendale.

"I ask Delia how she feels," Thompson said. "I think it's wonderful they can come to the center together."

Living with her daughter has been "very good," Delia Pazos said.

"I'm very lucky," she said. "She helps me take a bath and helps me get dressed and takes me to the doctor."

While the mother and daughter get along well, they do have some disagreements from time to time, Marta Pazos said, mostly about issues in the kitchen.

"She was better in the kitchen than Martha Stewart," Marta Pazos said. "I try to ask her what oregano goes into, and she says 'when are you going to remember?'"

And Delia Pazos was also an expert seamstress, her daughter added. She was a sample maker of gowns for Saks Fifth Avenue.

"Everything we wear, she's made," Marta said.

"We've been able to save money and have a house without worrying about foreclosure," Delia said.

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