The Rhythm of Life—An Adventure Awaits
This is the time of year when the summer has ended and it’s time to go back to school. As I was driving to work this week, I had to smile, seeing all the children lined up in a nice straight line waiting to get on their bus. I could almost feel their excitement (and a little dread for some) as they anticipated their first day that lay ahead. I recalled my own youth, waiting to get on the bus so excited, anticipating seeing all my friends whom I hadn’t seen all summer. I loved school. I loved the routine, the socialization and learning something new every day. This time of the year always puts order back into the rhythm of life with much learning to be had and with any luck a little fun to go with it.
It occurred to me that there are many parallels between returning to school and living in a retirement community…anticipating the routine, socialization, and opportunities to learn. Because we understand this, our Life Enrichment Team is always looking for opportunities to teach something new. Ridgecrest is rolling out a new Fall Education Series. Melissa Uzzell, J.D., with First Community Trust will be presenting several topics related to estate planning with Trust and Alternate Decision Makers. It will be fun, interactive, and open to the public. All too often, people think they have a good understanding of what they have and what they need, when, in reality, they may be misinformed.
The zest for learning, socialization, and having fun doesn’t stop after graduation. As I’ve mentioned before, Ridgecrest Village has many retired educators who live here. Some even have zeroed in on my inner student and have had some fun teasing me. One of them is the President of our Resident Council, Alana Callender, Ed.D., who is very gracious to edit some of my work now and then.
There has been untold research done around the benefits of continuing education across the life span, enhancing cognition and even independence. I asked Dr. Callender what her thoughts were on adult education in general and she responded, “I like to fill the gaps in my education now…things I maybe didn’t have time to learn when I was working focused on a (work-related) goal. My horizon has broadened over the years, and I find that I have more interest in things I couldn’t even conceive when I was younger.” She nailed it when she said, “Once I stop learning is when my brain will start atrophying.” She went on to share, “Community is the key word here…commune is to interact.” Living in a retirement community such as Ridgecrest has built in features such as volunteering. “Even when you volunteer you have the opportunity to learn something new,” she said.
When probed for details about what her life was like before moving to Ridgecrest, Dr. Callender looked at me pointblank and said, “If I wasn’t here, I would be spending a lot of my time on the computer playing games just like my grandsons. Before I went back to school for my doctorate, I was spending about 4 hours a day on the computer…electronics and passive learning. I could feel my brain shrinking.”
Dr. Callender provided another piece of the puzzle as to what makes Ridgecrest special when she said, “Like finds like and there are a lot of very smart people here.” It is a community which tends to attract independent, out-of-the-box thinking and offers a welcoming attitude towards all.
Yes, it’s the beginning of yet another school year full of fun and promise. At Ridgecrest we have our own special brand of education and fun. If you are interested in learning more about our Fall Education Series or would like to be considered for other similar programs, please just let us know.
Julie Arndt is a licensed social worker and Director of Marketing at Ridgecrest Village with over 30 years’ experience working in the field of geriatrics and senior advocacy.