The biggest applause of this year’s Hebrew SeniorLife EngAGE event came not for the Emmy or Grammy Award winners but for the woman whose YouTube videos went viral and made her a celebrity at age 76. It was only appropriate for an event with the goal of redefining how we think and talk about aging.
Center Communities of Brookline resident Annie Burrows, age ninety-eight, has found a “peaceful haven” at CCB. Moving to CCB was a wish of her late husband of sixty-six years, an avid golfer, who wanted to live in Brookline. Since his passing, Annie has embraced every facet of life at CCB. Once a chronic non-exerciser, Annie wakes early each morning and heads off to the CCB gym. Her life is filled with opportunities for enrichment. “I’m able to do things alone that I didn’t know I could do,” she says. “The happiest years of my life were spent in this place.”
Rabbi Jim Morgan is rabbi and chaplain at Hebrew SeniorLife’s Center Communities of Brookline. He ran the Vermont City Marathon on May 29 to raise money for HSL’s Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program, in which he recently completed his third unit of training. The CPE program trains rabbis, rabbinical and seminary students, leaders of many faiths, and qualified health care professionals to become chaplains.
At a time when people 65 and older are one of the fastest-growing groups online and social media use among seniors is exploding, many older adults are embracing technology and incorporating it into their busy lives.
One prime example of the growing connection between seniors and technology occurs right here on the NewBridge on the Charles campus. When a resident of NewBridge on the Charles rises in the morning, there’s one place they can go to get their news, plan their daily activities, or make dining reservations, all from the comfort of home.
Many seniors want to continue to live a life of purpose in retirement and have turned to volunteering to satisfy that desire. The medical community recognizes the benefits of charitable work to enhance the physical, spiritual, and mental stimulation of older adults. The National Institute on Aging suggests that volunteering prevents isolation and can have a healthy effect on one’s cognitive behavior and potentially even thwart the progression of Alzheimer’s disease (“Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease and What Do We Know? Is Keeping Your Brain Active Important?” Oct. 8 2015, National Institute on Aging).
Today’s technology entrepreneurs are rapidly responding to the many market opportunities for seniors and their caregivers, such as managing their health, living independently and maintaining family and social connections. Yet many technologies that come to market were not developed in collaboration with seniors and go on to fail because the promised functionality more often just produces frustration.
As we age pursuing a lifestyle of health and wellness is directly related to how we live our lives and less related to being free of disease. The residents at Hebrew SeniorLife’s senior living communities take a proactive approach to living life to its fullest with the highest possible levels of physical, social and emotional engagement. This is achieved by setting supported goals through the Vitalize360TM program for improving all aspects of one’s wellness.
We were so fortunate a few weeks ago to have Ari Seth Cohen present his documentary, Advanced Style at NewBridge on the Charles in Dedham as a part of our “Remarkable People, Remarkable Performances” program series. What makes Ari remarkable is his attitude and appreciation of older women.
The creative arts are a way of life for the many resident artists who live in Hebrew SeniorLife’s independent living community at Orchard Cove. Our residents are always seeking new ways to stay active, keep social and remain creatively engaged. A variety of research documents show the value of creative stimulation to enhance cognition, improve wellness and foster interaction between seniors.