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College Campus and CCRCs

As baby boomers begin to enter retirement, they are requesting more educational activities from their CCRC's activities directors then ever before. Their educational requests span the gamete of  taking classes on college campus, having guest speakers from the college at the retirement community, to taking on-line courses at home. There are many benefits for the residents to be involved in continuing education. Some of the benefits are:

  • Keeps their minds sharp
  • Improves memory
  • Develops Self-confidence
  • Gives them a feeling of accomplishment
  • Opportunity to meet new people with like interests
  • Provides the resident with something new to speak about
In my retirement community, we are very lucky to have 3 college campuses within a 5 mile radius. We schedule outings to the colleges for musical presentations, lectures and courses. I've gotten to know the contact person for the departments of interest and stay in touch with them by e-mail as often as needed. The residents are also a great resource and bring in items of interest that they want to attend.
One of the universities has a lifelong learning program that we have been actively involved with. Due to arranging transportation, we (the two other activities directors from my sister communities and I) review and select a handful of courses that we think will be interesting and promote those to the community. We arrange for the resident's enrollment and payment paperwork to be processed, so it makes it easier for the resident. The other successful by-product from the university's life-long learning catalogue, is that I can see who is teaching what subject, and contact the professor directly myself. I do this by going to the university's website and finding the instructor's email address. It is that easy!

Besides having lectures, we have had the ability to hire wonderful musicians out of the music departments of the universities. This gives the students needed performance time and extra dollars while they are attending school. For our community, it is usually a benefit to the budget to hire the students. We also have hired instructors to develop a specific program for our events. A few months ago, I spoke with the dean of the music department and asked her to find someone who could present a Chinese themed musical program for one of our theme nights. She could not find anyone that fit the bill, but she did find a wonderful DVD that was a mixture of ballet, opera and cinematography that was amazing. She did a lesson on the importance of the DVD, and its meaning. It was very well received. She then sat down and played a few of her favorite pieces on the piano, because our residents know and love her for her talents. The audience spoke about that program for weeks afterwards because it was so unique.....and I would have never know about it, if I didn't ask her, the college professor, to work on the program for me.

Residents at my community have requested more programs on the weekends. I find that have an educational talk is usually a popular event. I get a lot of my speakers from the university and have some of the instructors back on a regular basis. The residents love the connection this brings to the class.

As Activity Director, I really value having the college and universities to work with. I believe that residents moving into our CCRC are, and will be, more interested in continuing education as the baby-boomers start moving in. I really believe that this is a great area to focus on if you want to build your activities program up and work towards an even more successful future.

Below are some articles that I found on-line regarding college campus and retirement communities:

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