Added: Jun 19, 2011
This week I found a truly "inspring aspect of retirement living". The Village has recently started offering a Psychology course available for all. Besides being an informative and thought-provoking course, which gets the mental juices flowing, any continued "learning" in our later years allows residents to keep their minds active through the use of new concepts which help improve cognition, the ability to reason, and memory while deterring conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Kerry McGuinness is the Assistant Administrator for the Village’s Courtyard building and an adjunct professor at Bristol Community College. “Some of these residents are truely lifetime learners and just want to gain everything possible from this experience,” says McGuinness.
On the 2nd Tuesday of each month following breakfast, residents gather together in the Chalet’s Function room for a lesson on Neuroscience and Behavior. A PowerPoint presentation accompanies her discussion on neurons, the nervous system and the brain. Residents are given copies of the slide show for those who want to jot ideas down or simply read ahead.
During this session 16 residents attend, but McGuinness points out the fact that first timers need not worry about what was taught the previous week, “I don’t make lessons with the intention that every step has to follow the next, instead I create lessons that can be taught without any previous knowledge of the subject.”
Throughout the class, residents are encouraged to ask questions and bring up discussions. Often during lessons light jokes and giggles intertwine with more serious subjects such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes, menopause, Parkinson’s and strokes.
“I believe an opportunity like this brings energy; the residents feel like they’re a part of something. In a way, a class like this allows them to escape and not concentrate on the negative in their lives but instead allows insight to subjects they sometimes know little about,” says McGuinness.
When asked if there is anything she would change, McGuinness enthusiastically says, “I hope it gets developed more, I want to see it grow. I’d like to know what the residents want, what they would find interesting because they are a huge part of this, whether that means being more hands on or finding new ways of keeping their interest.”
Kerry McGuinness holds this Psychology class every second Tuesday of each month at 10:30 a.m. in the Chalet.