Did you receive an AARP card at age 50? Congratulations on becoming the new vital senior of today! By 2015, those aged 50-plus will represent 45 percent of the U.S. population, according to the AARP. This includes Baby Boomers, ages 50 to 68, and the “oldest old,” seniors 90 or over, whose population will quadruple by 2050, with many celebrating 100th birthdays.
Adults are living longer and are healthier, better educated and more involved in the world than prior generations. In the years beyond mid-life, people are entering an additional vital period of their lives where they have more choices. This growing group is interested in all aspects of learning and wellness for the body, spirituality, vocational meaning, emotions, and social, intellectual and physical enhancement. Experts say they are changing how society understands retirement and creating a new model for what can be done later in life. At the JCC, we encourage people to achieve physical goals, bond in social relationships, explore their spirituality, engage in wellness, volunteer, play games and become lifelong learners.
Lifelong learning at the JCC has become a popular activity, providing an enriching experience that enhances brain health and pleasure and develops one’s interests. Seniors are not only returning to learning to explore personal interests, but also to learn new retirement careers. Many are engaging in “encore careers” as volunteers or workers, giving back to the community in education, healthcare and nonprofit settings. For example, Judy took the News & Views class at the JCC and decided to become involved in politics and work for a candidate. Steve became a docent for the Anne Frank exhibit at the JCC and is now doing volunteer work in teaching teens about the Holocaust. Others are taking courses for pleasure or personal fulfillment because they have not had this opportunity in their earlier education when they were focused on a degree, careers and family.
The Merage JCC offers adults lifelong learning classes geared toward a variety of interests, including history, current events, Israel, health and wellness, games, Jewish experiences, book discussions, art and technology.
Try out our next Lunch & Learn series, The Chosen Food: Cuisine, Culture and American Jewish Identity, on Tuesdays, Oct. 7, 14, 21, 28 and Great Jewish Americans 101: Rodgers with Heart on November 9 at 4 p.m. Join our JCC at a docent tour with lunch and transportation by a luxury coach to the Skirball Cultural Center in L.A. and see their newest exhibits. We invite you to enrich your lives with us at the Merage JCC. See our website www.jccoc.org/adults/clubs-interest-groups/ or call (949) 435-3400 x 303 to learn more.
Geri Dorman is a contributing writer to JLife Magazine.