Preserving brain health and encouraging successful aging are behind Belmont Village’s collaborative efforts to provide lifelong learning opportunities for its senior residents.
Belmont Village Senior Living Lakeway recently partnered with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), in collaboration with Texas Tech University and The University of Texas at Austin, to offer in-person and online learning sessions.
Sessions included “The Gothic Synthesis of Heaven and Earth in Chartres Cathedral” by a Texas Tech history professor and “The Supreme Court Decision-Making Process” by a Texas political science instructor.
A spokeswoman for the village of Belmont said McKnight’s Senior Living that the November session had about 40 participants, with 10 additional virtual attendees via Zoom. The December event attracted 35 in-person attendees, with another 12 virtual attendees.
“The response has been amazing and people have been asking us to offer more than just one event a month,” the spokeswoman said.
The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute program is established at 125 colleges and universities, offering a variety of non-credit courses and activities for adults 50 and older. The program is overseen by the Bernard Osher Foundation.
The partnership with OLLI-Texas Tech will begin again in the spring. Meanwhile, Belmont Village will continue its partnership with OLLI and UT-Austin to offer six-week hybrid sessions, similar to a pilot the company began in October.
The six-week virtual lecture in the fall was taught by Mark Atwood Lawrence, a history professor at UT-Austin who authored two books on Vietnam. That course had 15 to 20 residents attend each week, learning about the history of U.S. involvement in Vietnam, with particular attention to the origins, course, and legacy of the war.
Partnerships provide educational opportunities for residents
Belmont Village also partnered on lifelong learning programming in its California communities through the University of California, Los Angeles’ Senior Scholars program, part of its Center for Lifespan.
The October pilot provided access to online college courses to Belmont Village residents in its Hollywood, Westwood, Burbank, Encino, Aliso Viejo, La Jolla, Sunnyvale and Los Gatos communities in California and its Scottsdale, AZ community. CEO Belmont Village, Patricia Will, 2022 McKnight’s Distinguished women Lifetime Achievement Award winner, serves on the board of the UCLA Longevity Center.
During the pilot, residents were offered access to courses on Women and Power in the Ancient World, History of American Theater and Drama, and Introductory Screenwriting.
“It’s not just about living longer,” Will said in one declaration. “This kind of mental and intellectual engagement improves cognitive function so that older people can live better and more meaningful lives.”
Belmont Village Senior Living La Jolla earlier this year held a ribbon cutting for one “Living Lab” to provide a dedicated community space where volunteer residents can interact with University of California, San Diego, researchers on health initiatives.
Belmont also partnered with Baptist Health South Florida and the University of Southern California on enrichment programs for residents.
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