Greater MetroWest CARES, the Committee Addressing Resources for Seniors, is coordinated by the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest and brings together leaders from MetroWest agencies to promote independence and support vitality among older adults. Throughout the year, Greater MetroWest CARES agencies have the opportunity to address critical eldercare issues in this column. This month’s article on activities available to retirees is presented by the JCC MetroWest.
Sophia Loren said, “There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.”
Retirement is a time of leisure, of learning, of rediscovering lifelong hobbies or interests. Opportunities for education, volunteering, the arts, travel, and employment can provide the opportunity for living a fulfilling, meaningful, varied, and successful life after retirement age.
It has been said that the key to successful aging is to learn something new each day. Adult Education classes can be found in individual municipalities with classes held at neighborhood schools. Classes are as varied as individual interests, from learning a second language, to the arts, to computers and social media. Local colleges and universities offer classes that can be audited by seniors and some host lecture series for seniors on an ongoing basis. Life Long Learning programs are known for their renowned speakers and college professors who lecture on myriad topics. Better yet, use your expertise and teach a class or lecture on your particular area of proficiency.
Volunteer opportunities are abundant in our community. Volunteering allows seniors to use skills learned over a lifetime or the occasion to develop new skills. Volunteering strives to mobilize seniors to give back, in their own communities. There are organizations that can match the volunteer with the best assignment to meet their needs, skillset, and interests. Local libraries, hospitals, and schools are known to welcome senior volunteers. Your local community has a host of programs that are always looking for an extra set of hands
Many seniors are looking for further employment, seeking or needing extra income, health insurance, and personal satisfaction. These “retirement jobs” are often part-time and serve to also provide enjoyment, bonding with friends and fulfilling the need to be a contributing member of the community and society. Retail offers flexible schedules, as does consulting, in which one can find clients through previous business connections and relationships. AARP puts out an annual list of best employers for folks over 50.
Those who love to travel welcome the freedom of retirement. Travel possibilities are endless, from day trips sponsored by your local JCC or synagogue, to overnight travel. Travel programs designed specifically for seniors offer a higher level of care, understanding, and peace of mind. AARP offers special travel discounts. Those looking to mix vacationing and learning can participate in thousands of tours in all 50 states and throughout the world. These tours, including those run by national companies, are known for their varied programs and the expertise of the educators involved.
Northern New Jersey’s close proximity to New York City affords those whose passion is the arts limitless experiences in theater, music, and dance. The city also boasts some of the finest museum collections in the nation, and most offer senior discounts. Public transportation including busses and trains are an affordable way to travel to and from the city without the worries of traffic and parking. Hidden gems in our communities are the nearby, smaller museums. Local theaters, from professional to community theater, and concert venues offer more modest ways to indulge your cultural side.
Wherever your interests lie, whatever your passions are, get out there, do, and enjoy!
For further information on activities for retirees, contact JCC MetroWest at 973-530-3480, JCC of Central NJ at 908-889-8800, or and the YM-YWHA of Union County 908-289-8112, ext. 34.