Saturday, July 12, 2008

What's a "Director of Life Enrichment"?

This week, I've had a couple of email communications from the Clare at Water Tower, my future residence. They came from a seemingly nice young woman (I haven't met her in person yet) who identified herself as the Clare's "Director of Life Enrichment."

I guess I still bristle at the ideas that my life needs enrichment, and/or that I need a younger person's help, but perhaps I do, or at least will in the future.

Anyway, being somewhat a student of new and unfamiliar job titles (at least new to me), I decided to do a Google search for "Life Enrichment." I was surprised by how many references I found; I did not read them all, but here are a few things I learned:

There's a Center for Life Enrichment in Maryland that offers "support services that will increase the vocational and personal potential of individuals with disabilities," including job coaching, work opportunities, socialization, flexible help schedules, and transportation. This made me wonder if we elders are considered "people with disabilities" (some elders obviously are, but is getting old itself a disability?)

Further reading revealed that the majority of references on this topic did seem to involve seniors. In North Carolina, the Life Enrichment Adult Day Care / Health Center for seniors offers safety, health care, therapies, personal care, and meaningful activies for those who attend.

Georgia has Life Enrichment Services, including life-long learning, independence, dignity, diversity, change, and fun.

Several services involve computer training for seniors: good! However, Life Enrichment Services of Wheaton, Illinois, also offers "Treatment for Recovery from Computer / Internet Addiction." I hope that's not what I need!

I am willing to give the new Director of Life Enrichment a chance, but I think that real life enrichment must involve making use of the varied talents of the several hundred future residents of the Clare. By sharing our interests and our passions, we can help each other examine what it means to be old. And for now, we can do it mainly through Internet communication. I want to try to help.

Copyright 2008 by Marlys Marshall Styne

1 comment:

Madalyn said...

Ms. Styne,

Thanks for your insight! You give me hope and confidence to know that getting "old" does not mean being "disabled." Thanks for sharing your innermost feelings and empowering the rest of us. I look forward to life's challenges knowing that there are wonderful people like you with whom to share our talents and thoughts!