A retired intensive care unit nurse, Kendal at Home member Deborah says she often saw people on the worst day of their lives. When a husband or wife had some kind of life-changing injury, I would see, in many cases, how bamboozled the spouse would be, Deborah says. You'd have a high functioning partner, then suddenly they're very ill, and you have to carry on and provide care by yourself. Her numerous first-hand experiences with medical hardship for aging adults was just one of many reasons she and her husband, Evan, decided to join Kendal at Home.
I feel it's very important for people, especially as we grow older, to socialize, Deborah says. Kendal at Home has events every year where all members are invited but, unlike a regular retirement community, members don't see each other every day at breakfast.
To help increase the opportunities for Kendal at Home members to socialize, Deborah, her husband Evan, and a number of other Kendal at Home members volunteer their time to the Life Enrichment Committee. The committee is a group that brainstorms physically and mentally stimulating opportunities for Kendal at Home members to meet and share ideas, stories, and experiences. The committee, which is chaired by Deborah and open to any Kendal at Home members interested in suggesting ideas, organizes one event that proves to be successful year in and year out: the annual bird walk.
Go Birding with Kendal at Home
Begun roughly seven years ago, the annual bird walk bundles socialization and physical fitness into one event. The annual bird walk is held in late April or early May to match the migratory patterns of birds traveling through Northeast Ohio. The Life Enrichment Committee arranges for a naturalist to lead the walks.
The location of the walk changes each year to best accommodate Kendal at Home members on the east and west sides of Cleveland. A member of the Life Enrichment Committee usually scopes out the location before the event to ensure the terrain isn't too rough for older adults to tread. Most of our bird walks are on level terrain, a lot of times with pavement, Deborah says. There is one location we go that has a slight incline, but we put that information on our flyer so people know before attending.
No matter the location, the sights members experience just can't be beat. On the last walk, we saw a wood duck in all its plumage, Deborah says. Any wood duck I'd seen before had been dull looking, but this one was like the pictures: red, white, green, and orange.
The annual bird walk is open to all Kendal at Home members regardless of birding experience.
Join us next time as we discuss two other opportunities the Life Enrichment Committee organizes for Kendal at Home members to socialize.
Photo Credit: Jason Mrachina