Learning a new instrument can be challenging at any age, but learning at age 90 is certainly an achievement.
"I’ve always thought it would be fun to learn how to play a ukulele," says Mary, a resident at one of Fairview's Ebenezer senior communities. "After I received a ukulele for a gift from my daughter, I wanted to take lessons, but I wasn’t sure where to look."
When Mary attended a concert featuring a ukulele, she shared her dream with Ebenezer Manager Denise Bierle-Svec.
Denise found a 12-week class offered through the MacPhail Center for Music for older adults with no prior playing experience. Students learn simple chords and are strumming to familiar songs in no time.
"Mary wasn’t the only one who was interested in taking lessons, several other residents also wanted to learn," Denise says. Eight residents of Ebenezer Ridge Point Apartments, together with their grandchildren, children and friends, registered for the class.
Courses like ukulele lessons are a part of Ebenezer’s Life Long Learning program, designed to foster growth and creativity for seniors. It includes creative writing, water color and acrylic painting, music, clay, gardening and even college-level lectures. It's funded in part by the Ebenezer Society Foundation.
Mary has a love and appreciation for all types of music and art—and this love is carried on throughout her family. Life Long Learning courses help Mary continue her passion.
“Listening to the ukulele at the concert brought back so many wonderful memories, as my sister used to play on the front porch of my childhood home while the rest of the family harmonized along,” Mary says.
“My whole family is artistic in some way or another. My late husband, Eddie, was a stained-glass window designer, my daughters sing, a grandson is a published composer of Catholic liturgical hymns and a granddaughter is an artist."
For anyone who's weighing senior housing options, there are a lot of factors to consider—-from location to cost to safety. But don't forget to ask about quality of life and observe the activities residents are doing. Research shows that staying active and engaged at any age contributes to both our physical and mental health.
More than art and music classes, Ebenezer offers a wide range of services for our aging population: adult day programs, temporary care, independent apartments, assisted living and memory care.
“If you are looking for housing for an aging loved one, we’ll guide you through the entire process,” Denise says. “We truly offer something for everyone.”
For more information and a complete list of all Ebenezer services and housing options, visit EbenezerCares.org.