The word “retirement” is hardly ever used at Willow Valley Communities, a premier 55 plus senior living community in Lancaster. Instead, we think of this phase of life as re-imagining, re-envisioning, re-starting, or re-newing. Willow Valley Communities adopts a Mind, Body, and Spirit approach in everything we do, especially when it comes to our programming. Seniors come to Willow Valley Communities to grow and learn, and to pursue our philosophy of Life Lived Forward through our unique approach to senior living. Willow Valley Communities, situated on 210 acres, is home to approximately 2,500 residents and is the only exclusively Lifecare community in Lancaster County.

Residents engage in programs, hobbies, and passions in ways that may be far different from what is found at other senior living communities. While much of it does help residents keep their minds sharp, most of the programs also offer opportunities for seniors to rediscover themselves and their passions during this often most fulfilling time of life. The type of programming found at Willow Valley Communities, often described as “ageless,” is similar to classes found at a college or university. Most of  the organization’s rich programming is presented and described in Willow Valley Communities’ 60-page, full color magazine, Renaissance, published three times a year. The magazine features the many hundreds of classes, lectures, trips, shows, performances, and activities available in any given season. In August alone, the community offered 175 such activities.

Willow Valley Communities’ programs explore subjects on multiple levels, enhancing and sharpening residents’ minds even more. It’s been said that at Willow Valley Communities, learning goes deeper allowing for residents to truly engage in the subject. Stacy Musser, Willow Valley Communities’ Senior Director of Resident Life and Wellness, describes much of the programming as, “A strong approach to multi-faceted learning.” There are computer clubs, technology clubs, camera clubs, craft classes, etc., where residents can learn new skills; however, many of these classes are actually taught by other residents. Sharpening one’s mind comes not only in the form of learning a new hobby or skill, but in many cases, through teaching fellow residents. Willow Valley Communities’ Resident Life & Wellness Coach, Tyler Heidelbaugh, explains, “Some of our most engaging activities are those in which residents’ use their own knowledge, talents, and experiences. For example, mentoring, volunteering, coaching, counseling, and teaching have tremendous mutual benefit for both parties and contribute to keeping one’s mind sharp.”

By Maureen Leader

Read Aging Well at Willow Valley Communities, Part 2

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