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Senior Lifestyles

Rockynol shares program with local residents

3/7/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

WEST AKRON — Adults who attend programs in the Senior Connections Series at Rockynol learn about cultures, art and history from worldwide experts without ever leaving town.

For the past two years, the popular program, through the use of videoconferencing technology, brings experts and their presentations to the older adult community for the program. Lynda Schumacher, Rockynol’s director of advertising and public relations, said the program is open to residents and nonresidents.

“University Circle has created a consortium of Western Reserve and Cleveland museums,” Schumacher said. “University Circle Senior Connections gets in contact with other museums, as well, throughout the United States.”

Programs take place nearly every week in the Myrna and Hugh Porter Chapel on the Rockynol campus, 1148 W. Market St.

Schumacher said many of Rockynol’s Independent Living residents take advantage of the programs, but by opening the programs up to the public, it allows Rockynol to provide a service to all Akron area seniors.

From music and sports to art and travel, the programs run the gamut of topics. A recent program focused on China and the Silk Road and featured experts from the Inner Asian and Uralic National Resources Center to explain the many contributions to the modern world from the Central Eurasia area.

This month, the programs will feature a presidential theme. On March 12, “The Road to the Republic: Thomas Jefferson” will let viewers learn about the third president through the portrayal of a re-enactor, and the series will conclude with noted presidential historian Michael Beschloss March 18. The programs begin at 1 p.m. and last one hour.

According to University Circle (UC) officials, the Senior Connections program was created in 2004.

Senior Connections worked recently with the Cleveland Museum of Art to expedite a seven-week mini-course on American art, which concluded with a docent-led field trip to the museum’s permanent collection. The program also partnered with NASA’s Glenn Research Center so participants could watch the sunrise at the International Space Station, while discussing the space program with an astronaut.

Other videoconferences have focused on brain fitness, with doctors and research psychologists as speakers, and a contemporary arts series that will explore the history of photography is in development, according to UC officials.

Recommendations for reading material often accompany videoconferences so participants can delve deeper into recently covered topics. Also offered are bibliographies and websites for further reading.

Many of the programs are free, but there is a charge for some of them, depending on if there is a cost to Rockynol, Schumacher said.

She added the program will potentially allow local residents to see presentations from and interact with experts from as far away as Europe.

Rockynol officials ask that those who plan to attend call Debbie Collier at 330-867-2150, ext. 229, up to the day before a program to reserve a spot.

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