Living in a retirement community doesn’t mean you have to slow down. On the contrary, the many activities and outings offered take residents everywhere from the local pool to the Holy Land!


Last July, The Rockwood had its first-ever luau to open its new patio, says general manager Mary Dalba. She and activities concierge Mindy Inmann came up with the idea as a way to bring new experiences for the residents to enjoy. The Hawaiian dancers came from Washington University, and returned this winter to “brighten the long winter nights,” Dalba says. “The residents loved the luau because the musicians and dancers were from the Island or studied the Hawaiian customs at Washington University and performed superbly! The weather and traditional luau food were excellent that evening. The luau is still being talked about!”


This spring, three residents plus staff members of Friendship Village in Sunset Hills took an eight-day pilgrimage to Israel. Stops included Tel Aviv, Caesaria, Mount Carmel, Megiddo, Nazarath, the Mount of Beatitudes, Phillipi, the Sea of Galilee and more. Friendship Village’s Bobbie Liverar says that the idea for the trip came from the chaplain’s department, and that all residents were welcome. “I can’t express how wonderful it was,” she says. “For the clients that we service, many of them in their 80s and some in their 90s, this could be the last opportunity they have for a trip like that. I know one lady expressed her thanks, because with the staff being there, it gave her an extra sense of security. We worried about everything and they didn’t have to worry about anything.”


Three years ago, a resident suggested that Bethesda Barclay House make use of its outdoor swimming pool by providing water aerobics. It started out at one day each week, says general manager Nathan Torno, but it was so popular that it expanded to twice per week. “It promotes flexibility for seniors, and they get to enjoy the outdoors, get together and socialize,” he notes. Anywhere from five to 10 residents participate in each session.


Among the many outings and activities that The Willows at Brooking Park hosts, perhaps the most popular is the trip to the Cardinals ballgame, says activity director Jeanne Fiddleman. “We go early in the year because of the heat; this year we went in May,” she says. “They had a great day, the weather was perfect, and we won!” Other recent events include a private expedition of Grant’s Farm; a trip to Josephine’s Tea Room in Godfrey, Ill.; outings to Ted Drewes; and several events in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, which included a trip to Jefferson Barracks and a presentation by an actor from the Missouri History Museum.