What happens when a seasoned member of our community lives through a lens of curiosity?
Tom Sweeney, a resident at Fayebrooke Senior Apartments in Williamsville and Dave Bauer, also of Williamsville, are long-standing friends. Bauer and Sweeney started one of our area’s first men’s groups 25 years ago. Now, six men come together each month and share their concerns, stories and moments of growth with each other. Two years ago, Bauer launched the next chapter in his varied career, this time as a life coach. In Bauer’s work as a coach through his company, The Change Circle, Inc., he guides individuals through a process of discovery for persons seeking to live with the life skill of curiosity.
For several years now, Bauer’s work has aided people to grow in novel ways. Having shared many life transactions between them, Sweeney decided to invite Bauer to approach his Fayebrooke residence manager, Annette Palmerton, with an intriguing proposal. Sweeney and Bauer would run a two-hour workshop for Fayebrooke’s senior residents. The program, “What Brings You Joy?” helped guide seniors to live from an attitude of curiosity to discover new passions, grow in creativity and increase resiliency to navigate life’s changes.
What the residents discovered was there were many opportunities to live energetic, creative lives. Among the insights shared by the senior residents were:
- There’s always room and time to grow.
- You are never too old to learn and communicate.
- Do not be afraid to be vulnerable.
- Be grateful for the people in your life.
- Keep stepping forward and letting go of past negative experiences.
Bauer feels that “any person will grow in creative ways once they decide to live through a lens of curiosity.” His friend Sweeney is witnessing his fellow residents “sharing life stories that bring themselves a sense of purpose and legacy.”
Studies on creativity in the lives of seniors point to greater brain plasticity – taking on new creative challenges leads to greater brain neural pathways. This is often enhanced when seniors engage in more physical activity, social engagement and creative challenges. Additionally, in a study of over 1,200 persons, what seems true across cultures is that social connections are key to well being. Very happy people are highly social and tend to have strong relationships. Socializing is one of the most positive everyday activities a person can engage in.
Before the year ends, Palmerton is confident that more exciting and rewarding experiences will emerge. She has approved the three-part “Living Joyfully” series for 2019 and is glad to see a growing sense of enthusiasm playing out in the lives of the residents.