When it comes to exploring lifelong learning opportunities, Grace Ridge residents are straight-A students.

“Our residents have a continuous desire to expand their minds, so we’re always promoting mental fitness and encouraging educational enrichment,” said Evelyn Beaver, life enrichment director. “Around here, we take the Henry Ford quote to heart: ‘Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.’”

August is National Back to School Month, so residents are learning how to stay young – and keep up with younger generations and their loved ones – by better understanding technology.

“Through our concierge services program, we’re offering several classes designed to increase technical device knowledge – from iPads and iPhones, to laptops and home assistants. There is so much technology available at their fingertips and they want to either start adopting it or get better at using it.”

Concierges will work with residents individually or in pairs and assist them with whatever they need – from internet literacy to software training. Lessons will take place in their independent living apartment or cottage, or in the continuing care health center.

“Whatever technology residents have in their home is within the limits to receive help with,” Beaver said.

Technical assistance with tablets, phones, TVs, computers and more

An iPad and iPhone session will introduce residents to Siri, as well as show them how to text, use the camera, set reminders and alarms, Facetime with loved ones, check the weather, set up email, take notes and download apps. Additionally, they’ll be able to explore ways to improve their lifestyle through Apple Wallet and Google Pay as well as health and fitness apps.

Another class takes an in-depth look at what safe entertainment options are available on a phone, iPad or computer. This includes downloading TV shows, movies and podcasts, gaming apps and services, television and film services like Netflix and Hulu, news apps and instant alerts, and downloading for offline viewing. Residents with cable can learn how to connect their cable provider to their phone or computer so they can watch their shows anytime, anywhere.

In the Facebook training, students will learn how to make a profile, write a status, share pictures videos, add friends and use messenger. Another class will focus on “Music through Technology” – downloading music onto their phone or MP3 device, making playlists, searching for music, and learning the differences between purchasing and streaming music.

Other lifelong learning opportunities

Residents also head back to the classroom to expand their minds through Grace Ridge University, where continuing education topics and lectures include languages, literature, art, music, history, religion and philosophy.

Starting this month for six weeks, they’ll gather in the community’s theater for Ken Burns’ new series, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea. It explores the story of preserving “the most special places in the nation” for everyone.

“We also encourage residents to take a class, finish a degree or discover a new passion at nearby Western Piedmont Community College,” Beaver said. “At little or no cost they can enhance their culinary skills with a cooking class, learn to row a canoe – or even build one, or step into the past with a history class.”

She added, “Whether they’re 65 or 85, Grace Ridge residents know learning has no age limit, so when it comes to lifelong learning, school’s always in session. They’re all-star pupils!”

Nestled in the foothills of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, Grace Ridge is a Life Plan Community spanning 52 pastoral acres in Morganton, NC. Come for a visit and find out why our community repeatedly garners awards, high rankings and superior satisfaction ratings as one of the best retirement communities in North Carolina.