‘Continue the pace’

Cedar Crest’s community life the antidote to isolation

Created date

December 19th, 2019
Jim Gallagher teaches memoir writing for Cedar Crest’s Institute for Learning in Retirement as one of his many on- and off-campus activities.

Jim Gallagher teaches memoir writing for Cedar Crest’s Institute for Learning in Retirement as one of his many on- and off-campus activities.

Socialization is one aspect of a healthy life that often gets overlooked as we get older. Many seniors report feeling isolated in their big houses. The neighborhood has changed, children have moved out, and driving becomes less appealing. 

Whatever their interests, Cedar Crest community members can participate in 180 interest groups and clubs, including music groups, craft groups, religious groups, continuing education classes, sports and hobby clubs, the woodshop, and billiards. 

For something less structured, they can simply walk down to happy hour to visit with neighbors before dinner. 

At dinner, friends can dine together, or the host can seat a single or couple, if they choose, with other singles or couples, providing the opportunity to meet new people and make new friends nightly.

On the go

“I’ve always been fairly active,” says Jim Gallagher, an academic with a doctorate in social sciences who teaches memoir writing for Cedar Crest’s Institute for Learning in Retirement. “Cedar Crest has been a great place to continue the pace I’ve been going at my whole life.”

On campus, Jim is a staff writer and editor for The Villager, a quarterly magazine produced by residents. He writes original articles and profiles of his neighbors. He also volunteers on the philanthropy committee and is on the board of the Democratic Club of Cedar Crest, serving as chair of political contributions and member communications. 

Off-campus, he consults with nonprofit groups, including Girls Surviving, Jazz House Kids, and the Reproductive Rights Internship program on the Hampshire College campus, helping them with administrative and financial issues. Once a week, he volunteers at Covenant House, the local shelter for homeless youth, “in a program to enrich their career and personal development,” he says. “Among other things there, I conduct a drum circle for the young people interested in making music.” 

Something for everyone

Life is particularly good at Cedar Crest, Jim says, thanks to the myriad opportunities to stay active and social and avoid isolation. “Our monthly calendar of events has something for everybody, from knitting an afghan to debating about current events. Plus, we have many opportunities to socialize with people,” he says.

And they never have to go outside in winter to take advantage of all Cedar Crest has to offer. Climate-controlled walkways connect every building, and the community’s three clubhouses provide amenities like a medical center, fitness and aquatics center, convenience store, restaurants, all-faiths chapel, and game and activity rooms. 

Cedar Crest’s design enables social interaction and empowers community members to stay active and more independent through the years. 

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