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Medical Director of Renowned Facility Says Back to School Time is Also a Time for America's Seniors to Keep Learning
Date:9/24/2008

RESEDA, Calif., Sept. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- With millions of children returning to classrooms around the country this month, the Los Angeles Jewish Home's Medical Director Rick Smith is recommending that seniors "return to school" also by continuing their education as a means to stay young.

"Many studies have demonstrated that by actively engaging your mind you are helping to keep yourself in better shape mentally and be more likely to also maintain physical vigor," Dr. Smith said. "One of the great quotes is by Henry Ford who said, 'Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.'"

Dr. Smith said development is a lifelong process. Though memory often changes with aging, "never stop learning or growing." He recommends many ways seniors can keep their minds active. Dr. Smith believes the Internet is a great tool for overcoming isolation and staying independent. "The percentage of older Americans feeling comfortable online is dramatically increasing every day ... so many great classes and programs are now available."

He said seniors that are able can enhance their knowledge through sightseeing, entertainment and education travel programs. There's also no reason that many older adults shouldn't go back to college. He said, "It really stimulates their intellectual, emotional and physical well-being."

In addition, Smith pointed out in many classrooms, professors and younger students often appreciate the experience and perspective older students bring to the table. If price is a concern, chances are older adults are simply returning to school for enrichment and can audit classes for free.

Volunteer work is another way to continue learning. Dr. Smith said it provides an opportunity for sharing seniors' considerable life skills and experience and helps young people and others in need, while keeping senior volunteers feeling active and healthy. Residents at the Los Angeles Jewish Home live five to seven years beyond the nursing home industry average.

Founded in 1912, the world-renowned Los Angeles Jewish Home is one of the foremost continuing senior living facilities in the United States and is the largest single-source provider of senior housing in Los Angeles. In total the Home annually serves more than 1,700 seniors through an extraordinary continuum of services. Each year, more than 1,200 senior women and men are supported through in-residence housing on two village campuses (spanning 16 acres), with services featuring independent-living "Neighborhood Home" accommodations, residential care, skilled nursing care, Alzheimer's disease and dementia care, and end-of-life care. Another 500 seniors are served through the Home's community-based programs, which include Skirball Hospice and community clinics. Healthcare professionals from around the world consult with the Jewish Home in an effort to improve eldercare in their home countries. The Home is a nonprofit organization that relies upon donations from individuals, corporations and foundations to continue its remarkable work. Further information regarding the Home can be found online at http://www.jha.org or by calling 818-757-4407.


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SOURCE Los Angeles Jewish Home
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