By Barbara Farnsworth
The Hingham Senior Center partners with many different organizations to provide a wide range of programs and services to Hingham’s older adults. We were excited to hear about South Shore Conservatory’s (SSC) new Adult Learning initiative, and interested to see what programs we could offer together at our site. We are always looking for new ways to integrate the six dimensions of wellness into our programming: physical, emotional, spiritual, occupational, social and intellectual. A growing wealth of research shows that the arts are an important ally in wellness, especially the social and intellectual dimensions.
Music is one of those things that every person can do regardless of age or ability. Starting lessons as an adult probably won’t lead to an appearance at Carnegie Hall, but it will challenge, enrich, and maybe even create a community of fellow learners. I see it as a way of staying engaged.
In my opinion, it’s important to continue learning throughout our lives. In 2001, I decided to take up running at the age of 48. I saw an article in a magazine about running a marathon in Honolulu to raise money for the Arthritis Foundation, so decided to give it a try. While I will never be fast or in an elite group, I have finished eight marathons along the way, and will run Chicago again in October. I learned a lot about the sport of running and fundraising while making some great friends.
When the Hingham Senior Center first decided to offer a ukulele class through SSC this past fall, we weren’t quite sure if we would have enough interest to run it. There were a couple of raised eyebrows because we hadn’t offered this kind of program before, but most people were excited. What started as one trial six-week session, turned into a string of four sessions. Due to the program’s popularity, we are delighted to offer Ukulele Class to our seniors again this fall.
In talking to participants, it is clear that people look forward to their class every week. One participant told me, “It was lovely to be schooled in the joy and fun in learning a musical instrument. I was surprised I could play songs.” Others commented that it was a good way to keep sharp: “I need to get out of the house and keep my brain moving forward and this does it!” Everyone agreed that the social aspect of playing in a group was important, “The classes were great, nice mix of people and varied degrees of ability. We laughed a lot! Looking forward to starting in the fall.”
I think it’s wonderful to have a resource such as SSC in our community. We are thrilled that they are willing to work with us to create programs that fit the needs of our seniors in Hingham.
For more information about South Shore Conservatory’s adult learning initiative, contact Anne Smith firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit http://sscmusic.org/adult_programs.html. Hingham senior residents may sign up for Ukulele Class by contacting the Hingham Senior Center at 781-741-1458.
Barbara Farnsworth is the Director of Elder Services for the town of Hingham.