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Rockwood Residents Inspired by TED Talks

August 18, 2015
by Nicole Skinner of The Spokesman-Review

TED (Technology Entertainment Design) Talks are showing up everywhere these days. They are short, powerful lectures, running 18 minutes or less; and they are organized by TED, a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas. From the classroom to the boardroom, there’s a TED Talk for almost any subject imaginable.

Rockwood Retirement Communities has also made use of these talks as a monthly inspirational activity for residents. The monthly TED Talks get-togethers not only promote the use of technology and media, but also provide an opportunity for social connection. Dan Distelhorst, a Rockwood Forest Estates resident, was key in getting these monthly events in motion in 2013. Originally only held at the Forest Estates, now the talks are also held at The Ridge, both located on the Rockwood South Hill campus. Residents typically watch two TED Talks per month. Distelhorst regularly selects the talks and also asks others to suggest talks or topics they would like to see. Distelhorst says he has a few favorite TED Talks but what he loves the most about the whole concept is that “they get people talking about ideas.”

“Talking about ideas, preferably over food, is as good as life gets,” he said. Distelhorst and his wife Elsa were even the recipients of a Senior Star of the Year Award from LeadingAge Washington, a state trade association, in 2013 for their combined work in making Rockwood a warm, inviting and friendly place. Their efforts to incorporate the TED Talks also were mentioned in this award. Lindy DuPree, a resident at The Ridge, started watching the TED Talks about a year ago. He’s been a Rockwood resident for just over seven months. He was pleased to find these monthly gatherings at Rockwood, and he and his wife look forward to attending the monthly TED Talks at The Ridge. One of his favorite talks discussed what is wrong with today’s medicine. “We find them very interesting and entertaining,” he said. While there is a vast number of talks available, covering topics from food and medicine to work and technology, here are a few noteworthy TED Talks that seniors are likely to enjoy:

  • Dan Buettner: How to live to be 100+
  • Jane Fonda: Life’s third act
  • Steve Jobs: How to live before you die
  • Laura Carstensen: Older people are happier
  • Matt Cutts: Try something new for 30 days
  • Dan Gilbert: The surprising science of happiness

The monthly TED Talks are just one of the many examples of resident-driven activities at the Rockwood Retirement Communities. It’s a concept that is a critical element of the foundation for living at Rockwood. Eowyn Sallis, Marketing Director for the Rockwood Retirement Communities, says that residents at Rockwood can create the environment they want. She notes that there is a shift in the retirement lifestyle, especially as more Boomers enter this phase of life. “Seniors today want a personalized experience when they come to a community like Rockwood,” says Sallis. “There’s also a growing priority on individuality, flexibility and continuing education.” Rockwood strives to provide that experience and more for its residents. From the monthly TED Talks to weekly men’s groups and Saturday morning “Sip and Schmooze” mixers, there’s plenty to occupy one’s time. Rockwood President and CEO Alan Curryer said everyone wins with this approach. “More than ever before, seniors are looking to their retirement years as a time to not only dedicate themselves to passions they already have, but also to pursue new interests,” he said. You can watch TED Talks for free by going to www.ted.com/talks. Or you can find out more about Rockwood Retirement Communities by contacting the Marketing Department at (509) 536-6850 .

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