Newcastle Place is a vibrant senior living community located in Mequon, Wisconsin, where seniors have an array of choices and flexibility in how they spend their day. One of the ways seniors stay engaged and active is through the community’s many volunteer programs.
Within two weeks of a new resident moving into Newcastle Place, Community Life Services Director Jennifer Sutherland makes a house call to introduce herself, inform them of the variety of opportunities available, and find out about their interests and skills. “I try to pull from that meeting any ideas or interests or activities they’ve had before, and incorporate it into offerings here at Newcastle Place.”
Many Ways to Get Involved
Newcastle Place’s Rotary program meets every Friday, and residents are welcome to participate as guests or become members. Jennifer Sutherland, the Community Life Services Director, said the Rotary group enjoys a breakfast and a speaker, and they then have the opportunity to branch out and do service projects. “It’s nice and convenient for residents because it’s here in their home. And then they help in the community with things like taking down Teasel, and invasive plants.”
A couple of resident-lead programs within Newcastle Place include a yoga class and a book club. “One of our residents, Karen, leads a regular yoga practice. She has a great outgoing personality and a skill set she can share with others on our campus,” explained Jennifer.
Another resident, Alice, leads 15 to 20 seniors in a monthly book club. Jennifer explained, “She used to be a librarian and has access to getting all 15 to 20 books at one time. They read a different book each month. Books are distributed at the beginning of the month, and once residents read it, Alice leads a discussion for about three hours on the last Friday of the month.
“The seniors love it. It’s great to integrate programs with all the people we serve on a kind of peer to peer basis.”
Watching Seniors Grow
There are many different “niches” where seniors at Newcastle Place can find a place to get involved, either by leading a committee or volunteering within the groups, said Jennifer. “We have a Culinary Committee, who as part of their role help suggest menu items to our dining team. We have an Executive Resident Council, where residents hold different positions within the committees. Our gift shop volunteers restock items, put out cards, and greet residents and staff who come in.”
Jennifer feels that volunteering at Newcastle Place gives seniors an opportunity for personal growth and fulfillment. “They get to meet new people who live both here and outside of campus, since we offer some classes to community participants, so it promotes diversity. And due to the nature of the program, we’re able to connect volunteers with other appropriate opportunities.”
Jennifer highlighted the fact that because people like to take on different roles when participating, it’s nice that there are different levels of opportunity. “Whether you like to be more on the sidelines of a project or lead it, our seniors have a chance to contribute to our operations and provide a stronger community.”
Seniors at Newcastle can choose from different projects and activities, develop their own goals and objectives, and work at their own pace to achieve them. “At the end of a project or goal, there is recognition for them. They get to see what their accomplishment means for them and their community.”
Leading Yoga at Newcastle Place
Below, Newcastle Place resident Karen shares her perspective on leading yoga and what that means to her:
Do you enjoy teaching yoga at Newcastle Place?
First off, it’s great for me and it gives me the opportunity to practice yoga myself, which I enjoy. On top of that I love to see the progression of the residents that participate.
What first got you involved in yoga?
Back issues, and without a doubt I felt better. I started to be involved in yoga because of the back issues and really found myself getting into the meditation part of it. The meditation and the improvement of my back is what really kept me going.
How long will you continue to teach yoga?
As long as I possibly can and my body will allow me to teach yoga I will do it.
What was one memorable moment from teaching a yoga class?
The look on people’s faces when they find out they can do a balancing pose that they didn’t think was possible. It is always satisfying to see people do things that they did not except that they could or they wouldn’t do on their own.
Want to find out how you can become a part of Newcastle Place’s active senior living community? Get in touch with us at 262-421-9050.