"Our residents, by and large, are very intellectual people," said Linda Sterthous, chief executive officer of Martins Run. She added that residents had been looking for higher-level programs when they realized that they were in an area richly populated with educational institutions.
In response to a clear demand, the Media-based residential community will be offering a new program called "Martins Run University" — a series of lectures by college faculty and professionals on a variety of topics.
Edie Helman, chair of the program committee at Martins Run, and several fellow residents wrote to area educational institutions to explain their goal for the series and to ask for lecturers. The schools that responded, including Swarthmore College, Widener University and Bryn Mawr College, gave Helman the names of interested speakers.
Some of these folks have previously visited Martins Run and were glad to return, reported Helman. Residents even recruited family members. "Many of our children and grandchildren are professionals in interesting fields," she noted.
The program will feature two lectures a month everything from "The Life and Times of Mark Twain" to "What to Look for in Music" to "U.S. vs. Art Thieves: Recovering International Stolen Art." The series kicks off Jan. 31 with Dr. Judith Lasker's presentation: "Traditional Medicine in China."
Helman said that she saw the desire for in-depth, college-level lectures during previous events at Martins Run, where residents engaged the speakers in intensive questioning that delved deeply into the subject matter: "These are people who pursue knowledge, and not just entertainment."
Studies have shown that when seniors remain cognitively active, it's good for their overall health, said Sterthous. "The main benefit for us is that our residents are interested in staying active and staying engaged in the world around them. They may be retired, but they're not retired from life."