Hot topics

Current events discussion group tackles today’s issues

Meghan Streit
February 24, 2020

Exchanging ideas with people who can thoughtfully challenge your opinions or broaden your perspective can be one of the most pleasant and stimulating ways to spend your time. The vibrant retirees who live at Fox Run have many opportunities for stimulating conversation, both informally over leisurely meals at the on-site restaurants or in more organized settings like the current events discussion group.  

A group of about 12 to 24 intellectually curious residents meets about twice a month to discuss noteworthy topics that have been in the local, national, and international news. The group has been in place at Fox Run for many years, and Ann Bickford took over as its leader in 2017. Ann says she has always made a point to follow the news and enjoys discussing important world issues with her peers, so the current events discussion group appealed to her.

"People are encouraged to bring an article they found in a newspaper or magazine and summarize it for the group to get the conversation started," Ann explains of the current events discussion group's meetings. "People pick up on that and talk about issues raised in that article, or people can just bring a topic and the group will discuss it. Over the course of an afternoon, we might discuss six different topics."

Wide range of issues

In recent meetings, the current events discussion group has tackled hot topics like immigration and border security, the Democratic presidential primary race, gun control and Second Amendment issues, and the growing wealth gap in America and how it has been impacted by recent tax law changes. 

"We also talk about medical issues, such as drug prices, the proposals of some of the presidential candidates, and Medicare for all versus for some," Ann says.

On the international front, the group has had discussions about climate change, Brexit, and demonstrations in Paris against French president Emmanuel Macron's plans to overhaul the country's pension system. They've also talked about the protests in Hong Kong centered around the government's attempt to extradite criminal fugitives to countries with which it doesn't have extradition agreements. 

"We also talk about Michigan issues, like the GM strike and the Enbridge pipeline," Ann says. "Every once in a while, someone will find a humorous, lighthearted article and bring that to share at the meeting to mix things up a little bit."

Diverse blend

Fox Run is home to all kinds of people from various states and countries, with different religious and political views and from a wide range of professional backgrounds. Ann spent her career as a lawyer practicing commercial litigation. She says the current events discussion group includes former educators, social workers, medical professionals, and others. The varied backgrounds of the group members make for even more interesting discussions.

"People have different views," Ann says. "So, the discussions are lively, but they are not acrimonious."

Ann previously lived in New York for most of her life. After she retired in 2000, she moved to Arizona. She decided to relocate to Michigan to be closer to her daughter and two granddaughters. Ann's daughter had heard about Fox Run from friends and encouraged her mother to check out the community. Ann says it appealed to her because of the availability of different types of care, including rehabilitation services, assisted living, skilled nursing, and memory care. She decided to sell her Arizona condo and moved to Fox Run in 2011.

"I enjoyed Arizona, but figured if I am going to move, I don't want to have to move again," Ann says. "I wanted to find a place that I could settle into."

While she enjoyed some more moderate temperatures in Arizona, Ann says she was accustomed to colder winters from living in New York. But she adds that living at Fox Run makes Michigan winters easy to tolerate. The staff is on hand to handle chores like shoveling snow, and on-site amenities, such as a bank, pharmacy, medical center, and fitness center with an all-season pool and hot tub, mean that community members don't have to venture out in cold temperatures if they don't want to.

"You certainly don't have to get up and go out to go to work every day, and you don't even have to go outside to go to the other [residence buildings and clubhouses]."