Lifelong Learners Share Knowledge at Seabrook

Kate Streit
August 3, 2021
Seabrook Residents

When it came time to retire, Harvey Schmelter-Davis and his wife, Lynne, weren't necessarily interested in slowing down. With backgrounds in higher education, they're committed to lifelong learning, which they're able to be able to pursue at Seabrook, an Erickson Senior Living-managed community in Tinton Falls, N.J. Harvey worked as the director of career services at Brookdale Community College in Lincroft, N.J., where Lynne was a professor of psychology. Harvey also later worked for Rutgers University and provided training and course development throughout the United States as well as in Japan and Israel. Both Harvey and Lynne were members of the Institute for Retired Professionals at The City University of New York Graduate Center, in which members take courses from each other. When they came to Seabrook in 2019, the institute served as a model of a way for them to share their love of learning with the community.

Love of learning

“When we got here, we saw that there were a number of disparate learning activities, but nothing organized in a cohesive and ongoing way,” says Harvey. “Our goal was to survey the existing Seabrook residents and find out if there was interest in ongoing learning activities.”

More than 170 people expressed interest, and with the help of the resident life department, the Seabrook Active Learners Steering Committee was established to find residents to offer courses in a variety of subjects.

Growing course list

Last fall, Seabrook Active Learners offered 15 courses for between two and six sessions. In the spring, an additional 15 courses were offered. The group’s mission statement is “to engage the Seabrook community in learning opportunities to enhance our quality of life.”

All of the courses are led by Seabrook residents, giving them the opportunity to both teach and learn. The offerings span everything from science to the performing arts to travel.

“Here It Is in Black and White” explored the meanings and uses of black and white and monochrome photography. Participants could use a cell phone, camera, or any image-capturing device. The “Page to Stage” course offered residents the opportunity to learn the basics of stories and plays, including character development, creating distinctive dialogue, and plot structure. A resident who grew up in Alsace prior to and during World War II discussed grape-growing for wine in France with a focus on the Alsace region in the “Wine Tasting” course. Participants tasted several different wines and discussed their properties.

“The Seabrook Active Learners has been a great success,” says Community Resources Manager Natalie Battifora. “The residents really appreciate the opportunity to learn from one another.”

Freedom and flexibility

When they’re not busy running the Seabrook Active Learners, Harvey and Lynne spend time socializing with friends both on and off campus. They’re very happy with their active lifestyle at the community, and they recommend that people considering Seabrook move at a younger age to fully enjoy all it has to offer. “Living at Seabrook as opposed to a larger home really provides the best of both worlds,” says Harvey. “You have the convenience of all of the services and amenities available on-site, but you also have the freedom to leave campus to visit with family and friends and engage in other hobbies.”

Harvey and Lynne also have a home in the heart of Manhattan, and they like having easy access to spend time there as well. Harvey says many residents at Seabrook enjoy such flexible living arrangements, with many spending winters in Florida, for example.

The perfect fit

Harvey and Lynne chose the Manchester, a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment home on the first floor. “Our apartment is excellent for our needs,” says Harvey. “It has a great view of a forest grove, and it’s easy to walk our dog. It also allows us to do some gardening, which I enjoy.”

He credits Seabrook’s staff with helping them select the best floor plan. “After seeing our existing living arrangement, Seabrook’s personal moving consultant recommended we look at a larger unit, which ended up being a wise decision,” says Harvey. “Seabrook also provides an excellent service to help decide how to fit your existing furniture in the unit we had chosen,” he adds.

Consider being part of a strong and caring senior living community like Seabrook. Beautiful walking paths, gardens, resort-style amenities, an on-site medical center staffed by full-time medical professionals, and new friends await. Request a brochure or a visit now!