A published author, respected educator, and talented musician, Beth – who earned her Ph.D. in English and American literature in 1979 from Case Western Reserve University – moved to a studio apartment in Judson’s Gardenview neighborhood in 2014.
Known for its sense of community, this section of Judson Park offers signature social programs that Beth enjoys in Gardenview’s multi-purpose lounge. Residents gather there to play Scrabble or card games, join in brisk 30-minute exercises, listen to or take part in music programs, or sometimes welcome small groups of visiting school children bringing favorite books to share, on a one-on-one basis, with residents.
Gardenview also provides assistance with personal care and 24-hour nurse oversight. Residents have as much independence as they would like, confident in the knowledge that such care and support services are available when needed or requested.
Life at Gardenview is also, as Beth quickly discovered, a lifestyle filled with “creative possibility at an advanced age,” an important factor in her original search for an assisted living community. In her undergraduate years at Mather College, she majored in English, with a music minor in piano. So it’s not surprising that among the Judson Park programming that initially drew Beth’s attention was the book club and the creative writing workshop and the fact that there are seven (seven!) pianos scattered throughout the property.
Writing remains one of Beth’s enduring passions. In addition to teaching children’s literature in the English department at CWRU, she has published several children’s books and designed the Harper and Row Reading Readiness Treasure Chest. At Judson, she has continued to hone her literary chops. “A Vampire in the Pharmacy,” a short memoir about her father’s encounter with fellow philatelist Bela Lugosi, was recently published in Connections, the residents’ newsletter.
The world of art remained an unexplored planet until Beth entered Judson Park’s Expressive Arts Center, and was introduced to watercolor painting and then collage, under the guidance of Judson’s Art Therapy Coordinator Cathy Bryan. “I began learning the basic elements of brushwork and design,” says Beth. “Cathy is inspiring and amazing.”
On one wall of Gardenview’s lounge, Beth noticed a display of residents’ artwork. Sometimes there was an art-show reception to honor artists whose collected works covered the entire wall. Several weeks later, much to her surprise, Beth became the Gardenview artist-of-the-month.
“This is all very new to me,” says Beth about her artwork. “I had never had time for art before; I was too busy with music, writing, teaching and raising a family. But there are endless opportunities here to do things you never thought that you could do, and to find out that you can do them pretty well!”
Named for its beautiful, all-seasons view of an expansive enclosed garden, the Gardenview neighborhood also offers easy access to the outdoors, either for gardening, strolling, or just relaxing. “It’s awesome to walk down the hall and find a garden,” marvels Beth. “I take a book outside to sit and read.”
Of course, not all the benefits of assisted living revolve around music, art and literature, as Beth discovered when she fell and broke her hip not long after moving into her Gardenview home. “It was a real blow,” she says. “But I was able to enter an intensive rehabilitation program right here at Judson.”
A former lap swimmer, Beth recently resumed water exercises as well. “I hope to get back to swimming soon in the wonderful pool here waiting to be used,” she says.
Now at the age of 90, Beth’s plans call for continuing to live a full and active life. “Judson is built to make the end-years rich and fulfilling,” she says. “My days are filled with all the activities provided here, plus great medical care when you need it. It’s a very supportive community, with people who share your activities and interests, and you get to know them very well.
“Every day is filled with wonderful surprises.”