Many adults think "I can't wait until I'm retired and have time for all my hobbies and outside interests." Then when they reach retirement, they have the time, but not the desire to drive from here to there to enjoy every pursuit they'd like.
That's where a retirement community dedicated to an active lifestyle can be the perfect solution for many seniors. At University Village in Thousand Oaks, numerous speakers, activities, dances, holiday celebrations and fitness classes are held on-site for residents. Seniors can enjoy as many events and activities as they want without ever leaving campus.
And what a range of activities.
In addition to daily events and special programs, as well as off-site excursions to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, the Thousand Oaks Performing Arts Center, Dodger Stadium, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena and other venues, the residents enjoy a huge variety of guest speakers. At University Village, many of the guest speakers are organized by UVTO Women, the community's women's club, and the UVTO Men's Club.
Last year, the Men's Club sponsored a program featuring a vascular surgeon who was also an experienced mountain climber. Another guest, whose mission involved dropping smart bombs, fought in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War (the Six-Day War). The Men's Club has also hosted lectures by California Lutheran University professors and, recently, a presentation by Rick Carter, the Academy Award-winning art director for such movies as "Avatar," "Forrest Gump," and "Jurassic Park." Carter was most recently nominated for another Oscar this year for his work on "War Horse."
Jack Darnielle, chairman of the Men's Club, credits the group's board of directors for lining up the speakers for the year.
"We've had outstanding speakers in the past representing all walks of life," Darnielle said. "In putting together the program for the year, we try very hard to come up with a variety of topics to satisfy a wide array of interests. Our job is to bring in experts from many different fields so there's something for everyone."
Dee Wilson, Darnielle's counterpart for UVTO Women, said some of her group's most popular programs have been military-related.
"Many of our residents served in World War II and the Korean War, and military programs are always well received," Wilson said. "Last Veteran's Day, we had a fantastic program where residents – many of them in uniform – shared their reminiscences about World War II. One resident passed the war years in a German concentration camp, while another was in Paris during the liberation."
Last summer was a very busy time at University Village. One event featured a representative from the Reagan Library who talked about the library's latest events and collections. Another popular program was a visit from three of the 13 women who collectively purchased a $37,000 diamond necklace. The women shared their story of how they came to own the necklace and the profound change it has had on their lives.
Numerous programs are lined up for 2012, Wilson said, including a presentation by the Ventura County Sheriff's Department on the latest scams targeting seniors.
Some of the events are presented by residents. Darnielle, an authority on Shakespeare, spoke recently at a UVTO Women meeting. This April, resident Jennifer Zobelein will give a talk on the story of the Walt Disney Concert Hall organ. Zobelein, who is president of the New West Symphony, wrote the book, A Forest of Pipes, which details the design, planning and construction of the world-famous organ.
"There are so many interesting people, programs and excursions, sometimes you really have to prioritize your time," Wilson said. "Some people are joiners and involved in many activities, while others enjoy a more quiet pace of life. It comes down to doing as much or as little as you want."