Lenbrook's front entrance courtyard proudly sported a real snowman for a few days this winter when snow blanketed Atlanta. One of our residents felt inspired to build it, so he did. Once complete, he encouraged others to do the same, putting up a sign which read: "Feel free to add to the snowman. Or build your own. But Whatever You Do, Don't Act Your Age!" 
 
I like the idea of "not acting your age." So does Lenbrook. Our mission is to help our residents uncover new pursuits and purpose in their retirement years -- to enjoy good health, independence and personal fulfillment. We actively support our residents in creating "Third Acts" for their lives. Let me introduce you to a few of these inspiring Third Act residents. 
 

Snowman Builder, Patient Teacher and Veterans Champion 

As a retired Lt. Colonel from the Army and a retired HR executive from J.M. Huber Corp., Jim Whitehurst is someone you'd least expect to be playing in the snow. But he's our resident snowman builder as well as a master gardener and long-time hiking/nature buff. And that's not all. A veteran of the Korean War, each year Jim helps Lenbrook develop recognition programs and celebrations throughout November to honor resident veterans. He also has a knack for patiently teaching others how to communicate with people who have dementia, and he can give an impressive history lecture in short order.

Jim jumps in feet first to help Lenbrook with initiatives like the residents' "Breakfast Club." This grassroots gathering of residents every morning, between 6:30 to 9:30 a.m. in our Bistro, prompts lively banter about anything and everything. Anyone can drop in, join the conversation, and enjoy coffee and a pastry around the designated large round tables. Jim is a big promoter of the Breakfast Club as he believes we should all do more to address social isolation among older Americans. He's a man of many "causes," filling his life with purpose and action. Of course, being married to his wife Elaine, a retired and accomplished medical malpractice attorney, keeps him on his toes, too. 

Founder of Lenbrook's Geezer Squad

After a life-long career of programming and designing computer systems with Bell Labs and Scientific Atlanta, Jim Cochrane retired. But it doesn't mean this Georgia Tech graduate and NYU PhD retired from working with technology. When he and his wife "Bear" moved to Lenbrook seven years ago, he quickly recognized that he could be helpful in teaching his neighbors how to use email and Facebook, how to search the web for medical information; or even how to find a good movie. 

He founded the Lenbrook Geezer Squad, a team of residents who make house calls to help other residents with computer issues. He also continues to teach on-site classes to residents in Lenbrook's technology classroom. Jim eagerly offers his time and talents to his fellow Lenbrook friends, keeping him not only mentally sharp but also looking sharp in his signature suspenders. 

Avid Painter, Reader and Book Club Leader

Marlene Puca may be petite and soft-spoken, but she lives large at Lenbrook, creating opportunities for residents to share in their love of art, books and continual learning. Last year, you could find Marlene manning art tables and co-chairing activities in Lenbrook's art studio to create a half-dozen Monarch butterfly art canvasses. These canvasses became the backdrop for an amazing production called "pARTicipate in the Art of Life," which Lenbrook residents performed in Woodruff's Alliance Theatre. Marlene has always loved to paint and that passion hasn't waned since moving to Lenbrook. 

Several years back, Marlene mentioned to us that she'd like to start book club. We said, "Awesome, we'll help." We provided the promotion about the new club and Mrs. Puca did the rest. The group has been going strong ever since, graduating from her apartment to our Brookhaven Meeting Room. The book club was a natural for Marlene as she holds a master's degree in education and worked as a certified reading specialist in the Fulton County School System for years. Marlene shows us how you don't have to be big, to create a big impact on those around you. 

Find Your Personal Fulfillment

Lenbrook strives to be an inspiration and source of enrichment in the lives of its residents. This is very clear in the Lenbrook Mission Statement: 

"To enable our residents to enjoy the gifts of independence, good health and personal fulfillment, to the fullest extent possible, through Lenbrook's many programs and services." 

As you prepare to retire, or even if you've already retired, I challenge you to develop goals for your retirement years and live your "Third Act." Find out what interests and energizes you. Find what gives you purpose, joy and personal fulfillment. And come by Lenbrook to see how our residents are doing just that every day.