Thirty-two acres of lush, coastal living, and a charming nautical retreat appear to be the secret ingredients that foster a robust love of the arts at StoneRidge, located in historic Mystic, Connecticut. StoneRidge is a senior living community with vibrant arts offerings that residents enjoy as spectators, and just as often participate as performers.
Poetry in the Pub
Poetry in the Pub is a two and a half year old program that continues to draw impressive crowds month after month at StoneRidge. It’s an open forum, “come as you are,” gathering that residents enjoy by sharing favorite poems – both famous and obscure, reciting original works, or simply sitting back and listening. Without fail, fascinating conversations unfold, inspired by themes woven into the prose, and it all happens around what residents refer to as the “Magic Table”.
“Last month I invited a well-known poet from Scotland and it was a magnificent evening,” says Dr. Americo Petrocelli, or “Dr. P,” as he is affectionately known by residents and friends. “This sort of activity is stimulating and creates an environment for participation or introspection. The residents here enjoy living a full life in a society of other seniors.”
Creative Pursuits Inspire One to Inspire Many
The “Magic Table”, located in The Jerry Brown Pub at StoneRidge, also serves as a metaphor for every table in every coffee shop across the country where seniors gather for coffee, donuts and community, as well as the title of a book inspired by life, interactions, and observations at the community. Written by Dr. P., The Magic Table: Prose & Poetry Inspired by the Over-Eighty Crowd is a collection of poetry, satire, and short stories that reflect the life lived in a community with seniors. It’s about camaraderie, friendship, and celebrating new pursuits later in life.
“There’s a section in my book called Transitions, to acknowledge that it’s always a big step for people moving from their home to a community like StoneRidge. In that section is a motivational quote helpful for facing and embracing change,” explains Dr. P.
“A lot of people resist transition, and therefore never allow themselves to enjoy who they are. Embrace the change no matter what it is. Once you do, you can learn about the new world you’re in, and take advantage of it.’”
In the Company of Musicians
A wonderful example of what can happen when new ideas and creativity come together is the formation of The Celtic Strings, an organically formed group of five to seven women who are accomplished stringed instrument musicians and residents of StoneRidge. The ensemble practices every Tuesday to hone their craft and plays alongside one another in friendship. The group performed at StoneRidge in September to a packed auditorium and can be found performing at other senior communities and venues in the area. One member, a violinist, hadn’t picked up her violin in 27 years, but the music came right back to her once summoned. The oldest member of the group is 101 years old.
Dr. P touches on this theme in his book. “Don’t judge an elder by the color of the walker. A butterfly may be inside ready to fly out in all its dignity and beauty.”
Artistic Expression is Vital
StoneRidge has found a way, through the arts, to tap into the passions and talents of its residents. The results of engaging and drawing residents toward creative pursuits are inspiring. Artistic expression is a crucial way that we connect with one another, which is particularly important for seniors. This connection allows us to be happier and promotes overall wellness.
According to Gene D. Cohen, MD, Ph.D., former Director of the Center for Aging, Health & Humanities, George Washington University, self-expression can improve both mental and physical health. Benefits of creative activity are many, including: reinforced essential connections between brain cells, increased emotional resilience, relief from sleep and mood disorders, and a boosted immune system stemming from a positive outlook and sense of well-being.
Access to the arts lends itself to a higher quality of life, which StoneRidge has embraced with thoughtful community programming. To learn more about the arts programs or the plethora of activities available at StoneRidge, please call 860-333-8995.