I want to bring a new dimension to chronicling senior activities at Friendship Village. When I started working there almost a year ago, I began to see areas that could be advanced with technology based on the equipment I used when I graduated from the School of Communications at Loyola University two years ago. When our residents go rock climbing, indoor skydiving, snow tubing, and go-carting (yes, you read that right), I want to show the world that life is for living — at any age.  

But I don’t do it alone. Helping me is a video crew of volunteer residents whose skills and interest in technology are advancing right along with the technology itself.   

I bring the equipment our department has been so generous in providing, and the seniors operate it 100% on their own. Every week, they record our morning show Wake Up! Friendship Village. They also film our talent shows, lectures, and other events and performances. A few of them also use our editing software to create segments that are shown on our in-house channel. This channel can be viewed in every resident’s apartment, and content is often uploaded to broader media, such as YouTube and Facebook. Our goal is to promote wide-range active aging.

All you need to do is look at one of our videos to see that everyone is having a blast on our outings. In a video we shot at iFly Chicago indoor skydiving, one of our residents, Judy Kucz, said, “I’ve always wanted to take risks, but never had the courage. I felt like this was a way to take a risk without really being in danger.  The exhilaration was amazing!” Others had similar things to say about challenging themselves and having fun at the same time. 

Our videos are also about the good seniors are doing through national, global and self-established initiatives like the Senior Outreach Coalition, their commitment to fitness and wellness, and some our remarkable residents and staff. To further engage our residents and the greater viewing audience, we hope to expand our TV studio and acquire more sophisticated equipment. Our seniors are really excited about this!

Helping the television crew is just one of many ways residents can become involved at Friendship Village. There are opportunities every day to remain active, educated, spiritually connected, and everyone becomes really close. I remember a woman who was overwhelmed by all the choices here when she first moved in. But she quickly found her niche, and now she has the biggest smile on her face and participates in so many events. 

At Friendship Village, we’re intentional about including not just our residents in activities, but the greater community as well. Three times, we received the Excellence In Community award from LeadingAge Illinois, the largest elder care association in Illinois. In September, our Silver Games Olympics will bring multi-faceted mental and physical activities to all seniors in the area. Residents themselves will be reaching out to their peers in the community. 

It’s surprising to me that I ended up working with seniors. I was expecting to get a job in broadcast news, but I couldn’t be happier where I am. Using the skills I learned in college is great, but it’s working with the seniors that I love the most. It’s definitely a two-way connection. They’re thrilled to have my younger spin on things, but they have taught me so much, too. They’ve helped my heart to grow.

Roberta Anglin is the Friendship Village-Schaumburg Lifestyles production coordinator.