What Does It Mean To Be A Self-Governed Community?
Due to some medical problems, my children suggested I think about moving closer to one of them. I was living in the Seattle area, and had a son near Portland and a daughter near Denver. Having grown up in the Portland area, and having no desire to move to Colorado, I elected Oregon. I also decided to look into retirement communities in the area. I did my research, and my sister flew out to assist me in this project. We looked at 14 different places before I reached a decision.
One of the many reasons I chose Terwilliger Plaza was because of the self governance factor. I came from a background where we had introduced the nursing staff of a hospital to the concept of self governance. It was interesting to see how they responded to making decisions which affected their practice. I had also lived in a condominium and served on the board for a number of years. Being someone who leans towards being a control freak, it was only natural that I would not be satisfied letting a large corporation make the decisions of my daily living.
The involvement of the members extends to the daily activities of the Plaza. The many activities available are all organized and run by the members. These include the Inquiring Mind, Current Issues, (2 discussion groups), Joy of Music, (the study of music and composers), Joyful Notes (a singing group), a Creative Writing Group, Bridge, a Computer Users Group, and many others.
Members often identify a need and respond by taking the necessary action. Two years ago, a booklet was developed “All the things you forgot to Ask”. A welcome bag was made up with the help of marketing. These are delivered to new members shortly after moving in, followed by a quarterly coffee for new members, giving them a chance to ask questions or make suggestions.
In my opinion this is preferable to having a paid Activity Director, as the activities are truly what the members are interest in. When you have the opportunity to participate, and be heard, you feel more empowered. Seniors have many life and career experiences and expertise in many areas. Retirement communities should capitalize on these valuable assets.
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Terwilliger Plaza Member, Chair, Board of Directors