WESTCHASE Elderly citizens have a much undeserved reputation. They are forgetful, they live in the past and they don't relate to the younger generation.
Sure, all of those images are out there and, guess what? They are all wrong.
Beth Leto, a director at Ashton Gardens of Tampa Bay on Linebaugh Avenue in the Westchase area, says those generalizations are ridiculous.
"We have to realize that these people are still getting everything and they want to learn more. They want to let their brains work and we try to help.''
To make it all work, Ashton Gardens is offering another round of its ongoing lecture series at Discovery University that is open to the public and residents alike. The program teaches socialization skills and offers participants the chance to interact with people close to their own age. There is no academic prerequisite to enter Discovery University. All it takes is a willingness to participate and explore ideas. Members or class attendees do not have to worry about tests or exams. All they have to do is bring their minds.
"Most of our people are retired, but their brains are still alive,'' Leto said. "You should see the people here when the lectures are going on. They are riveted. We challenge their mind, bodies and spirit.''
Next in the series at Ashton Gardens, on Jan. 28, is Thomas Edison. He is almost unanimously considered America's greatest inventor.
On Feb. 11 the subject will be "The Great Wave of Immigration,'' which many elderly citizens can relate to in ways that today's generation may take for granted.
Finally, John D. Rockefeller, who founded Standard Oil, will be the subject on Feb. 25.
It's an ambitious schedule, but Leto said that the lecture series has gone great so far.
"They are doing all they can to learn,'' Leto said. "Never count them out. People can learn a lot from the elderly.''