Applewood’s social calendar addresses residents’ taste for culture, cuisine and the classroom

Olga Byler_1

Applewood’s social calendar addresses residents’ taste for culture, cuisine and the classroom

By Olga Byer, Engaged Living Coordinator

There’s a reason I wear sneakers to work every day—I’m in motion from the minute I arrive here at Applewood. From hobby groups to themed cocktail parties and day trips to Broadway shows (‘Beautiful’ on June 15), we are busy!

It’s easy to plan and manage our Engaged Living™ clubs and events using this magnificent community and its amenities as a back-drop for seniors to enjoy their lives to the fullest. Our educated and sophisticated clientele has no intention of slowing down in retirement. In fact, it’s quite the opposite!

Why is Applewood’s exclusive Engaged Living™ valuable to any senior?
My job is to be sure that we offer a multitude of activities and events to invigorate and engage all of our senior residents, from new retirees to those who have been with us since we opened our doors 26 years ago.

Fortunately, I worked with a 55+ adult community in the area for several years before joining the team here at Applewood. As a result, I’m already familiar with the most popular events and activities seniors enjoy, like riverboat cruises aboard the River Lady and a gifted local singer who knows all the right music to play during parties and get-togethers.

Applewood resident survey results

Rather than rely on generic industry information about what recreational and social activities today’s seniors are interested in, we conducted our own custom survey earlier this year. I’m delighted to say the response was outstanding (better than 50%) and provided a course of action that we are now implementing.

The Applewood Resident Survey asked two key questions:

1) What events and activities do you enjoy most?

2) What are some new activities you would welcome?


This diverse topic yielded the most responses with our exclusive Culinary Institute of Applewood™ (CIA) garnering the top spot as a favorite activity followed by regional symphony rehearsals (held on-site at our Performing Arts Center) and performances and trips to well-known musical and theatrical productions.

Learn more about CREATE™, Applewood’s committee for culture, recreation, education, recreation, arts, theater and entertainment.

Lifelong Learning

Seniors were most interested in attending lectures related to a variety of topics following closely but current events discussions. Computers/technology and history were the most requested courses for university educational learning, but short story clubs and discussions groups were less popular.

Special Events

No surprise here—our cocktail parties earned the number one spot as a favorite special event followed closely by Sunday live entertainment, monthly birthday luncheons and coffee houses, where residents have the opportunity to perform. Rounding out our residents’ favorite occasions were casino night and art exhibits.

Off-site destinations

Museums, dining and shopping were the most popular day trips, but baseball games garnered only a 5% response rate, surprisingly.

Looking ahead to the future

The Applewood Survey also provided residents with the opportunity to express some new ideas and preferences for community activities; Not surprisingly, we received some great ideas:

• More musical events, especially big band and 50’s era
• High tea parties
• Additional opportunities for volunteering
• More indoor-pool events
• Croquet, bocce and shuffleboard leagues
• More outdoor barbecues

Certainly, an important decision in moving to a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) here in Monmouth County is the home in which you will live. But once you settle into your new apartment or cottage, it’s time for the fun to begin!

Please stop by my office anytime to talk about your hobbies and interests. Rest assured, we have several opportunities to nurture what interests you, whether you are trying something new for the first time, or haven’t enjoyed it in decades.

Welcome to the rich, vibrant community of Applewood, where you’ll never, ever be bored or alone!

Olga Byer manages the daily on-and off-site resident experience program, Engaged Living™. She previously served as Lifestyle Director at a 55+ active adult community in Monmouth County for several years. Olga holds a B.A. degree in psychology and sociology. To learn more about Applewood’s community, including the exclusive Engaged Living™ lifestyle program, call 732-303-7416.