Alumnus helps bring happiness into the golden years
Making every moment of his life count is important for Andrew Spheeris ’49, now living in Sedona, Ariz. He also wants to ensure that other people his age are doing the same. Spheeris, who recently turned 89, has been teaching a course on “Aging Gracefully” at a division of Yavapai College for six years.
“‘Aging Gracefully’ is a course on how to improve our lives,” Spheeris says. He has students in their 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s, and they all want to know how to live well in their golden years, Spheeris says. The students are professional people in every field, ranging from ophthalmologists to psychiatrists.
Guest speakers address such topics as Alzheimer’s disease, religion and spirituality, health and exercise for the elderly, death and dying, and geriatrics (the study of aging).
Spheeris actually was a student of the course before he took over as the teacher. He attended the same class seven years ago, and then he decided to lead it.
“I had a dream of becoming a teacher when I was in Ripon – that was 65 years ago,” he says. “I wanted to continue my education. There are 33 million people over 65 years of age, and half are miserable. I hope that by attending this class, they will come out with ideas to improve their golden years.”
Other courses he has taught are “Golden Age of Greece,” “Word Power” and “Meet the Veterans.”
Spheeris spent the better part of his career working for his family’s business at a discount store, and he also held many volunteer positions in the community, including working at nursing homes and food banks and being a lifeguard.
“My days at Ripon were the happiest days of my life,” Spheeris says, “but there is beauty of happiness at every age. You can be as happy now as you were in your 20s if you have the right attitude and approach.”
-Tsering Yangchen ’14
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