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If you’ve been finding retirement less than inspirational and you long to feel a renewed sense of purpose and meaning, like you had when you were teaching, you are in the right place.

What we’re going to share with you today is an exciting opportunity in retirement that will enable you to bring your skills and experience as a teacher in service to a very deserving group of people in your community.

That group we’re referring to are the seniors who are struggling with chronic loneliness and isolation.

Most seniors are proud, and to admit they are suffering from loneliness and isolation is, for some, an admission of failure. They would rather suffer in silence than appear weak and ask for help.

Unfortunately, chronic loneliness and isolation can lead to serious health consequences and it’s important to interrupt this cycle.

Our population is aging and we know the number of seniors who will be impacted by chronic loneliness and isolation is going to increase sharply. Some would argue it’s already reached epidemic levels in North America.

What’s needed is a way to engage with these seniors, in a way that is respectful, comfortable and empowering to them.

That’s where you come in!

As a trained and certified Clever Companion, you will have the unique opportunity to help seniors cope with their loneliness and isolation, but it will happen as an (unspoken) side benefit of your main service.

What is a Clever Companion’s main service?

Specially trained through our online course at Integra College, you will meet with your senior clients each week, in their homes, to help them strengthen their brain health and empower them to be lifelong learners

Brain health and social isolation are directly linked, so this role will give you the opportunity to make a powerful impact in two important areas of seniors’ lives.

We at Integra College developed the Clever Companion training program as part of our mission to help seniors who are struggling with chronic loneliness and isolation, and to give retired teachers an opportunity to have a part-time activity in retirement that will give them purpose and meaning, and help them supplement their retirement income.

The Clever Companion training program is the first of its kind in North America.  Its a university-quality course with an approach and content based on research conducted by some of the leading U.S. universities researching cognitive health.

The course draws on, for example, the published work of Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, and specifically, Prof. Yaakov Stern of Columbia University (considered the world’s leading authority on cognitive health).

One exciting outcome of this research is the discovery that each of us have a capacity in our brains, that when strengthened, has the ability to prevent or delay the symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, until much later in life.

Yes, that’s right. It can be possible to live a full and normal life, without the symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, even if you do have the underlying condition.

This capacity is called cognitive reserve, and among the factors in its development appear to be lifelong learning and cognitive engagement. 

Clever Companions are trained to work with seniors to encourage these exact factors. (You can see why the role is such a great fit for retired teachers.)

Like most things, being a Clever Companion is not for everyone, or even most. It takes a special person who is inspired to help seniors relieve their loneliness and isolation and is motivated to be trained in ways that facilitate cognitively engaging–but fun!–discussion sessions.

How is the Clever Companion service delivered?

Graduates of Integra College’s training program become independent, self-employed practitioners.  You develop a practice of clients–as many or as few as you want, based on your schedule. The course even covers practice-building techniques and skills.

You charge your clients directly. The seniors or their families will purchase program cards that will entitle them to a specific number of weekly sessions.  It’s not a franchise, not a multi-level marketing business, and Integra College does not collect anything from graduates–we simply train you to be a successful, independent practitioner. 

Why are teachers ideal?

For those retired teachers who are wanting to feel purposeful in retirement, to continue to make a difference, becoming a Clever Companion is a natural extension from their time in the classroom.

Now you’ll have a way to bring your existing career skills and experience, plus our training, in service to seniors who really need you!  Just as one example:  think of your years of experience getting people to open up and talk.  That kind of skill makes you an ideal candidate for the role of a Clever Companion!

So, if that’s you and you’re interested in learning more about the Clever Companion training program and the science that backs it up, let’s continue the conversation.

We’ll introduce you to Sandy, a retired teacher from California. Before becoming a Clever Companion, she struggled to find meaning and purpose in her retirement.

Sandy

Now she has a part-time practice, making a big difference to the 12 seniors she works with each week.

They love Sandy and they look forward to their weekly sessions with great anticipation!

     

Bob Hanley & Kathy Bell – Integra College   

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