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Residents standing in front of a horse on a tour.

Gatesworth Stories —

Activities Strengthen Relationships
The Gatesworth Brings Residents Excitement Each Day

You don’t lose your interests when you retire – you’re given more time to enjoy them. At The Gatesworth, residents can enjoy community activities and experience everything St. Louis has to offer.

“I’m always looking for something interesting and a little different, with an educational component, and of course, food,” says event and entertainment director Janine Lawler. “I think it helps strengthen the overall sense of community and belonging that residents feel here at The Gatesworth.”

Lawler considers event planning her passion and has been doing it professionally for the past 20 years. She joined The Gatesworth family last fall, uplifting the community in a way that brings her continuous joy.

“It’s enlightening and it makes you learn to enjoy life,” says resident Sharon Owens, adding that the warmth of everyone at The Gatesworth has helped her get over the loss of her son a few years ago and her husband last year. “It keeps me busy and helps me get through my days. The people here are wonderful.”

From weekly art classes and current event discussions to seasonal putting contests and special events like its signature Derby Day party, there is no shortage of activities available at The Gatesworth. Lawler works to offer residents a wide variety, especially when it comes to evening entertainment, bringing in live music, Irish dancers, a trivia night, a cabaret performance and even a magician. The community also shows two daily films at its on-site Starbird Theatre and on an in-house movie channel.

Lawler adds that she is always listening to resident feedback to shape The Gatesworth’s entertainment programming.

Assistant event and entertainment director Becky Smith concurs: “My role in supporting the director includes a lot of the administrative responsibilities, but my main goal is to ensure that our residents enjoy themselves,” she says. “I spend time conversing with the residents and simply giving them love. They are truly the best and I love getting to know them.”

Along with events within the community, The Gatesworth offers numerous ways for residents to explore St. Louis.

“Since some of our residents no longer drive and many don’t like to drive at night or for long distances, we have a lot of interest in outings,” Lawler explains. “We have regular Friday outings to local cultural institutions. We have several residents who are very involved in the cultural scene in St. Louis and like to attend opera and theatre; this spring, I selected a subscription series from both STAGES and Opera Theatre St. Louis and scheduled transportation for the series so that our residents could easily attend.”

Additionally, The Gatesworth hosts monthly Men’s Lunch Out and Ladies’ Night Happy Hour events, day trips and “Out on the Town” trips to local restaurants.

“If I see something interesting, I will try to add it in,” Lawler says. “For instance, next month we’re taking a group to ‘Boozy Bingo’ at the historic Lemp Mansion.”

Lawler concludes that one of the best parts of The Gatesworth’s entertainment is how it creates and strengthens relationships between residents.

“Not only do the residents enjoy themselves, but they also get to know other residents that they didn’t previously know,” she says. “Some will come on the trips as a couple or a pair, but many come individually – and after an hour or two on a motorcoach, lunch and a shared experience, they come to find out that they have similar interests and can really make a connection.”

Text based on an interview by Maggie Peters in Ladue News

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