NEWS: EDWARD WOODS
says, Use it, dont lose it
College alum Edward Woods is an advocate for seniors
on state and local panels.
Woods has great advice for people planning to retire:
Find a passion in life and pursue it as a second career.
Thats exactly the path that Woods followed. Even at
age 71 following a second retirement, he remains active
on behalf of senior citizens and as a member of two Mission
College advisory panels.
"The only part of me thats retired is the tired
part," he likes to joke. "But I just keep going,
like the Energizer bunny."
Before his first retirement, Woods worked for 30 years as
a merchandising manager and designer in the highly competitive
fashion industry in New York and Los Angeles. In his late
fifties, Woods decided he wanted to do something less hectic,
and at the same time help others. The death of his father
helped him decide.
Woods had returned to New York when he learned that his 93-year-old
father was ill. The father, who eventually died after surgery,
had always enjoyed good health and lived alone. Woods
visit to his fathers apartment gave him a glimpse of
the daily challenges his father faced.
"It made me very aware of the need for care and attention
that older people like my dad, living alone, have," he
said. "Even when theres family around, seniors
can fall through the cracks and a lot of their needs go unmet."
Still looking for a second career at the time, he said "
light bulb just sort of clicked in my head. I began researching
gerontology programs and I said, This is what I want
to do. "
Woods was referred to Mission College, where he met with gerontology
department heads Eloise Cantrell and Sandi Lampert. He was
sold on the program and two years later, he had earned a certificate
in Gerontology. After graduating, Woods went to work as social
services director at a Van Nuys health care center with many
Alzheimers and dementia patients.
"I spent a great deal of time with the families in that
job," he said. "So many of them were devastated
by their parents condition and required a lot of therapy
works closely with Laura Trejo, general manager
of the L.A. City Department of Aging.
six years, Woods retired again. Sort of. Turns out,
hes just as active as ever as the president of the Council
of Aging for the City of Los Angeles and as a Senior Assembly
Member of the California Senior Legislature. Both positions
put him in the role of advocate and unpaid lobbyist for senior
citizens. Woods is also a member of the Mission College Citizens
Oversight Committee for Proposition A / AA and of the colleges
Gerontology program advisory panel.
current economic and health care trends, Woods thinks everyone
who is within a few years of retirement should consider a
second career preferably doing something they love.
A hobby or interest, like art or music, may translate into
a part-time job somewhere, he said. And community college
is ideal for seniors because it does not require four years
of study for certification, he added.
Even more than economics, people on the verge of retirement
should think about the quality of life they may face after
they walk away from their careers, he believes.
"Unless you love golf or fishing, a lot of retirees wind
up as couch potatoes in front of their TVs all day,"
he said. "And that leads to poor health and depression."
His advice to seniors: Be active, help others, stay involved,
and, above all, keep your mind stimulated.
"Im a big believer that if you use it, you wont
BY EDUARDO PARDO