Thumbs up to University of Lynchburg students for the work they’re doing with local senior citizens to improve their quality of life here in Central Virginia.

The students, all of whom are enrolled in Lynchburg’s Master of Public Health program, are part of a growing trend in health care to address the special needs of people as we all are living longer than in the past.

Students in the first year of the program are working with residents of four local senior citizen communities: Bentley Commons, The Williams Home, Valley View Retirement Community and Clear Brook Apartments. One of the first things they do is develop a needs assessment of each person they’ll be working with to develop strategies to help them get the most out of the program.

Yes, it’s part of the students’ required coursework, but it’s also a way to give back to the community, school officials say. At each home, the UL students work with the activity directors to develop programs that enhance, not duplicate, anything that may already be taking place with the residents.

The biggest need the students have learned their seniors face? Socialization. Though they may live in large communities filled with many people, oftentimes they only know the names of a handful of fellow residents, if at all.

The U.S. population is aging at a rather fast clip. Here in Lynchburg, 14 percent of residents are classified as “seniors.” That’s quite a bit, and their health care needs are different than other demographic groups. With UL helping train the health care professionals of tomorrow, Central Virginia, we hope, has a head start on taking care of our senior citizens today — and in the future.

Good job, folks.

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Thumbs up to the new owners of The Glass House in historic downtown Lynchburg, one of the most unique music and entertainment venues in a city filled with such sites.

Dave Henderson, the co-owner of The Water Dog restaurant on Jefferson Street, and several partners bought the glass-and-metal building literally across the street from them earlier this year. “The Glass House for so long has sort of been this diamond in the rough,” Henderson told The News & Advance. “When the opportunity came along to purchase it, we didn’t hesitate at all.”

Since taking ownership, Henderson and his partners have put about $150,000 into refurbishing and improving the venue: a new stage, bar, fire pits and garage doors opening onto a 2,000-square-foot patio.

The Glass House (www.TheGlassHouseLYH.com) has a devoted following of supporters who enjoy a wide variety of musical events. Between the Academy of Music theater, the soon-to-be-renovated City Auditorium and smaller sites such as Dish and White Hart, downtown Lynchburg is quickly developing a reputation for high-quality, unique musical acts. That’s a wonderful thing, for downtown, for the city and for our residents.

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