top of page
  • Shawntay Lewis

Super Ager Earns Lifelong Learner Award

Detroiter Carole Green, at age 82, graduated from Wayne State University in December 2022. She received her bachelor's degree in public affairs after a break in coursework of more than a decade - even while caring for a loved one with dementia. Green, who worked in the Wayne County Register of Deeds offices and with the Wayne County Commission for 35 years, was named to the Hannan. 70 over Seventy List. She received her Next Chapter Award in the Lifelong Learning category, having been nominated by the Detroit Area Agency on Aging which provides services for seniors in metro Detroit.

“I enjoy helping people,” Green said. She currently volunteers with the Detroit Police Department’s 11th Precinct. Although she volunteers year-round, she said her favorite time to volunteer is around the holidays, and at Halloween because of the trick-or-treat event.

“I worked over eight hours handing out candy for Halloween, filling up boxes and whatever else I can find for my hands to do,” Green said.

She also noted that the turkey bingo dinner for Thanksgiving gives her even more ways to assist others.

Outside of volunteering, Green is a caregiver for her partner who has Alzheimer’s disease. Green said her need to gain a better understanding of Alzheimer's disease and being a caregiver is what connected her to the Detroit Area Agency on Aging.

“Sometimes you think you might know how to deal with certain things but then they offer a lot more information and although it’s difficult, it makes it a lot easier,” Green said.

Crystal White, a caregiver support coordinator at Detroit Area Agency on Aging, said Green has attended caregiver classes for three years and that she was a great student when it came to the specialty classes on Alzheimer’s.

“She was actively engaged. She jumped right in and she started taking the classes because she was really trying to help her partner,” White said.

“She perseveres through all that she is as a caregiver,” Laura Riddick, another Caregiver Support Coordinator, said.

White said she got to know Green and was astounded and impressed by her eagerness to be an effective caregiver.

“She’s determined,” White said. “When we saw the opportunity to nominate her for the 70 over Seventy Award that the Hannan Center hosted, we absolutely did.” Green said she didn’t know she was receiving an award until her name was announced at the ceremony. She said people are her passion, “I love the community, I love people and I love talking to people.”

She said she learned how to be an effective caregiver and decided to finish her education, which she had started at Wayne County Community College and Wayne in the 1980s. Green said after she returned to Wayne State University to finish her degree in 2022, she was on campus four days a week and her course load was full. She said she learned how to balance it all.

“You know I had a lot of homework. Some things didn’t get done in a timely fashion but I made it. I got good grades out of both of my classes,” Green said. “I didn’t take classes at the Detroit Area Agency on Aging during the time I was in school. I couldn’t do that because I still had to see my care receiver.”

Hannan Center wrote of Green that, “She regularly takes online classes, then uses technology to learn about resources that will help her, her family and community.”

White said she realized early on that education was a life-long goal for Green.

“Even though the challenge was there of being his caregiver, this was something she wanted to do and she made up her mind. She wanted to finish her hours and get her degree,” White said.

“I think a lot about her determination and tenacity to manage all of that and to finish her degree, on top of caregiving and her own personal life,” White said. “She’s a shining example of what it means to age gracefully and masterfully.”

Shawntay Lewis is a junior in Wayne State University’s Journalism Institute for Media Diversity.

15 views0 comments


bottom of page