Between the shelves at Hacienda at the Canyon, Esther Blumenfeld is usually stacking books. And one of the first books that she checks on is a a bright green book with orange writing. It’s one of many books that she’s written during her career as an author, journalist and playwright.

“I always loved writing,” she said. “When I went to college, I wanted to write humor on television but there weren’t any women doing that.”

When she retired, the writing didn’t stop. She has a blog and continues to write.

“I was a deadline writer,” she said. “I had deadlines for my books, for my classes but when you get older, things are different.”

So when she moved to Hacienda at the Canyon, she knew it was time to keep up with her writing and keep exercising her brain.

“And living here, not only do you have to remember their names, but if you want to endear yourself to them, you have to remember their pets’ names,” she said.

So Blumenfeld attended the Brain Cafe, one of the programs at Hacienda at the Canyon. It’s an eight week class that teaches memory sharpening techniques that come from the University of California, Los Angeles Longevity Center and the Watermark Retirement Communities. During the class, they use mnemonic devices and practice memorizing lists of words. They work on matching names to photos of people.

“They work on looking at 12 unassociated words, staring at them for two minutes,” Missy Paschke-Wood, the associate executive director of Hacienda at the Canyon, said. “Then, they move on with the class and 20 minutes later, turn over the paper and see how many they remember.”

While right now this program is only offered at Hacienda at the Canyon, they’re hoping to grow.

“If people are curious about it, they can reach out to us at Hacienda at the Canyon,” Paschke-Wood said.