Life-long veterinarian, Jean Meade, has always loved helping animals. In fact, she knew she would pursue veterinary medicine since she was five years old. With a passion for purpose that has grown throughout her life, Jean had another dream – to create an intergenerational community where kids, adults and animals help heal one another. In order to follow her dream, she decided to go back to medical school – in her late 50s! “I was the oldest person, to my knowledge, that's ever been admitted to the medical school at West Virginia University, and I guess it was a bit of a challenge to decide to do it. But once I had made that decision and gained admission, it was probably a lot easier than any of the other degree programs that I've gone through,” says Jean. Jean continues to pursue the life she imagined. What dreams lie ahead for you? Tap into your own purpose with Life Reimagined, a Leadercast partner! Life Reimagined is offering the Leadercast community a special offer: receive a two-week FREE trial, which includes 30 minutes of live, online coaching! Click here to learn more! https://lifereimagined.aarp.org/leadercast During your free two-week trial, you will: Create a personalized action plan based on your goals Check in with our expert chat guides for motivation Receive 30 minutes of personalized 1 on 1 coaching Gain valuable insights from programs and articles handpicked for you Whether you are searching for your true purpose, changing careers, starting or growing a business, or simply looking to create the next path of your life's roadmap, the goal of Life Reimagined is to help individuals define their own success and help them get there, one step at a time. Learn more today! https://lifereimagined.aarp.org/leadercast
(Jean speaking as a dog gets range of motion help in a water tank) When you exercise them on the flat, they don't pick their feet up very high, so they're not getting good extension and flexion of the joints. But when you look at them in here, they're getting a better range of motion, and I think that's part of what helps them. Jean (to camera) I like knowing how things work. You know, when I was a kid, I loved to take things apart and see if I could put them back together, and whether they can be altered to work better or differently or for another purpose. And so I think that what motivates me with science is the incredible complexity of life and trying to understand that, and I think what drives me towards medicine is trying to find ways to intervene, you know, to improve life. Veterinary medicine was my first love and my first passion. I probably was saying I wanted to be a veterinarian by the time I was 5 or 6. My dad did a lot of the veterinary work for his farm and for surrounding farms, so it was something I was exposed to throughout my entire life. I just think that there is a bond that you form with an animal, you know. It's unconditional. They're always there for you. They never question, you know, what you're doing or why you're doing it. I truly do say that I'm a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to science and medicine, and a master of none, but I have a breadth of understanding that bridges the different disciplines. When I am faced with something that someone might consider a challenge, I jump all the way to the end and I look at what the outcome, what I want the outcome to be, and then, to me, it's a very clear path of what you have to do to get there. I was the oldest person, to my knowledge, that's ever been admitted to the medical school here, at West Virginia University, and I guess it was a bit of a challenge to decide to do it. But once I had made that decision and gained admission, it was probably a lot easier than any of the other degree programs that I've gone through. I did it because I needed the degree to be able to meet the next challenge that I saw in front of me. I'm an adult for the first time in my life. I didn't get to be an adult until I hit 60, and it does change your perspective a little bit. In more recent years, I really do feel purpose-driven, that there is something that I'm supposed to accomplish. Mentors have been very important in my life, with my father being my first. And I think that connection to him is what drives my need to be with older people, you know, the wisdom that they have, the ability that they have to share that. The Jasmine Project is an attempt at an intergenerational assisted living community that focuses primarily on elders. The project just brings every piece of my education together, from my PhD in zoology and the experience in human medicine and veterinary medicine, and it ties it all together to one mutual purpose. I want to create a demonstration project. I want to create an environment that I hope will be adopted by other universities throughout the country. Man: So what we're doing right now is we're exercising his wings. Boy: But can he still fly? Man: What do you think? Girl: Yeah. Jean: Bringing the animals in to provide the emotional support for people, people providing the care for the animals, and coming back to nature, and coming back to the land, and improving quality of life and health by healthier lifestyles. I have been so blessed, and I've had such opportunity and been so supported that I just want other people to have some part of that. I believe that there is a purpose that's meant for me, and I can either choose to take it or choose to leave it behind, and I think I'm doing what I was meant to do.