From zip lining to bluegrass 12 Holiday Retirement residents who turn growing older on its head
These days, aging has taken on a whole new meaning for many seniors. They are defying what many see as stereotypical images of this vibrant demographic. They are following the lead of celebrities, such as 95-year-old Betty White, who received a Grammy award in 2012 and still appears in TV shows, or 79-year-old Jane Fonda, who, in 2011, published Prime Time, a book that outlines the keys to living a vital life as you age.
Instead of seeing retirement as a time to sit idly by, many older adults view it as an opportunity to live lifelong dreams. They’re travelling the world, doing meaningful work or participating in lifelong learning. Some seniors are creating art or music, while others are into cycling, skating or bodybuilding well into their 80s, 90s and beyond.
Living large in their senior living community
Many of those active, engaged seniors can be found at retirement communities across the country helping to dispel myths and misconceptions about senior living. In fact, senior living communities provide seniors with a smorgasbord of recreational activities, volunteer opportunities and encouragement to live their life to its full potential.
Every day at Holiday Retirement, seniors are living vibrant lives, expanding their knowledge and skills or taking on physical challenges that many younger folks have yet to try. Just ask Holiday Retirement’s Orchard Park residents Virginia and Bill Nicholson who regularly run marathons.
Facing their fears
There’s also a fair share of adventurers among our residents. Take centenarian Helen Estes, who finally rode a camel on her 101st birthday, inspiring her Polo Park Estates Holiday Retirement community to start a bucket list campaign. Or former Navy pilot Glenn Carlson, from Holiday Retirement’s Harvard Park community, who decided at 91 years young to jump out of an airplane 12,000 feet above the ground with an instructor strapped to his back.
Glenn is not the only resident whose dreams involved being high in the sky. World traveler Linda Groshart from Holiday Retirement’s Point Defiance Village community, crossed parasailing off her bucket list when she was 73, and is now setting her sights on riding the 175-foot Seattle Great (Ferris) Wheel, climbing Mount Rainier and skydiving.
Scratching off another item on her bucket list was also top of mind for 93-year-old Peggy Gruner of Holiday Retirement’s Oakwood Hills community. She recently rounded up three fellow residents to travel with her to the Mall of America in Minnesota—but not for a staid afternoon of shopping. The four ladies rode the zip line across the atrium of the largest mall in the United States. Likewise, 4,000 miles away in Hawaii, Maggie Mikus had the ride of her life while taking advantage of Holiday Retirement's travel program and vacationing at Holiday Retirement’s Hawaii Kai community in Honolulu. “You have to make an effort to stay active and get involved,” said Maggie. “These things don’t land in your lap. You need to be willing to get out there and try.”
Enriching themselves and their communities
Ed Arnold, 75, is following Maggie’s advice and taking charge of his life, although he’s taking the gentler path of creativity rather than adventure. After noticing that some of the benches at his Holiday Retirement community, Point Defiance Village, looked a little worn out, Ed decided to turn them into a work of art. The community’s delighted response encouraged Ed, who originally started painting to take his mind off his back pain, to revamp four more benches.
Music also brings warmth and personality to a senior living community, and sometimes the musicians who play at communities live there as well. Take violinist and fiddler Bill Williams from Holiday Retirement’s Willow Grove community. Bill entertains Willow Grove residents with bluegrass when not tending his bee farm. And lest we not forget another esteemed Holiday Retirement musician, Phil Klein from Holiday Retirement’s Maple Downs. “Central New York’s Premier Piano Man” released his sixth CD, this one of Celtic music, at age 84. And Ralph, 99, a resident at Holiday Retirement’s Iris Place holds his head high as the oldest member of the University of Georgia Redcoat Marching Band. He continues to dazzle his fellow residents and the Atlanta community with his coronet and trumpet skills.
Writers also abound at Holiday Retirement, so much so that we created a book, Bedtime Stories: Original Tales Shared From One Generation to the Next, that features the tales from five of our residents. Not only do our residents use bedtime stories to connect with younger generations, but in this digital age, some of them use social networking too, including
the Maple Suites’ resident tech wizard, 84-year-old Skip Biron. He is one senior who views FaceTime and other new smartphone technology as a chance to learn more and share what he’s learned with other residents.
Keeping up-to-date with technology, exploring passions, learning new skills and keeping physically active can all give new meaning to life. Discover what other myths and misconceptions our Holiday Retirement residents dispel with their activities in the Resident Spotlight.