Age is just a number. That’s a phrase we’ve all probably heard many times, but it is a good one to live by. While retirement may be a season in life most of us look forward to for many years, the thought of aging can create uncertainty for some. In a culture obsessed with youth, it’s easy to understand why. The stereotypes about seniors often equate this demographic group with illness and sadness, while linking younger people with vitality and beauty.
In reality, older adults are enjoying longer, healthier lives. They are actively engaged in their families and communities and pursuing long-dreamed-of passions. From leading voter registration drives to starting their own podcasts, seniors are thriving after retirement. Research shows that engagement and socialization can improve older adults’ health in a variety of ways ranging from lower rates of depression to a stronger immune system.
If you need a little motivation to make the most of your retirement, these stories will inspire you.
Stories of Seniors Thriving during Retirement
- Rodeo champ keeps riding: Aging doesn’t require you to give up hobbies that mean the most to you. Just ask Allan Johnson. At 80 years old, the rodeo champion is still competing! It’s a sport he took up in 1946 at just 16 years of age.
- Captain Kirk goes to space: Who could forget the sight of actor William Shatner, known for his role as Captain Kirk on Star Trek, blasting off to space in a rocket in the fall of 2021. Shatner was 91 years old at the time. He’s since credited that trip with opening his eyes to the threat of climate change.
- Fighting viruses from AIDs to COVID: The Chief Medical Advisor to the President, Dr. Anthony Fauci, has been a warrior in the battles against AIDs, Ebola, COVID-19, and a variety of health problems in between. While the 81-year-old is getting ready to step down from his current role, Dr. Fauci has made it clear his work will continue.
- Running marathons as a senior: Think you need to be on the younger side to run a marathon? Think again. Older adults are signing up for half and full marathons every day. In May of 2022 at the Buffalo Marathon, for example, there were 5 runners age 80 or older.
- Competitive track and field athlete: Another story that will inspire you belongs to Kay Glynn. Even on the coldest of days, the 69-year-old laces up her shoes and heads outdoors to practice long jump, high jump, and pole vault. She’s one of almost 14,000 older adults who competes in the Senior Olympics. Read her story and those of other retiree athletes here.
At Sunrise Senior Living communities, our residents continue to redefine aging every day and in really unique ways. One of those special people is our resident Dot at Sunrise of Huntington Common in Maine. She turned 100 this year and is known around her community for being full of energy. She attributes her longevity to vigorous exercise, which she began only about 12 years ago when she was in her late 80s. Dot can most often be found in our gym working out on the stationary bikes or in one of our daily exercise classes showing us all that you can start exercising at any age. The Jefferson in Arlington, VA is home to 107-year-old resident Vera who is known for her amazing style. She can be found socializing all over her community while donning her signature heels. Vera shows us that we can and should continue to develop our personalize styles at every age. And there is Mary Jean at Sunrise of Crystal Lake outside of Chicago who just got back from a trip to Ireland with her daughter to celebrate her 90th birthday. Mary Jean toured historical sites across the country, tried new foods and even sang songs around a piano at an Irish pub well into the night. She’s not done traveling yet and is looking forward to visiting the Canadian Rockies next year.
Whether it is traveling the world, exercising, or continuing to wear your favorite shoes, Sunrise team members are dedicated to helping our residents live the lives their want and deserve. From art workshops to fitness programs and community outings, Sunrise residents benefit from a rich array of daily activities to participate in every day. It creates a sense of purpose that promotes healthy aging. The best way to learn more is by scheduling an in-person visit to a Sunrise community near you. Call 800-934-0139 to set up a time today!