Health & Wellness Article - May 2011
by Marge Coalman, EdD, Touchmark Vice President, Wellness & Programs
“How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?” —Satchel Paige 1971 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee
When we consider celebrations, many memory-making moments come to mind: weddings, births, graduations, family reunions, holidays, a child’s first steps, and many others. These landmark life events are often captured in photos and videotapes to be revisited and celebrated. They are shared across generations and are historically significant for each individual who shares in the memory of the event.
Personal landmarks are achieved at any age. In the documentary series Over 90 and Loving It, filmmaker Susan Polis Shultz highlights life achievements by people 90-plus years. This series is currently featured on public broadcasting stations, and it is inspiring.
Consider these examples that Polis captures. A 97-year-old woman celebrates obtaining her master’s degree. A couple in their 90s walk down the aisle in a marriage ceremony, and a 94 year-old is a gold-medal winner in the pole vault at the Senior Olympics.
Throughout, the series explores two primary beliefs of the featured nonagenarians: (1) most did not expect to be here this long; (2) they seem to be completely unaware of chronological age being a limiting factor in achieving their goals and pursuing their dreams.
The series also overturns ageism—that insidious belief that at any age, achievements are limited, not appropriate, or possible only in one’s imagination. The pervasiveness of ageism is a cultural phenomenon worldwide and is especially prevalent in the United States. A documentary like this helps to refute those myths and mistaken beliefs.
In this series and other age positive campaigns—the Dove series of ads, the Ontario Human Rights project, the National Center for Creative Aging’s Beautiful Minds photo display—people’s age is irrelevant. It’s what they’re doing that is important.
Touchmark is committed to promoting and encouraging personal experiences for all residents. We provide opportunities for people to explore, celebrate, imagine—and live—the possibilities. There is no age limit.
To learn more about the Full Life Wellness & Life Enrichment Program, contact a Touchmark community and speak with the Full Life program director.