For some seniors, age marks not the passage of time, but a means to challenge the mind and body. The odds of living to age 90 tripled in the past three decades, with nearly two million Americans reaching that age in 2010. For some amazing seniors, reaching that milestone isn’t about sitting in the proverbial front porch rocker. Instead, they move forward every day, creating a healthy example for anyone who thinks running the next mile, volunteering or even touching their toes is an improbable goal.
Five amazing seniors striving for greatness
To bend like a willow
Tao Porchon-Lynch of Puducherry, India is tiny, slender, gracious, well-spoken — and still bends and twists with the agility and grace of a teenage ballet dancer. The 100-year-old yoga master, who began studying yoga at age eight in 1926, is an international superstar, appearing on television shows, YouTube and her own website. This amazing seniors still teaches several classes every week in New York, appears at yoga retreats and workshops, has authored two books and practices ballroom dancing when not involved with yoga. Her mantra: “There is nothing you cannot do.”
One way across America, and back again
Ernie Andrus’ jog into the record books as the oldest man to cross America on foot was three years in the making. The 90-year-old WWII veteran started in San Diego and finished at St. Simon’s Island, GA on August 20, 2016 when he was 93 years old. Still working out three days a week, he needed a new challenge. He decided to do his previous crossing in reverse. Beginning the trek March 16, 2019 and walking west to San Diego, with plans to finish by his 100th birthday. Both crossings were fundraisers. The first raised money to send a WWII ship to the Normandy invasion D-Day 75th anniversary observance. The second is for the preservation of the one remaining Landing Ship Tank (LST), located in Evansville, Indiana. Andrus served on a similar ship during the war.
Smiles in a sad place
Charles Carroll came to Delray Beach (FL) Medical Center as a heart attack patient, and while he got better, he never really left. At age 105, the WWII veteran is the oldest-serving volunteer in the facility. He spends his time greeting patients and visitors, delivering wheelchairs and flowers, assisting with emails, paperwork and providing directions and comfort.. He says his active lifestyle and supportive family keep him going. The fact that people need kindness every day keeps him coming back to the hospital, where he’s logged over 3,000 volunteer hours since 2007.
A flair for daring the air
Eighty-five-year-old Betty Goedhart has a spot in the Guinness World Records 2019 as the world’s oldest trapeze artist. Her flying arrival might not be a surprise, considering her previous athletic pursuits: polo, rock climbing, ice-skating and horseback riding. She was a professional skater for many years, and tried trapeze when a friend gave her the gift of lessons. The amazing senior started working with a coach at age 78 and now performs regularly in California’s Trapeze High’s public shows. Her favorite saying about life? ‘Isn’t it fun to do the impossible?”
Forget the years, just keep adding the miles
Wisconsin runner Roddie Larsen’s most recent race result is the 5K Iola Trail Run, completed in just over 54 minutes. The 82-year-old has logged more miles in her retirement years than many runners do in a lifetime of pavement pounding. A quarter-century of running has including a variety of distances, including half and full marathons and ultramarathons. Her vast collection of awards and medals only hints at what running has really given her: a sense of community and social connection, along with the competitive spirit she hopes will keep her going into her nineties.
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