Most inspirational older adults
5th September 2017
This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.
Perceptions surrounding older age are changing and as some people fully embrace their retirement, they are also breaking records and proving to the world that age is just a number. These individuals have not only succeeded but prospered in their fields in their later years, receiving not only respect in that area but often media coverage.
These older adults not only triumphing against their peers but against their younger competitors, breaking down barriers. Though some older adults may be hampered by limited mobility and reliant on facilities like disabled bathrooms in the home, there are inspirational thinkers and creatives that have continued their passion past retirement.
Bernice Bates – Yoga
Bernice Bates was entered into the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest Yogi. With the flexibility of a woman much younger, at 91, Bernice had been teaching for fifty odd years and encouraged others, especially older adults to stretch and take up yoga.
Jennifer Williams–Fields from Yoga U Online teaches a senior yoga class and admits it is her favourite class that requires but a few modifications:
“Although I was at first nervous to teach this population, I quickly realized that this group is the most grateful, fun and gratifying class I will ever teach. My seniors thank me for giving my time to them. But they don’t realise how much more they have given me. I’m happy to report Miss Louise not only got herself up from the floor after she fell, she was back in class the very next week and encouraging her friends to try yoga.“
Flo Meiler – Track
Flo Meiler has always had an interest in sports, competing as a tennis player in the senior Olympics, she soon found her calling on the track. As a great grandmother, her training schedule could be seen as extreme but she shows no sign of slowing down and has broken records and received medals for her age group in the discus, 60-metre hurdles and the hammer throw among other sports.
Fyodor Konyukhov – artist/ explorer
Konyukhov is not only known for his art but also the various and daring stunts he has attempted, which include sailing, rowing, ballooning and dog sledding. In 2016 he became the second person to navigate the world in a balloon and set a new record breaking time. It is also believed that Konyukhouv is to be the only person to have reached the four most extreme points on the planets, these include the top of Mount Everest, the North Pole, the South Pole and the pole of inaccessibility in the Arctic Ocean.
As an artist, he was accepted into the Union of Artists of the USSR in 1983 and at that point, he was one of the youngest members (at age 31) and is the creator of more than 3,000 paintings. To top everything off he is also an ordained priest of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
Young @ Heart Chorus
The Young @ Heart Chorus began in 1982 in an elderly housing project. It has since outgrown its confines and continues to inspire. At the centre of the Young @ Heart ethos is collaboration, merging talent and genre to create a performance that showcases everyone’s skills and abilities. In 1983 they enjoyed their first stage production while in 1996 they enjoyed international fame, performing in Europe, Australia and Canada. In 2006, Walker George Documentary about the group was aired on Channel 4 in the UK and since has won various awards including two Rose d’Or and the LA Film Festival Audience Award. There has also been a CD released of some of their best hits.
Not only does singing have health benefits, improving lung capacity, posture and being stress relieving, it is also a social activity. Singing in a choir involves listening and harmonising with other members, this can only be achieved by being in-tune with other people. It is also thought that singing is a natural anti-depressant, releasing endorphins to improve your mood.
Rylan Holey is a cellist who performs with the London Philharmonic Choir and lists why everyone should try singing with a choir on his blog. His number one reason is making friends:
“I can’t count the amount of new friends I’ve made from the choir. They come from all walks of life, ages and parts of the world. Music breaks down barriers and there’s no better example of that than at a choir.”
Georgina Harwood- Daredevil
Georgina Harwood is a South African Centenarian who celebrated her biggest birthday by jumping out of a plane, this was her third since her 92nd birthday, but that is not where her dare devil exploits end, swimming with sharks was planned for shortly after. Georgina told The Telegraph: “Her motto, she said, is: “Do it now! Whether it’s comfortable or uncomfortable, good or bad, relaxing or challenging – don’t delay.”
Though many may not feel up to skydiving on any birthday, let alone their 100th, there is definitely a lot to be said for straying outside of the comfort zone. Henrik Edberg runs The Positivity Blog and has some great tips on stepping outside of your comfort zone just a little.
Harriet Thompson - Marathons
At 92 Harriet Thompson was the oldest woman to finish a marathon. Harriet was late to take up running, as she didn’t begin until her 70’s. Though much of her success is down to physical fitness, her mental strength is what truly pushed her through these long distance challenges. Harriet was a classically trained pianist, who played in the Carnegie Hall on multiple occasions. By playing piano tunes in her head she is able to push through the physical hardships. Harriet does all this running for charity after losing multiple loved ones to cancer.