Today’s seniors are climbing peaks, pulling heists, and running marathons in their 70s, 80s and 90s. A retired Indian surgeon, who spends part of his time in Chicago, and part of his time in India, pursued his passion for hiking up to the Mt. Everest Base Camp. A 95-year-old runner took a 14th shot at the New York City Marathon this year, hoping to set a record, and already has his sights set on next year. And a glamorous jewel thief is still bagging baubles and grabbing gems at 85 after six decades on the take. While your loved ones might not be climbing the world’s highest mountain, running marathons, or swindling jewelers, they are still able to pursue their passions and chase their dreams. Caregivers and home care companions can offer support and applaud from the sidelines, but never drive the getaway car.
Harnath Tipirineni, age 76, climbed to the Mount Everest Base Camp last month, a personal coup for amateur climbers at 17598 feet high. A retired surgeon and emergency medicine specialist who splits his time between Chicago and his native India, Tipirineni is an avid hiker who has visited challenging and remote locations like Adi Kailash, the Pindari glacier, Mansarovar and Mount Kailash. The biggest risk he ran during this climb was, ironically, a consequence of his age. The uncertain terrain of the route means that every climber must secure insurance for the climb to cover a medical airlift, and no insurer would give him the coverage he needed because of his ‘advanced years’. Dr. Harnath isn’t just a climber, he’s a role model to everyone else on the trail.
Cool as ice international jewel thief Doris Payne, age 85, has been stealing gems from high-end stores in Europe and America since 1953. The West Virginia native has admitted to stealing big ticket items in Paris, Monaco, Monte Carlo, Charlotte, San Diego and points in between. Now in her 80’s, Doris hasn’t given up her charming, thieving ways, as she was nabbed in Atlanta last month for allegedly stealing a $690 pair of earrings from a Saks 5th Avenue. Doris has served time in California, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Colorado and Wisconsin over the years, and even she doesn’t remember all the places she’s been arrested. But she’s got such style that she stars in her own documentary, “The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne,” directed by filmmaker Matthew Pond. She currently has several outstanding warrants, so time behind bars seems to be in the cards for Doris, despite her waning health. But as she told the Associated Press in 2005, Doris’ life of crime was never about the money. “I’ve had regrets, and I’ve had a good time,” she said.
Jonathan Mendes planned to finish the 2015 New York City Marathon on November 1st before he turned 95 on November 3rd. He’d been training since last year’s marathon, which he didn’t finish due to inclement weather, and he had big plans to finish in about 8 hours, with his trainer by his side. As the race’s oldest entrant, all eyes were on him. This wasn’t his first rodeo, of course, being his 16th lifetime marathon start since taking up running in the 1970s, and the 14th time he limbered up for the New York City Marathon. But this year’s marathon didn’t go the way Mendes planned, for after 16 miles his legs began to bother him, and he took a cab home. When you’re almost 95, you can do that with no regrets. But he’s already to looking at next year’s race, and at his goal of becoming the marathon’s oldest finisher. The current record is age 93, set in 1991, and as long as no one tells his kids, he thinks he has a chance to beat it next year.