This week we bring you three stories of seniors who are great role models for tenacity, grace and wonder. A pair of California centenarians who just celebrated their 80th wedding anniversary, La Jolla seniors who are online pros, and a woman who turned her Alzheimer’s diagnosis into a gift for others are all inspiring us this week. Caregivers, home care aides and loved ones can all admire the resolve, generosity and love of learning that these seniors exemplify.
Coronado resident Azelene Allen received her diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s at age 63, and her nursing career helped her understand exactly what she was facing. She was devastated, but undaunted, and when her daughter, also a nurse, suggested she find a clinical trial to participate in, she did. The trial’s doctor recommended a healthy diet and exercise, and unlike the majority of patients who receive this advice, Azelene didn’t ignore it. She started counting her daily steps, and in 2016, she lead the top-fundraising team at San Diego’s Walk For Life. This year, Azelene’s team raised even more money, and they were anointed the Grand Champions of the Walk. As of Monday, Team Gaga Azey raised $4,833, and if you’d like to support Azelene in her quest for a cure, it’s not too late to donate here.
The cliché of the senior who is technologically challenged and unable to connect with the online world is fading fast. When the Internet Revolution sparked off 25 years ago, in the early 1980’s, today’s seniors were in their forties and fifties – more than young enough to adapt to and adopt the new technology as it evolved. In La Jolla at Casa De Manana, the octogenarians and septuagenarians are not just taking weekly computer classes, but have multiple devices of their own. These digital mavens are using phones, laptops, tablets and iPads to follow their children on Instagram, Facetime with their grandchildren, write books, and stay informed about the world. Whether Skyping with far-flung family across the country, learning an instrument on YouTube, or using Alexa to play music and movies, these seniors are as connected as they want to be.
Oroville centenarians Edith and Orville Bowles, both 100, celebrated their birthdays this year with much fanfare. And last month, they observed another major milestone: their 80th wedding anniversary. Originally from Oklahoma, the couple met as teenagers, but only married at age 20, at Edith’s insistence. Over the course of their many years of marriage, they’ve lived in Washington and several places in northern California, working, ranching and fishing together. Their secret? Orville relies on the classic ‘we never go to bed mad at each other’, while confirming that they both know marriage is 50-50. Edith simply says they love each other and there’s no question that she and Orville are the experts!