Every day seniors are proving that age is just a number, even if the number is three digits long. This week we bring you the story of three seniors around the country and the world who are finding that work sustains them in surprising ways. A famous New York pianist, who started playing when he was just 8 years old, still has two gigs and plays every night for the stars. At 103, another go-getter works five days a week at Walmart and holds his own with co-workers one-quarter his age! And finally, we have a cautionary tale of a Australian man who stumbled into a second career that may prove unhappy for him, but which shows that you’re always the right age to be a part of someone else’s enterprise. Seniors don’t have to be centenarians or famous to keep doing what they enjoy, because staying active and engaged at any age is possible, with the help of a homecare companion or a caregiver.
How many centenarians have one job, let alone two? Meet Irving Fields, New York City’s oldest working musician, who celebrated his ‘first’ 100 years in August. Now a world-class pianist, Irving started performing in 1922, starting out on cruise ships and moving up to swanky joints like the Taj Mahal, the Copacabana, and the Mermaid Room. In the 80s, you could catch him in the Plaza Hotel’s Oak Room. After nearly 100 albums, he plays at Nino’s Tuscany Italian Steakhouse on 58th Street nightly, walking the two minutes from his apartment where celebrities catch his show. As a New York luminary, he naturally received homage from others such as Mayor Bill de Blasio and current presidential candidate ‘The’ Donald Trump. Irving is married, with two children and two grandchildren, and no plans to retire. He swears by ice cream sundaes and martinis, and his best advice is to do what you love, because if you love it, you’ll be happy.
Loren Wade is definitely America’s oldest Walmart employee, and may be the oldest employee in America. At age 103, he still works five days a week for his hometown Walmart in Winfield, KS, and has no plans to retire. Loren tried that in his 60s, but after serving in the Air Force during WWII, and then working for the post office for decades, he just didn’t like the downtime. Loren works as a greeter and a cashier, and his store threw him a big party in July to celebrate his birthday, and his 33 years of service at Walmart. Loren enjoyed the party, and he appreciates the compliments, but he’s really just a people person at heart. He likes keeping busy, having something to do, and being around people. You can watch The Today Show’s story on Loren on YouTube: https://youtu.be/sWjT7jOAr6k.
And on the note of ‘don’t believe everything people tell you, especially people in airports whom you met online,” Victor Twartz of Sydney Australia may be the oldest drug trafficker in the world, if inadvertently. Hardly the wizened desperado the headlines evoked, Victor appeared at his court date in a three-piece tweed suit and hat to explain that he went on vacation to Delhi in July to visit friends he’d made online. They asked him to bring a bag of gifts home to Australia for a friend of theirs, which contained a lot of cocaine masquerading as soap. Victor discovered the deception when he was stopped upon arrival at the airport so the police could search his luggage. Unfortunately, ignorance is not a defense when it comes to drugs, since you are quite reasonably expected to know what you bring aboard an airplane in your luggage. Victor, a retired oral surgeon now out on bail, didn’t intentionally take up a second career as a drug smuggler, and no doubt hopes someone else will claim the dubious title in his place.