National Senior Citizens Day recognizes and acknowledges the contributions of older people to society — that’s why GetSetUp is recognizing exceptional seniors in our community.
Share your stories of seniors who have contributed to society — be that yourself, friends, family, or anyone that has inspired you through their actions by submitting them to our blog by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Need great ways to celebrate senior citizens day? Check out our 6 Great Ways to Celebrate Senior Citizens Day. No matter how you choose to celebrate the senior citizens in your life make sure they know their value and importance on this special day made just for them!
Our community is full of amazing older adults achieving amazing things. Here is just a taste of a few of our featured seniors this week.
Sam Haywood, a long-time resident of Michigan, has been a teacher his whole life with both adults and kids. He has worked with youth of all ages in programs ranging from basketball and football to chaperoning trips to Lake Michigan. He’s even been a boxing coach for one of the golden glove champions who qualified to go to the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 and another who fought in the PanAm Games in Puerto Rico.
He retired in 2007 and later suffered a stroke in 2011. Going from being an active athlete to having limited mobility and relearning isn’t easy for anyone, but he made changes and succeeded! Sam managed to turn around his negative thinking. Instead of focusing on what he couldn’t do, a friend encouraged him to get out there and do things and focus on what he can still do.
“One of the main things I told the doctor was I had a stroke but the stroke ain’t got me!”
Sam learned that learning a language is good for stroke recovery, so he took up Spanish. He did so well they asked him to take over at his local senior center as the teacher. Now he also helps others practice Spanish in an interest group on GetSetUp.
“My motto in life is the more I learn the better I teach. The more I teach the better I learn. To me, everything is a cycle. Teachers learn from students and no matter how long you have been a teacher or how young the student is you can always learn from them!”
Martha sees GetSetUp as a whole new world for those suddenly solo. Widowed twice in a four-year period of time, Martha stayed busy the first time with conference planning, medical education, and a jewelry-making business. While it was shocking and hard, she had a lot of other activities that kept her going. A few years later, Martha had the good fortune to meet another wonderful man. She retired then to spend time with him. They got married but sadly just 2.5 years later he suddenly passed. It took her some time before she felt she could get it together again despite the support of her daughter and grandchildren. She took the first step by picking up a newspaper and looking for a part-time job that helped to get her out the door.
“I still couldn’t focus though until I took a class by a woman on grief counseling and transforming your life. The class made me realize every day is precious. We are in control of our own destiny, whether we choose to do nothing or make the most out of it. We never get today back and we aren’t promised tomorrow. I learned to live in the moment instead of rushing forward or hurting by living in the past.”
Martha since has put her efforts into coaching others facing aging issues and who may have lost a loved one through her coaching business Grow In Relationships.
Dick is sharing his love of volunteering with his local community and globally through GetSetUp. While the Hewitt family can usually be found in the great outdoors, Dick Hewitt and his wife, Patt Hewitt, are self-proclaimed GetSetUp junkies. They can't seem to get enough of the great learning and socialization opportunities on GetSetUp.
“GetSetUp is a young and new organization and what a wonderful organization. From classes to social interaction - wow it has just such a repertoire! We were able to take classes from an Australian Guide. Can you imagine I’m taking a class today at night here being taught tomorrow morning there!”
Dick is no stranger to community participation and service. As a 60 year veteran of Boy Scouts of America, he’s on his third generation of leading Scouts toward becoming Eagle Scouts. He also works as a Volunteer for the American Diabetes Association and is the Diabetic Advocate Chairman. Now he teaches an interest group on GetSetUp on Dealing with Diabetes. Then, baseball season finds him helping the Detroit Tigers Fantasy Camp program. He works with his local congregation, the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, and the Portage (MI) Senior Center to assist older adults who are hesitant to use technology.
Sharon is taking the next step in retirement to rewire and follow her dreams. Sharon had recently retired and was looking for answers when she found Jeri Sedlar’s Don't Retire, Rewire. After following the books ideas Sharon was able to see her
“Retirement is another stage of life, one must prepare to continue to be satisfied and happy in. That may be as a volunteer, a consultant, an entrepreneur, a paid position, or just pursuing hobbies. Get ready for your reawakening!”
For Sharon, her soul searching through her study of this book brought her a lot of fun and exciting new opportunities. While Sharon has enjoyed some of her past experience, she was looking to do something she would enjoy more. While she considered working with dogs, she ultimately decided to pursue her voice. She has often been complimented on it in presentations and elsewhere. Now she’s looking into opportunities for voice-over work and other voice work and taking up new opportunities in these areas.
After retiring from a career as an IT project manager, Edwin Smith needed something to do with his newfound time. While researching his options, it became clear to him that nearly all the retirement info he found online all dealt with the financial issues of a post-career life so he began researching the non-financial retirement issues, namely the biological, sociological and psychological aspects of life. He decided to pivot and picked up several certifications as a life coach. He now specializes in helping people deal with the non-financial aspects of retirement.
According to Edwin happiness is not an emotion, and it is not a destination, rather it is a state of being and means different things to different people. Positive psychology researchers generally define happiness as “subjective well-being.” The keys to happiness come from both internal and external sources. Key to these are three main principles gratitude, connecting with others, and know yourself.
“One of the key things for happiness and longevity is having connections with people. The need to belong is one of the strongest needs we have as human beings. That’s why Facebook and Twitter are so popular. Everyone has the need to belong. GetSetUp is a simple way to take classes at little to no cost and interact with people you wouldn't otherwise interact with and I'm certain new friendships have formed by some of the learners. Those connections are the most important thing.”
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While we spent just a week in recognition of awesome seniors we have many more great stories of older adults doing amazing things. Be sure to read more!
“GetSetUp is really breaking down the stereotype of what it means to be an old person. . . ."
“Now I'm learning everything I wish I knew in my thirties!” said Jane.
“I can honestly say if I went to an interview and they asked me certain questions, now I’m familiar with those tools and I wasn’t before GetSetUp classes.”