It’s Never too Late to…

Recently, we saw a story on AARP about Ernestine Shepherd, who holds the title of the world’s oldest female bodybuilder. Pretty amazing, right? Ernestine is currently 74, and she didn’t start bodybuilding until she was in her 50’s!

Those who think that you can only reach huge life accomplishments before retirement are very wrong! Retirees can absolutely set big goals and achieve them with hard work, just as they always have.  If you need some motivation for doing BIG things during your retirement, here are a few of our favorite success stories to show you it’s never too late to…


Publish a Book

You’ve heard of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Little House on the Prairie” books, but did you know that Laura didn’t begin writing them until 1931, when she was 64 years old? Laura was a previous editor of the St. Louis Star, and her daughter had encouraged her to share her life story through the young adult novels. She wrote them all by 1943, when she was 76! Talk about a late bloomer.



Olive Riley shared her thoughts and ideas on a blog until she passed away in 2008 – at 108 years old. Olive started blogging in 2007, and at the time of her death, she had posted more than 70 entries about her life. The Australian woman’s tales included stories of both World War I and World War II, growing up without today’s luxuries and technologies, and raising three children on her own. What kind of story do YOU have to tell the world?


Start a Company 

After a lengthy and successful career in marketing, Cinde Dolphin started her own company at 55 to help winemakers in California promote their businesses online.

According to the New York Times, “More than five million Americans age 55 or older run their own businesses or are otherwise self-employed, according to the Small Business Administration.And the number of self-employed people ages 55 to 64 is soaring, the agency says, climbing 52 percent from 2000 to 2007.”

Is there a business you’ve always had the dream of starting, but didn’t have the time? The time could be now!


Graduate from College

Kansas resident Nola Ochs graduated from Fort Hays State University in 2007 with a bachelor’s in General Studies and concentration in history. She was 95 years old. While a 96-year-old man broke her record in 2009, Nola’s accomplishment is tremendous. And she didn’t stop there. She received her master’s degree in 2010.

According to the FHSU website, Nola said, “I’m very gratified to have attained that distinction. I would like, in the long run, to encourage people to keep on learning. Our education is never complete.”


Learn a New Skill

While she didn’t learn to cook after 50, Julia Child DID put off finding her skill until she was in her mid-30’s. In fact, Julia said, “I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate.” Her show “The French Chef” didn’t premiere until she was 51.

We wrote a previous post about hobbies you might consider starting during your retirement. Just because you didn’t master something as a young adult, that doesn’t mean that you can’t be a pro at it soon!


There is a reason why these are called the “golden years.” Now get out there and shine!

Add Some Play to Your Day and Beat the Winter Blues!

While winter is a time that many spend with friends and family, it can also get you down. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, more than 6.5 million Americans suffer from depression, and many Americans of all ages feel particularly glum in the winter due to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

SAD is a type of depression that hits during one particular season. Lesser versions of SAD are referred to as the “Winter Blues.” Women and people who live in areas with infrequent or weak sun are more likely to suffer from SAD, according to the National Institutes of Health. Luckily, your chances of having SAD reduce as you age, but that doesn’t mean that everyone can always feel the happiness of the holiday season.

So how can you fight off seasonal sadness? By incorporating a little bit of play into your every day! Here are a few ideas to help you beat the blues:

  • Cook dinner with your family or spouse instead of cooking solo. If you want to add an extra element of fun, have a themed dinner night once a week. From a French twist to a meal honoring your favorite movie, the planning and implementation of the meal can be fun for everyone!
  • Take a day trip! There are plenty of things to do in and around Pittsburgh, and we will even provide the transportation. Our buses take residents to cultural events downtown and regularly go to local malls, grocery stores, hospitals and doctor’s offices.
  • Spend the day with a child. They may take a lot of your energy, but spending time with grandchildren or family friends can remind you what it’s like to see the world from a child’s eyes. Take some time to enjoy coloring books and puzzles to bring out your inner kid!
  • Also playful are animals! Visit a nearby animal shelter and spend some time playing with the animals. It will give you the fun of spending a day with man’s best friend, without all of the responsibility!
  • Add a special ritual to your day or week. Do you LOVE spending time enjoying your morning cup of coffee? Make it even better by trying out new flavors or by finding a coffee shop drink that you can go out and enjoy once a week. If you love a particular TV show, start hosting screening parties at your home for friends. Whatever makes you happy, be sure to do more of it!
  • Smile! Studies have shown that even forcing a smile can actually relieve stress.

You don’t have to be somber this season, especially if you’re a Sherwood Oaks Retirement Community resident. Residents always have the option to take part in activities like chorus, handbells, line dancing, ceramics, painting, sewing, book club, bridge, and board games, and we also have scheduled activities such as fitness classes, resident parties, special speakers and musical performances.

Please note that if you do feel that you are suffering from depression, speak with a member of our medical staff.

You’re never too old to add some fun play into your day, so start having more fun now!