St. Louisans have always been resilient, persevering through difficult periods and learning lessons to help them cope. Keeping mentally and physically occupied is one of the best ways to stay on top of challenging times, and who would know that better than our seniors? T&S asked retirement community residents for simple wisdom about remaining positive.
Ollie Ward, a resident at Allegro Senior Living in Richmond Heights, says a constructive attitude and activities that stimulate her mind are the best tools for weathering tough times. “I love doing anything that makes you think,” she notes. “I’m an avid reader, and I devour the newspaper from cover to cover every day to learn about current events. Crossword puzzles and playing along with TV game shows are helpful as well.”
Music and day trips also help Ward keep a positive mindset. “I always look forward to riding around St. Louis neighborhoods or visiting places like the aquarium or the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows,” she says. “Another favorite event is the sidewalk entertainment that comes to our building on Fridays. My neighbors and I enjoy relaxing on our balconies and listening to the guitar or keyboard music.”
Ward says she has not allowed the COVID-19 restrictions to affect her outlook. “We’re all wearing our face masks whenever we need to,” she says. “I don’t see it as a problem. It’s just something we’ve got to do.”
For Ken Alexander and Jerry Calcaterra, residents at The Gatesworth in Ladue, online services and technologies have made life easier during the pandemic. “The best thing we’ve discovered is online grocery shopping,” Calcaterra says. “I love ordering what I need without having to get in the car. I’m not sure I will ever go to a supermarket again!” He also has been taking advantage of telehealth visits and appreciates those services immensely. “Some people think the technology sounds daunting, but it’s actually very convenient,” he notes.
Alexander says while at home, he’s learned to absorb life’s little details more completely. “There are hummingbirds at feeders outside the window, and they have helped me focus on nature,” he explains. “I discovered a real interest in learning about them.” He says the pandemic also has taught him a lot about resilience. “I used to expend a lot of energy ‘catastrophizing’ about what might happen in the future,” he notes. “But as the years went by, I discovered I was always wrong. There’s no sense wasting time and energy on worry. You have to live in the moment and enjoy it.”
Pictured at top: Ollie Ward; Ken Alexander and Jerry Calcaterra