Amazing accomplishments do not discriminate by age! Older adults across the globe are showing off their skills and setting amazing records. These older adults demonstrate perseverance and serve as an example to all that it is never too late to accomplish your goals.
1. After deciding that she wanted a little adventure in her life, Barbara Hillary became the first black woman to reach both the north and south poles at age 79. Hillary was a two-time cancer survivor and had lost 25 percent of her breathing capacity from surgery for lung cancer. Despite this obstacle, she started training and raised $25,000 to fund her expedition. On April 23, 2007, and set the record for being the first black woman to set foot on the North Pole. Four years later, on Jan. 6, 2011, she stood at the South Pole. In 2020, Barbara Hillary was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
2. Betty Goedhart loves going to the circus as a child and was captivated by the trapeze artists. But, it wouldn’t be until the age of 78 that she decided to try it for herself. At age 85 she was named the world’s oldest trapeze artist and even travels the country performing with her team four or five times a year.
3. At 90 years old Lew Hollander is still a practicing physicist and triathlete. At the age of 84, Hollander became the oldest person in the world to finish an Ironman distance race. Two years before that, he became the oldest person to finish the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii.
4. Leonid Hurwicz was 90 years old when he was awarded the 2007 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his seminal work on mechanism design. Though many Nobel Prize winners are awarded later in life, Hurwicz was still actively publishing at 90.
5. Would you believe that the oldest water skier in the world is 94? Bob Hutcheson has been enjoying the sport since 1949 when he was 23 years old. Since water skis and ropes were not easily available back then he said that he made his own skis and ropes. Hutcheson says that "it is fun to show grandchildren and others that you can still do stuff no matter how old you are."
6. Back in 2016, Bo Gilbert became the first 100-year-old model to be featured in Vogue. She was chosen by department store Harvey Nichols for a special campaign to celebrate the magazine's 100th anniversary. Gilbert has always loved dressing up and wearing nice things. She was known in her local community for being fashionable, but it wasn’t until she was 100 that she earned the model title.
7. During the COVID-19 lockdown in the UK, Captain Sir Thomas Moore set out to raise £1,000 for the NHS by his 100th birthday by walking one hundred lengths of his garden. On the morning of his 100th birthday, he had raised over £30 million. The World War Two veteran said he never expected to get anywhere near that sort of money. In addition to raising the funds, he topped the UK music charts making him the oldest person to ever achieve UK number one when he covered the song "You'll Never Walk Alone". Moore is incredibly inspiring for people of all ages!
8. On her 100th birthday, Bertha Wood had her first book published making her the oldest author to have her first book published. Fresh Air and Fun: The Story of a Blackpool Holiday Camp is a memoir of her time running a holiday camp with her husband which she began writing at the age of 90. Wood proves that it is never too late to be published!
9. Skydiving is on many people’s bucket list just as it was for Fred Mack. In fact, he checked it off at the age of 95! He promised friends and family that he would be back for a second time if he made it to 100 years old. The former pilot set the world record on his 100th birthday for being the oldest tandem skydiving jumper.
10. Norman Lloyd celebrated his 106th birthday on November 8, 2020. He began performing at the age of nine and continues to act today making him the oldest living actor in the world. Lloyd’s career spans almost 100 years during which he has worked with some of the best including Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and Martin Scorsese.
These older adults are living proof that age is just a number. We hope their stories inspire you to achieve your goals no matter your age. At Welbi, we advocate against ageism and believe that older adults deserve to have fulfilling life experiences. That is why we created the Welbi platform. It ensures that older adults in senior living communities are engaging in activities and social events that they enjoy, keeping them healthy and happy!
Wendy studies English Language and Literature at the University of Ottawa, where she has won numerous awards for her writing.
Katie is a member of Welbi’s Customer Experience team! She has a background in communications and recreation and is passionate about older adults, exercise, coffee and people.
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