Our life courses may be best defined by those sudden moments of inspiration that can come to us almost anywhere. For example, I remember the moment I decided to pursue public relations as my career while I was crossing the street to my car near Blinn College in Brenham, Texas.
I had just heard a terrific presentation in my dual-credit speech course about the power of communication. It reminded me of the way that my grandmother was constantly urging me to go into public relations. On that day, I began connecting the dots of inspiration that had come my way. Now, nearly four years later, I’m working as the newest member of the media public relations team at Forté Group, Inc, an industry leader that works exclusively with senior living clients.
Writing about seniors is a perfect fit for me because I am a lover of stories. And no one can tell a story better than someone who has experienced a long, eventful life along with the historical events that were in it.
My grandparents were amazing in that regard. They were anything but traditional—and never settled for less than full engagement with life. They were always participating in something worthwhile, like rescuing animals or attending continuing education courses at the University of Texas at Austin. In fact, their lives were one inspirational story after another.
Not surprisingly, they were my constant motivation to always live life to the fullest. Therefore, one of the best discoveries since my start at Forté is how the idea of getting the most out of life resonates with all seniors, not just those in my own family.
Part of my orientation to senior living PR was familiarizing myself with some of the company’s past coverage of the residents and their stories. In doing so, I discovered a few that particularly resonated with me.
Take Woody Strobeck, for example. As a young man in 1957, he was inspired to play jazz after meeting Louis Armstrong, and since then the 73-year-old has spent the years playing and teaching music. He has done everything from playing jazz on a Mississippi-style riverboat to directing a high school band to encouraging elementary school children to pick up a trombone or saxophone for the first time. Even today, Strobeck loves sharing his love for music with others and frequently performs at Equinox Terrace in Vermont, where he is quite the rock star.
Another senior who is inspiring is Warren Weinstock, who is sharing his incredible artistic talent with his fellow residents at the senior living community Moldaw Residences in California. As a so-called “art geek,” I love all stories about artists, but this one struck me in particular because of Weinstock’s involvement with the memory care residents at Moldaw. He is helping those with Alzheimer’s reawaken their creative sides and stay engaged with life by teaching them to express themselves with art.
The seniors at Parkway Place in Houston came together this past holiday season to bring Santa Claus to life with a sleighful of presents for a 12-year-old girl who had been recently diagnosed with cancer. The men and women of the community raised money to give “wish list” gifts to the girl and her family, encouraging them just when they needed hope the most. What a beautiful way for seniors to be involved in the people of the town outside their community!
Woody Strobeck, Warren Weinstock and the seniors at Parkway Place are just a few of the multitude of seniors that I see daily working at Forté who are imbued with the passion to live life to the fullest. It’s so encouraging to see seniors not only defying age stereotypes, but sharing their still-vibrant love of life with the world around them.
I look forward to using my enthusiasm for public relations and the great stories I find in the world of senior living to share the inspiration I see daily. They prompt those of us who are younger to live our own lives to the fullest, with passion. Sometimes finding our joy in life all starts with a moment of inspiration—like the one I had walking to my car.
For an interesting perspective on Story Telling, take a look at this video from the acclaimed TED Series of mini-speeches.