“Fairytales can come true, it can happen to you, if you’re young at heart,” Frank Sinatra crooned in his 1953 best-selling single, “Young at Heart.” These lyrics seem to ring especially true at Acacia Creek, a bustling community of older adults living life to the fullest. The vitality of residents here is inspiring: No matter what one’s age in number, life can be filled with possibility and meaning.
OF BODY AND MIND
Nadine Yother found her niche at Acacia Creek by sharing her passion for handcrafts. She leads The Studio, where three mornings a week ladies work on current projects, from needle arts to beading. Many of the crafts created at The Studio are donated or sold to benefit charitable causes. This meaningful work has brought Yother great joy and strong friendships. “Most people are involved on campus. We enjoy keeping our bodies and minds active” she says. “We embrace the community of Acacia Creek like a family.”
One place the Acacia Creek family loves to gather is the Turkey Roost Bar, where Roger Baird, a member of Siminoff Daylight Lodge No. 850, is known as the “bar czar.” “Our Masonic connection is a big factor in fellowship and camaraderie,” Baird says. “Everybody here is our friend and everyone has a story to tell.” This sense of fellowship extends to Acacia Creek’s team and community. In lieu of tips, Turkey Roost patrons keep a staff appreciation fund. They regularly organize philanthropic events, such as “Tasting for Charity,” which benefits favorite charitable causes. Residents unite through this culture of giving.
A LOVE FOR ADVENTURE
Proximity to transportation was a key reason that Baird and his wife, Donna, chose to live at Acacia Creek. So it is no surprise that in addition to on-campus activities – including lively games of pickleball and daily swims – the Bairds enjoy sharing their love of travel. Recently, they organized a trip to Reno on a Zephyr train, with more than 30 residents adventuring through picturesque snow-covered mountains. A highlight of the trip was a lecture on the design and operation of slot machines, given by the Bairds’ daughter, who lives in Reno.
Residents hoping to experience new perspectives without leaving home turn to 90-year-old Doris Chow, head of Acacia Creek’s movie program. “I wondered how often we could watch ‘Cocoon,’ so I opened my big mouth and asked for more current movies,” Chow jokes. Soon, she was in charge. She selects films based on reviews in the San Francisco Chronicle, The New Yorker, People Magazine, and other publications, seeking something for everyone.
Chow is far from a couch potato, however. She enjoys off-campus excursions, including theater outings, shopping, and exploring gardens and museums. She is also a fitness enthusiast who exercises while connecting with friends. Each morning, she and her friends – nearly all in their 90s – walk about 45 minutes, from the lobby down to the entrance gate and back up a staircase of 236 steps. Once a week, she co-teaches a Qigong and Tai Chi class with a good friend, and on the weekends she takes water aerobics. “When I came here, I wanted to maintain the lifestyle I came in with, and I have been able to meet my goal,” Chow says. “There aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything I want to do!”
Each one of these Acacia Creek residents lives an active life with a positive, cup-half-full attitude. Their optimism is contagious and benefits everyone who meets them. The lyrics to “Young at Heart,” conclude: “Look at all you’ll derive out of bein’ alive/And here is the best part, you have a head start/If you are among the very young at heart.” Perhaps Sinatra envisioned a retirement like that of Acacia Creek residents’ – filled with close friendships, meaningful activities, and continued growth.
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