Putting the “A” in Active Aging

Diane is pictured in the Slifer House garden that she helps tend.

At the age of 71, Diane Reed has a schedule that would challenge someone decades younger. She swims an average of five days a week, plays water volleyball, spends two hours with a personal trainer on a weekly basis, and walks a minimum of a mile every day.  In between, she gardens, organizes game nights, and visits her four kids, nine grandkids and two great grandkids.

So, it’s no surprise that this freshman resident of RiverWoods recommends to those considering a move, to “do it while you’re young enough to enjoy it.”

After losing her husband in February of 2020, Diane knew that RiverWoods was where she wanted to live, and she was eager to get there as soon as she could.  A booming real estate market helped accelerate the process when her home sold in just two days. By July, she was settled into her new one-bedroom apartment, which she chose for the most practical of reasons: “It’s the smallest, quickest to clean and get out of – nothing to hold me back.”

Spirit of adventure

“I’m a very outgoing person,” says Diane, who loves to travel and experience new things. Both she and her husband retired early to allow for extended getaways. Each year after Labor Day, the couple would hit the road for two or three weeks, getting off the interstate so they could “see how other parts work.” They managed to see all the lower 48 states over the course of a couple of years.

Road trips and cars come natural to Diane. Her father and grandfather owned a Ford dealership, and she and her late husband owned a service station. “I pumped gas, mounted tires and changed oil,” says Diane, often to the chagrin of male customers. “It was a world I had to break into and not many women were in that business at the time.” She also managed the books and scheduled service visits and other repairs.

With COVID restrictions easing, Diane is back to traveling and is grateful to live in a community where she can pick up and go without a worry. With friends and family near and far and an insatiable wanderlust, Diane loves to jump in her car or board a plane “when the mood strikes.”   She often visits friends living near the Chesapeake Bay of Maryland and heads to Florida several times a year. She says it is liberating to have the “freedom to pick up and go and not worry about anything.”

A life ‘well’ lived

Diane begins her day with breakfast and then heads off for a 6:00 a.m. training session at the community fitness center. “I love the exercise programs here,” she says. She also credits the Wellness staff with getting her into her best shape: “My balance is better than it’s ever been. They’ve taught me how to walk in a way that creates more balance and stability.”

Along with seemingly boundless energy, Diane has a mantra that could benefit most of us – no matter our stage in life: “Life is too short to be miserable. Just be happy.”

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