By Andrea Sieradzki
They have lived through multiple wars, recessions, presidencies, cultural shifts and national crises.
They watched as the country transitioned from black and white television to color, and from landline telephones, desktop computers and cameras to cell phones.
Today’s seniors have seen it all, amassing an abundance of life experiences and stories worth sharing… provided younger generations will listen.
In February, residents at Gulf Coast Village, a premier Continuing Care Retirement Community in Cape Coral, began sharing that advice on a platform seen by audiences much younger than themselves – social media.
Called Pearls of Wisdom, the twice-monthly feature offers short bios of residents along with a photo of them holding a whiteboard showcasing their words of advice.
The first resident featured was a 94-year-old woman who urged future generations to stop worrying because that’s pointless: “Speak and smile. Make friendships.”
The next resident was a 93-year-old woman who was adopted and raised by another family on a farm in North Dakota: “Find your past family history, starting with grandparents.”
Another resident in her 90s says she finds joy at Gulf Coast Village and encourages others to do the same: “Don’t forget to enjoy EVERY DAY!”
The initial Facebook posts drew significantly more engagement – likes, comments and shares – compared to other social media posts. Pearls of Wisdom recently drew national attention after being spotlighted by MSN Lifestyle in a story titled “What 90-somethings love most and regret most about the life they’ve lived.”
“When you think about what our residents have seen and learned over the course of their lives, we could easily fill a book with their observations and insights,” said Greg Anderson, Executive Director, Gulf Coast Village. “We have retired teachers, veterans, CEOs, nurses, pilots, entrepreneurs and others living under one roof at Gulf Coast Village, and Pearls of Wisdom is one way to showcase the lessons they’ve learned on their life journey.”
Through Pearls of Wisdom, residents are encouraging younger generations to live their dreams, stay active, work hard, save money, live life to the fullest, do good deeds, invest wisely, think positive and aspire to inspire – all great advice for those of any age.
Although the intent of Pearls of Wisdom is to offer advice to younger populations, there also is a benefit for seniors. Sharing insight offers residents a greater sense of fulfilment and purpose knowing others can benefit from their experience and self-reflection.
“Stepping out of the day-to-day grind of parenting and working gives you time to ponder life and perhaps reassess what should have been priorities along the way,” said Sherrie Saidon, Lifestyle Activity Coordinator, Gulf Coast Village. “Residents are smiling in each of the photos that accompany Pearls of Wisdom, which shows you just how happy they are sharing their advice.”
Follow the series on Facebook by searching #PearlsOfWisdom.
About the Author
Andrea Sieradzki is sales and marketing director at Gulf Coast Village in Cape Coral.