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Grand Adventure: Saying yes to new things at age 99

Posted 7/20/2015

Where do you see yourself at age 80?

Will you be living life to the fullest or letting it pass you by?

As I sat with 99-year-old Gertrude Hoch, I learned that adventures don’t stop after 8, 9 or even nearly 10 decades of life. Gertrude, who lives in the American Lutheran Homes community in Mondovi, is still seizing the day.

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“We play bingo, we have a bean bag team and a Wii bowling league,” she said.

Gertrude will earn 100 candles on her birthday cake this fall, but she earned her adventure badge when she turned 80. “I went to visit my granddaughter in Phoenix. I had my first plane ride when I was 80 years old. They took me to the Grand Canyon. That was wonderful.”

grand canyon gertrude
But she didn’t stop at just being a casual tourist at the national park. “We each had a little tent. We camped out. I was 80 years old and we camped out. That’s an adventure,” Gertrude laughed. She said she was cold in the tent but woke up feeling fine. She marveled at what she observed, but it wasn’t just the majestic rocks that were memorable. “Seeing all the people at the Grand Canyon, all the different nationalities. It’s just amazing.”

Having lived through the depression and now as a great-great-grandmother, Gertrude says she’s happiest when she is around her family and when she gets out to meet new people and chat with her friends in her long-term care community. “I take advantage of everything.” She says she doesn’t miss a chance to play cards and go on field trips. She hopes others will do the same, so they can keep a slice of adventure in their life, no matter how old they are. “Just go ahead and do it,” she says.

Written by Grace Lutheran Communities staff writer

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