FiftyForward showcases inspiring stories of older adults with new “Squeeze the Day” podcast
Sen. Brenda Gilmore shares stories of her life, our Nashville in most recent episode
Nashville, Tenn. — Since the pandemic encouraged many of us to do things differently, FiftyForward, the agency that has been serving older adults for more than six decades, embraced technology to do many new things including launching a podcast.
“Squeeze the Day,” launched in October 2020, is capturing the history and the heart and soul of older adults. Intended as a vehicle to see, honor, and value the engaging stories of older adults, the podcast is hosted by FiftyForward Communications Director Susan Sizemore.
“We are learning so much from these individuals in these interviews,” said FiftyForward CEO Sallie Hussey. “These conversations illuminate part of our history and in their lives. If we listen very carefully the words of wisdom shared by those who have come before us may also serve as a compass for our future.”
Sen. Brenda Gilmore was the most recent Squeeze the Day guest. In the podcast she explains how she came to have so much respect and caring for older adults. She was raised by her grandmother and at an early age she realized that some older adults needed help. Gilmore and some friends started collecting empty Coke and 7UP bottles they redeemed for cash. She was an early and committed recycler, using the money she collected for greater good. She bought toiletries and necessities for older adults. Today, she explains, they are group for which she is a fierce advocate. In addition, she speaks about her roots in Nashville and what makes our community so special.
Other Squeeze the Day (https://fiftyforward.org/podcast/) guests include Yvonne Wood who has always fought for equality and women’s rights. Wood oversaw many of the details marking the Centennial celebration of the Women’s Suffrage Movement, including the bronze sculpture that now graces Bicentennial Mall. Joe Murray recounts how he was never permitted to fly while in the Air Force but now he flies a glider plane and even took to skydiving on his 78th birthday.
Ninety-six-year-old Lillian Schklar recounts her days as one of the women who worked in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, during WWII. Her stories roll back time as she paints a picture of leaving small town farm life to go to live in barrack-type accommodations while she and so many others went to work daily knowing very little about what they were really building. She connected the dots about her role in the war efforts after she heard a new piece about the bombs being built in Oak Ridge.
Octogenarian Gayle “GG” Goad shares her stories of inspiration using her motto, “I’d rather wear out than rust out. I’d rather die of stress than boredom.” In her interview she recounts how COVID-19 forced her to make a pact with herself — if she lived through it — to be healthier post-pandemic than she was going into it. A yoga teacher at FiftyForward, she’s always been focused on health, nutrition, and living life to its fullest. She is a bundle of energy and “believes in trying something once even if the end result is to learn why you would never do it again.” Activities in that category for GG include riding a bike down the side of a volcano as well as scuba diving with little training.
Some of the “aha” moments are in the closing of the podcast when participants are asked, “How do you squeeze the day?” It has been remarkable to learn how these individuals stay motivated, the role mentors have played in their lives, and why many of them have found a calling in their quest to contribute to community.
“What we are learning from these poignant interviews,” says Hussey, “is that the zest for life and lifelong learning cannot be taught. We are committed to listen and learn from these stories. By walking in the shoes of these resilient individuals we are destined to grow. There is a depth and desire by so many adults to give back, to teach and mentor, and to leave a legacy that is vast and inspiring.”
Established in 1956, FiftyForward supports, champions, and enhances life for those 50 and older. As a nonprofit serving Middle Tennessee, FiftyForward operates seven lifelong learning centers – two in Williamson County and five in Davidson County – offering classes including health and wellness, arts, technology, virtual programming and engaging volunteer opportunities. FiftyForward also provides comprehensive supportive care for older adults including essential services such as FiftyForward Adult Day Services, FiftyForward Fresh/Meals on Wheels, and care management. Learn more by listening to our podcast and stories at www.fiftyforward.organd by following us @FiftyForward on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
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