90-Year-Olds Prove Bucket Lists Are Not Just For The Young

Bucket lists are created by people who hope to have experiences or achievements during their lifetime, but many 90-year-olds are proving bucket lists are not just for the young.

More and more, people in their 90s are creating their own bucket list in order to realize their long-held dreams with experiences like traveling to Italy, skydiving, learning French, bungee jumping, or whatever it is they believe they missed out on during the hustle and bustle of their younger lives.

News Medical reported that some people in their 90s are deciding to go to college for the first time, and one woman went on her maiden flight at the controls of a single-engine airplane at 97-years-old.

Cecile Tegler, 92-years-old, and 97-year-old Mildred “Milly” Reeves are both residents at Mount View Assisted Living in Lockport, New York. Millie Reeves admits she never thought about having a bucket list, but when she was a small parts inspector for Bell Aircraft during World War II in her early 20s, she developed a love of airplanes. After the war, she became a mother to seven daughters, so she gave up on her dream of flying solo.

Cecile Tegler had never created a bucket list, but she had always wanted to go to college. As a teenager, her parents were unable to pay for college because they were already supporting their own parents, but Cecile made sure her own daughters attended and graduated from college. Never in her wildest dreams did she imagine that one day she too would go to college.

And now, with the amazing support of staff at Mount View Assisted Living, Cecile Tegler has attended a community college where she learned how to operate a computer, and Millie Reeves took the controls of an airplane and flew it on her own for around 15 minutes. Today, spurred on by their achievements, these two amazing women are setting even more goals for themselves.

Elderly people are taking up extreme sports or outdoor adventures as part of their bucket list goals.
Elderly people are taking up extreme sports or outdoor adventures as part of their bucket list goals. [Image by Daria A/Shutterstock]

Americans today are living longer and finding they have more time on their hands, and bucket lists have become the latest trend.

Of course, bucket lists don’t have to be about entering college or flying airplanes in your 90s, and according to Marc Agronin, a geriatric psychiatrist who is Vice President for Behavioral Health and Clinical Research at Miami Jewish Health Systems in Miami, “bucket lists need to be in line with our core values.”

Agronin suggests that people “look around them, see the riches they have and the potential for adventure right in their own communities.”

No one agrees with this statement more than Millie Reeves, whose grandson came with her on her maiden flight to capture the moment on video. She received as much, if not more, pleasure in having her grandson along for the ride than she did when she was handed the controls of the plane. Reeves added that her greatest pride in life are her seven daughters, 12 grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren.

Some seniors are experiencing the thrill of pet ownership for the first time in their lives.
Some seniors are experiencing the thrill of pet ownership for the first time in their lives. [Image by Budimir Jevtic/Shutterstock]

And Cecile Tegler, who attended computer class three-times weekly and now knows how to use Microsoft Word and Excel software, has inspired others to do the same. Cecile had no problems whatsoever attending college with 20-year-olds and said the students were very helpful in teaching her how to use the computer.

In the background, helping Tegler, Reeves, and 266 other residents of other assisted-living homes in upstate New York, is David Tosetto, the owner of Mountain View and Cobbs Hill Manor in Rochester New York.

“Young people dream and old people remember. The goal of the bucket list is to give them something to dream about.”

Tosetto believes that happy residents make for longer-term residents and happier employees, and he proves this by not charging them anything at all for their bucket list outings.

“The ultimate goal of this is to get them more involved in society and in the belief that they can still do things.”

He added that he doesn’t sponsor some activities, like skydiving.

“I just don’t know how they can land safely. Of course, if they choose to do it on their own, that’s up to them.”

Photography and computer skills are no longer out of reach for the elderly.
Photography and computer skills are no longer out of reach for the elderly. [Image by ballero/Shutterstock]

As Agronin says in his book, How We Age: A Doctor’s Journey Into the Heart of Growing Old, a person’s real legacy is about the people they touch along the way.

“The relationships you create and what you teach your children is how you build your legacy.”

The Inquisitr reported in November 2016 that Betty White put together a bucket list as she approached her 95th birthday. It’s very clear that Betty does not see retirement in her future because she’s still achieving amazing success well into her 90s. In fact, Betty says retirement is not in her vocabulary.

And she’s not alone. According to a list published on Business Insider, many people have achieved great success in their 90s.

  • At 94-years-old, comedian George Burns performed in Schenectady, New York.
  • Nola Ochs became the oldest person to receive a college diploma at 95-years-old.
  • Harry Bernstein published his first book, The Invisible Wall, at 96-years-old.
  • At 97-years-old, Martin Miller was still working full-time as a lobbyist on behalf of benefits for seniors.
  • Beatrice Wood, a ceramist, exhibited her latest work at 98-years-old.
  • Teiichi Igarashi climbed Mt. Fuji at 99-years-old.
  • And at 100-years-old, Frank Schearer could well be the oldest active water skier in the world.

And these are just the ones that are known about. The takeaway is regardless of your age, don’t ever give up on your dreams.

[Featured Image by DenisFilm/Shutterstock]