Centenarians Hula at The Samarkand

Event kicks off Active Aging Week celebration at retirement community

Kicking off Active Aging Week and celebrating their birthdays, four centenarians at The Samarkand retirement community donned grass skirts and leis to learn something new — the hula.

Leticia Harz, 105; Christine Groppe, 102; Betty Bell, 100; and Alice Tooker, 100; joined 30 other Samarkand residents to follow the lead of instructors from Helen’s Hulas. Forming a circle, the honorees, residents and guests easily adopted the hula’s slow, rhythmic movements.

After that bit of dancing, performers from Ukulele Lulus took the floor. Nearly a dozen ukulele players entertained the group with several numbers, then encouraged the assembly to sing “Happy Birthday” to the guests of honor.

No one needed encouragement to sample the luau-style refreshments that accompanied the dancing and music.

Samarkand Activities Coordinator Cathy Herbert planned the event, easily blending the birthday party with Active Aging Week. “What could be a better example of active aging than four spry centenarians learning the hula?” she mused.

The Samarkand’s activity staff has 22 other Active Aging Week events planned through the week, including a resident-led tour of the fountains on campus accompanied by poetry and psalm readings; experiments with musical instruments; and yoga. Herbert expects lots of participation. “Our programming and activities reflect what the residents want to do,” she says. “Residents take the lead. We partner with them to develop fulfilling and rewarding programs like this one.”

The Samarkand, 2550 Treasure Dr., Santa Barbara, is one of 14 retirement communities nationwide that are administered by Covenant Retirement Communities Inc. One of the nation’s largest not-for-profit retirement community organizations, Covenant Retirement Communities operates communities in eight states and is a ministry of the Evangelical Covenant Church. For more information on The Samarkand, visit www.TheSamarkand.org.


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