There is plenty to be inspired by at the Masonic Homes, from its historic, picturesque setting to the industry-leading quality of care. But perhaps the most inspiring thing is the residents themselves – and residents 100 years and older are leading the way.
Take Elizabeth “Betty” Ehly, 102, a Masonic widow who has lived at the Masonic Homes for 11 years. Betty’s response to the question, “How are you today?” is a ready: “Wonderful!” She’s a member of the welcoming committee, special friends committee, and even, until a few years ago, the belly dancing group. You can find her on strolls across campus, and participating in group outings around the Bay Area. She gives tours to new residents. She knits and crochets for charitable causes.
“I keep very busy,” she says. “I always have something to do. There’s always someone in need; someone who could use a friend or a hand.”
“Healthy aging at the Masonic Homes is very simple,” explains Executive Director of Masonic Homes’ Residential Services Franco Diamond. “Residents have a reason to get up in the morning. They have created a vibrant community and fulfilling lives. They look forward to each day’s activities and find a sense of greater purpose.”
Today there are five Masonic Homes residents who are 100 years or older. They are: Eva Mae Abbett, 103; Elizabeth Ehly, 102; Dorothy Shaffer, 101; Lois Whitlock, 101; and Virgil Land, 100. Ready to follow in their footsteps? Betty offers some tips: “Be helpful to others. Don’t drink or smoke. Be active,” she says. “If you sit and wait to be ‘entertained,’ you’re not going to be well.”
Betty’s philosophy echoes the Masonic Homes’ approach to successful aging. This approach extends beyond caring for residents’ physical health; staff work to nurture and support the intellectual, spiritual, and social well being of each resident, encouraging residents to empower themselves to pursue fulfilling lives. It is in this environment that Betty and her fellow centenarians are showing what it can mean to be 100 years and older – continuing to learn new things and serve others.
Contribute to the Annual Fund to help the Masonic Homes in continuing to provide Betty – and all of our wonderful Masonic family that need it most – the opportunity to age gracefully.
All freemason.org articles may be repurposed by any Masonic publication with credit to the Grand Lodge of California. Print this article and post it at lodge; include it in your Trestleboard or website; email it to members; or use the buttons at the top of this page to share it on Facebook or Twitter.