Taking Time to Thrive at 105

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Ask Alice McGinnis, who turned 105 this summer, about the secret to her longevity.

“I never get in a hurry,” she says.

Today, Alice likes to listen to books on tape. She could write her own book, given all she has experienced and accomplished. But throughout her life, Alice has been determined to look forward and not back.

Never Stop Learning

After her husband of 51 years, Hobart, passed in 1986, Alice found new ways not just to stay busy, but to thrive. She was in her early 70s when she took art classes at the high school in Salem, Ind. Her specialty was painting landscapes and flowers, a skill she loved to show off in her own note cards that she would mail to friends and family.

In her 80s Alice took a literature course offered through Indiana University and earned a B+ in the class, which she proudly described as demanding. Inspired, she joined a local group of storytellers who met monthly at the library to share and critique their writing.  

Impressed with Alice’s skills and insights, one of the members asked her to help edit a book he was writing. The published work, The Hole, credits Alice’s efforts in its acknowledgements. It is one of her cherished honors.

Well into her 90s, Alice continued to live by herself in her house, tending to the garden, the yard and the kitchen. She also found time for crossword puzzles, card games and dominoes, a daily journal and, of course, painting.

Remaining Independent with Support Services

At 99, with her health and vision declining, Alice moved to Indianapolis to live with her daughter, Mary.

Through CICOA, Alice got connected to in-home support services that have helped her maintain a level of independence and optimize her quality of life. Alice receives daily meals and personal care assistance, which allows Mary valuable time to attend to her own needs, also.

Marking a Milestone

There is one story Alice loves to share.

Alice and Hobart often drove from Salem to Louisville, Ky., a trip of about 40 miles. Crossing the Ohio River from Indiana into Kentucky, they could see an old railroad bridge. In 2014, the dilapidated structure was replaced by a new pedestrian bridge, and Alice vowed one day to cross it.

Never in a hurry, on her 100th birthday Alice climbed aboard a golf cart and, accompanied by 75 family members and friends walking beside her, made her bridge crossing. She was a local celebrity that day, basking in the attention from the Louisville-area media.


Your gift to CICOA helps people like Alice thrive in their senior years and maintain their independence. Donate now to support the critical needs of our aging loved ones and neighbors.


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