On Special Assignment

Feb 19, 2013 11:46 AM by Tiffany Murphy - KPAX News

Ladies of Clark Fork Manor aging gracefully

MISSOULA - One group of women in Western Montana are embracing their age, and even defying it in a world that puts value on staying young.

Tiffany Murphy went on Special Assignment to meet up with a group of women at Clark Fork Manor to find out their secret to aging gracefully.

Iris Regan is an outspoken, witty and quick on her feet 98-year-old. When she moved to retirement community Clark Fork Manor, she had some free time and knew she wanted to stay active.

"I'm not going to sit and watch TV, so I started an exercise class," she explained.

It became a hit, and many of the ladies in class that are bending, twisting and punching are over 80. Even 99-year old-Loraine keeps up.

"We used to have it five times a week, but I was going with this guy - Rud Jenning - and I thought, ‘Iris needs a day for herself'," Regan told us.

Getting old isn't for the faint of heart. Aches and pains can be a daily problem, but Iris says that you don't move it you lose it. "Ahhh forget about it. Even if you're not feeling great, just keep going."

She added she doesn't have time to swap stories about aging.

"Some people you hesitate to ask how you are unless you have lots of time. We don't have that much time. We're too busy."

But they have lots of other stories to share. Each of the women came to the retirement community after lives of serving their family, and in some instances their county.

"I became the Liberator bomber - the B-24. I was Rosie the Riveter. [I mean wirer]," resident Regan explained.

When the ladies aren't doing leg kicks and stretches, many are exercising their minds by crocheting and knitting

"I think it's a great way to find things in common. [It] keeps us on our feet. [The] main thing keeps our mind stimulated," Ellen Stubblefield said.

The knitting group sends well over 100 baby hats to Community Medical Center each month so that each new born will have a special gift.

Getting older doesn't seem that bad when you see how much fun these gals are having.

"All of us think, ‘oh I'll never be 80 or 90.' You never see [it] yourself, but it comes," Stubblefield added."

The women have become best of friends, sharing the laughter of memories, creating new one and reveling in the opportunity to make a difference, whether it be teaching a class or knitting a hat.

Clark Fork Manor isn't a women's only retirement community, the men are simply out numbered.

But that doesn't stop a little romance from happening, and earlier this month there was even a surprise wedding when two of the residents were married.

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