Dragon Boat racers prove that speed knows no age
When the “Golden Dragons” zip down the Oklahoma River during practice, you would have no idea that the average age of the rowers in the Dragon Boat is 81.
“Race night is always exciting. The crowd loves us because we’re out of the norm,” said Dorothy Callaway, one of the paddlers.
Her husband Red added that in past races the paddlers who range in age from 60-plus to over 90 not only had fun doing it, but in fact outperformed some crews half their age.
The crew that mostly consists of residents of Spanish Cove Retirement Village in Yukon has been paddling since 2012. Their next race will be the OG&E Night Sprints Regatta Festival on Oct. 5-6.
Dorothy and Red have been part of the Dragon Boat Team for three years. They practice once a week, early in the morning.
“Early mornings on the river are just beautiful, but it’s the camaraderie that we love,” she said.
Of course, the sport also builds upper body strength and practices balance — skills that are very important for seniors who want to age healthy and active.
And active is what the Callaways are. The husband-and-wife team live at Spanish Cove Retirement Village, a Life Care senior community that will have care and medical services available to them once they need it, but for now, they live independently and enjoy life to the fullest. When they aren’t on the Dragon Boat, you may find them exploring the city on their bicycles, heading off on an RV trip — or participating in many of the activities the village offers.
“We started looking at four or five places a few years back,” said Red. “Spanish Cove was attractive for us for many different reasons, but the activities were a big part of it.”
There are concerts, Tai Chi or yoga, square dancing and group meetings. Spanish Cove residents are also preparing for the State Senior Games. Those who aren’t part of the paddling team walk at the Oklahoma River to prepare.
Red and Dorothy said it is the perfect way to stay connected with their neighbors and stay fit and healthy.
“If I had some advice to give to others considering senior living, it is to move the sooner the better. You come and get involved and enjoy the fun environment of the community,” Dorothy added.
An active lifestyle and community setting is commonplace in most senior living villages these days, but many people still have misconceptions about it, said Jill Huff, Spanish Cove’s marketing director.
“Senior living has changed. We are not your grandmother’s nursing home. The options are as unique as the people living there. The key is knowing what you want and what’s available,” Huff said.
That’s why the senior living community is holding a series of free events for seniors and their families to come experience retirement living in a fun, no pressure atmosphere.
The next event, “Send Off Summer,” will be at 7 p.m. Sept. 4 at Spanish Cove in Yukon, 11 Palm Ave. Come enjoy tours of the campus beginning at 6 p.m., with food and fireworks from the rooftop. The public must register by calling Huff at 405-354-5906 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
A broad variety of activities are just part of life at Spanish Cove.
“We also encourage the children to get involved with the decision-making as well,” Huff said. “That’s why we offer numerous events, such as Saturday morning breakfast open houses where the entire family can come. Whether it is an education seminar or Caribbean Celebration, we try to have a variety of opportunities to come visit our campus at a pace that’s comfortable to our guests.”
For more information about Spanish Cove, visit www.spanishcove.com.
The Dragon Boat racers of Spanish Cove Retirement Village have been paddling together since 2012.