Aging Gratefully [in Senior Living] with Erv and Marianne Sekulow – Editorial
by Simone Ellin, Associate Editor of Jmore
Jmore recently spoke with six local Jewish seniors to receive insights, in their own words, on how best to enjoy one’s twilight years.
‘A Family of Friends’
Erwin “Erv” Sekulow, 85, and Marianne Sekulow, 88, live at Edenwald. While he is a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., who was raised in Baltimore, she hails from Iowa. The Sekulows are the parents of six and grandparents of eight.
Marianne: “I have a very different history from Erv. I grew up in Dubuque and Sioux City, Iowa. Being a Jew, I was always in the minority. And it was very comfortable. I liked it.
“After the diversity and the way I grew up, coming to Baltimore [in 1960] and living in a [Jewish] ghetto was totally unnatural. I was happy to get back into what I consider normal community living where people just are not segregated by ethnicity or religion as they are in Baltimore.”
Erv: “I worked at [Johns] Hopkins [University], and I’ve been retired for 20 years. There were a lot of people who live here that I lost touch with. That opened the door. It was very gratifying. They were very nice people, and I was encouraged that they were here. It made me feel much more comfortable.”
Marianne: “Some people don’t like [living in a senior community because] there’s a preview of what could be coming. At the moment, I’m in good shape. I’m enjoying that because when it hits the fan, it’ll hit the fan and then I’ll deal with it. But I’m doing everything possible to beat the odds. And one way to do that is to stay active. Go outside. Walk a lot. Push yourself beyond the comfort level. And that’s what I think both of us do.
“[Living in a senior community] is sort of a gift to our children to say, ‘Look, we’re going to be taken care of.’ They are at the point of their lives where their children are getting married and will eventually be grandparents. But that’s their life, and having to deal with us, that is intruding on their lives. This is a way we can live our lives and we’re not by ourselves, we’re keeping busy, we’re not lonely. They can still come and take care of what needs to be done. But not the everyday stuff.
“There are wonderful people that come in. You get to know them and discover that people have interesting lives, interesting pasts and they become part of your family. I feel like we have a family of friends.”
Erv: “We like the warmth of the people. It’s ethnically diverse, which we think is a plus. We like the camaraderie that we experience, especially with the people we interact with on our floor.
“We really have enjoyed the activities and particularly the interaction that Edenwald enjoys with Osher [Lifelong Learning Institute at Towson University]. As I’ve told friends, I think I’ve taken more courses here than I took in college. We take a music course, a Bible course, a course on theater called ‘Eight Plays Everybody Should Know,’ a course on opera.
“We’re very busy and, fortunately, we’re both in good enough health to do physical activities here. Several times a week, Marianne does exercise classes with a trainer. I swim three times a week and work out in the gym.”