—Supporting an Active Lifestyle—
Ron and Lori Hoopes like to live life off the beaten path.
Avid travelers, they keep a large map with a multitude of colored pins that mark all the countries they have visited across the globe. They enjoy organized trips but are always sure to explore areas not frequented by tourists. The Hoopes are just one example of the many active travelers who reside at Oak Hammock at the University of Florida, a retirement community offering independent and assisted living options, as well as skilled nursing and memory care for anyone over the age of 55. In fact, the community even has its own travel committee, one of more than 40 special interest groups there, through which residents may organize group trips.
Oak Hammock supports an active lifestyle for its residents. Celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, the community was developed around a retirement lifestyle focused on lifelong learning, fitness and health.
Mike and Judy Plaut share the same wanderlust as the Hoopes. Having just returned from a six-week trip to Australia to celebrate their 50th anniversary, they also have spent time visiting friends around the world. They said being with people who know the local culture makes the experience more enriching.
“Living at Oak Hammock, we’ve made friends, and we have a sense of community that makes activities and events much more fun at this stage in our lives,” Judy said. “We’ve connected with so many people here who share similar interests as us, including traveling and learning about various cultures in the United States and around the world.”
The 2016 “State of Aging and Health” report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that the population of Americans age 65 and older will double in the next 25 years to about 72 million people. The men and women moving into this demographic want to continue living active, healthy and interesting lives. Travel and learning help to enrich people’s lives as they age.
Resident Joe Gilkey organizes a yearly cruise through the Oak Hammock travel committee. Joe and his wife, Heather, have traveled around the world by cruise ship.
Even though they have visited the Caribbean many times, they always like to get a feel for the culture of the country they are in. The couple has many stories of their adventures into rural areas of the islands they have visited.
“Once, while in Haiti, we spent an afternoon with the locals, and I learned how to balance baskets on my head as they do,” Heather said. “What a challenge that was!”
Traveling also can be good for your health. Research has shown that vacationing improves your mood and reduces stress. People who travel frequently are more satisfied with their physical health and well-being. What’s more, traveling typically accompanies an increase in physical and brain activity, which is beneficial for the body and mind.
Tom and Judy Gire, another Oak Hammock couple, said they, too, like to travel – near and far. Since moving to the Gainesville area, they have discovered several of North Central Florida’s natural wonders with new friends they have made.
“We recently completed a St. John’s River excursion with friends, and we enjoyed a tour led by the Hoopes of the Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park,” Tom said. “We frequently hike at La Chua Trail at Paynes Prairie, too.”
Judy said she and Tom love to hike and birdwatch, and they’ve made many friends at Oak Hammock who like to go explore with them.
“We are loving our retirement years,” Judy said. “We live in a community with neighbors we like. We get to spend time traveling with friends. Life is good!”
For more information about life at Oak Hammock, call 352-548-1024, or visit OakHammock.org.