When the new year rolled around and everyone started making fitness resolutions, Dr. Salvatore Pagano found that he didn’t need one. The 92-year-old retired dentist made his fitness resolution three years ago upon moving into The Gatesworth. And now, you can find him at the retirement living community’s fitness classes for two hours a day, five days a week.
“When my wife passed away, I moved here and sold my home,” Pagano says. “It was a big change for me and at the time, I was really down. But I came here and saw this place, and said this is the best thing I can do—to take care of myself.” During his working years, he didn’t have much time for things like working out, and he spent enough time on his feet during the day, he says. “In my day, dentists stood for consultations, but now they’re all sitting. I had enough exercise going from one room to the next to take care of patients.”
After moving to The Gatesworth, though, Pagano began attending fitness classes every morning. Among them are a breathing and stretching class, where “sometimes you feel like a contortionist moving into all the different positions,” he says. He also takes total fitness and functional exercise classes. “They’re excellent exercises. Most of the breathing and stretching exercises are done sitting down, and they look pretty easy; but when you do them for 45 minutes, you’ll get pretty well beat after those classes.” Other classes include repetitions with light weights or routines done with ropes in each hand. “After spending the mornings in classes, sometimes I have to rest in the afternoon,” he says. “At 92 years old, you can’t do things like you used to, but I’m happy to do what I can and I’m glad to be up and around. I’m grateful to the guy upstairs that I can do what I can, and do the things that I enjoy doing.”
Fitness classes aren’t the only new hobby Pagano has picked up since moving to The Gatesworth. He also attends an art class every Wednesday afternoon, where he has been practicing painting in watercolors. “I’ve been painting birds mainly. I have a lot of birds in my collection and people say they like them. Of course, I’m the first one to say certain things should be better, but they’re not bad for not knowing a thing about watercolors before this!”
Pagano also likes to participate in many of the community’s lunch and dinner outings, and also enjoys frequent movie nights and live entertainment in the community’s common areas. However, he is always happy to make time for one of his four sons to come and visit. “They’re all good to me and come visit on a frequent basis. They all live in St. Louis,” he notes.
But perhaps they should call ahead to make sure Pagano will have time in his busy schedule. “I didn’t have time for these things all my life, and now I’ve got time, so I’m doing as much as I can,” he says. “As long as I feel well, I’m going to keep moving.”
On the Cover: Fitness classes are among the life-enhancing opportunities offered to residents at The Gatesworth, whose motto is Senior Living Your Way. Pictured on the cover: Dr. Salvatore Pagano. For more information, call 993-0111 or visit thegatesworth.com.