Tim Parker

Five days a week, two hours a day, you can find Dr. Salvatore ‘Sam’ Pagano in the fitness center at The Gatesworth, taking a class or using the elliptical machine. At age 90, he exhibits the energy of a man years younger. “Since he moved in, my dad is in better health and is more active than he has ever been,” says Chris Pagano.

Taking full advantage of the many services and amenities offered at The Gatesworth, the elder Pagano has been revitalized in the time he has spent there. “This was the best move I’ve ever made,” he notes.

The transition into independent living was not something that the former dentist with a sense of humor (“I practiced for 45 years, then started doing the real thing.”) took lightly. When Pagano’s wife of 64 years, Crucifix, passed away in September 2010 after a long illness, he began searching for a new place to live. “We shopped around and looked at several places, but I didn’t really care for them as much as I did when I got here.”

With a moving coordinator and welcoming staff to ease the stress of the move, Pagano’s family appreciated the effort made to make him feel comfortable. “My dad went through a lot with my mom being so ill, and when he moved in, he felt very welcome,” Chris Pagano says. “They take really good care of him.”

Besides the frequent visits to the fitness center, Sam Pagano participates in other activities at The Gatesworth, like the Bingo committee and watercolor painting class, while attending weekly rosary and communion services and monthly masses. An amiable person who was very involved in the local Italian community, Pagano enjoys the socialization opportunities, from mingling with residents at breakfast every day to evenings out to see musicians like Glenn Campbell and mystery bus trips to Tower Grove Park.

After giving up his car, Pagano also has appreciated the free limo service that the retirement community offers, “which makes our lives a lot easier,” he says. “When my grandson visited from Kentucky, we picked him up in the limo and he spent the entire day with me. That was very enjoyable.”

With five sons, five daughters-in-law, nine grandchildren, three grandchildren-in- law and one great-grandchild, family visits to The Gatesworth are frequent and lively. The 27 members of the Pagano clan spent Easter Sunday at the retirement community in a private banquet room, and Friday evening happy hours are a popular draw. “I’m over here at least once or twice a week for dinner,” Chris Pagano says. “It’s convenient, the chef is incredible and The Gatesworth really wants you to come visit. It’s almost like a night out for us.”

Only 11 months into life at his new home, Sam Pagano looks forward to what each day brings, and he can enjoy those days knowing that all his needs are taken care of. “Everything is handed to us on a silver platter. They treat us very nicely here, and I’m really happy about it.”