The Bright Side of Life

Ed Spencer

The Bright Side of Life

Ed Spencer

Meet three Spectrum residents who exemplify living life young at heart.

According to Laura Carstensen, a psychology professor at Stanford University, as we age our motivations change and we become more focused on emotionally meaningful experiences.

Not only do we become better at regulating our emotions as we get older, we seek out emotionally gratifying interactions with our friends and family. This means we become better able to withstand some of the challenges that cross our paths and, in fact, create strategies to avoid them altogether. While this increasing focus on a positive lifestyle is a natural aspect of aging, some people seem particularly adept at focusing on the bright side of life. They live young at heart by leveraging this positive attitude in the best way possible, staying socially engaged and living life to its fullest.

Here we introduce three Spectrum residents who encapsulate this positive attitude. Barbara Sears, of Lakeview in Colorado, prides herself on being on time, first to introduce herself to new residents, and a social butterfly. A cancer survivor, her positive attitude is her antidote to the hard parts of life and the foundation for her service to others. Ed Spencer, who in his early 90’s still seeks out adventures like riding motorcycles, flying airplanes, and painting believes his positive attitude is a key to his handling the tough times. And Betsy Parrot, a five-year resident of Pine Ridge of Plumbrook, is actively engaged in a number of activities that help enhance the lives of others in her community.


Barbara SearsBarbara Sears has been at Lakeview since it opened in 2009. She is a remarkable lady. She is never late to any of the activities, and is always there to help anyone in need and make sure new residents feel welcome by visiting them or sitting with them for meals. She is always the one participating in fun games during happy hour. She is on the hospitality committee, exercises every day, and walks with our walking group on Thursdays. She stays busy going out with friends and enjoying life by doing fun things.

Barbara always has a smile and exudes genuine happiness. She has traveled to many places throughout her life and is a veteran. She has even overcome cancer three times. No doubt, her positive attitude has helped her through some tough battles. She continues to see the glass as half full at all times and her laugh is absolutely contagious.


Ed SpencerEd Sepncer is always ready to embrace adventure, an attitude that keeps him young at heart. For his 90th birthday, he flew a Piper Cub plane and went indoor rock climbing. For his 91st birthday, he and his son rented a Harley Davidson three-wheeler and drove 150 miles to Wisconsin, enjoying the fall scenery on all of the side roads.

Flying planes and driving motorcycles are activities that Ed has enjoyed throughout his adult life, but painting is a hobby he started more recently. He creates a painting about every three weeks and displays his work in the community, where residents enjoy seeing it. When Ed held a painting demonstration for everyone to attend, it was standing room only.

Ed truly enjoys his life. He found the right girl, his wife Jean, with whom he had three wonderful children. Now he enjoys 14 grandchildren and, by May, will have 34 great-grandchildren to brag about. Ed’s family gets together on a regular basis to talk and have fun. Last Christmas, the children in his family even came to Three Oaks to meet Santa … Ed, in costume.

Ed believes that his attitude has a lot to do with being young at heart and energetic. He advises others to think positively and choose to be happy and cheerful. When faced with tough times, Ed fought to keep going, to do what’s right, to keep working until he was back on top. It’s a positive outlook that gets a person through difficult times and helps him or her enjoy the good times.

And what is Ed planning to do for his 92nd birthday? Indoor skydiving, of course.


Betsy ParrotBetsy Parrot has been a resident at Pine Ridge of Plumbrook for about five years. She takes part in more activities than any other resident in the building. She loves to stay outside of her room whenever possible and even helps run activities such as Pictionary, Bunko, Walking the Halls, and more on the weekends. Betsy is always one of the first residents to attend an activity and she will always go around beforehand to ask other residents to attend or join in. She is a huge help to the activity department and is part of our HUGS committee, for which she gets a list of new residents’ names, room numbers, and move-in dates. Betsy personally visits each new resident, and usually bakes cookies or something special as a welcome gesture. She introduces herself and provides an activity calendar and newsletter.

Betsy attends almost every activity we offer. When she first moved into our community, she wasn’t a painter. Now she paints more than twice a week, creating beautiful works of art that are always on display around the community. She even sold some of her paintings and drawings at our 2015 Heart of Art Intergenerational Art Show. She is always available to help new residents get acclimated to the community and is there with a smile and looks forward to helping anyone.

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