The year was 1912 – the Titanic tragically sunk, Woodrow Wilson became the 28th United States President, Fenway Park opened and Margaret Fulton was born. It is a rare occasion to have the opportunity to sit down to speak with someone who is 105 years young, but that is just what happened on a crisp winter afternoon in February.
Our visit with Margaret began after she had completed her laundry for the day, but before she had the chance to do her ironing, she said that’s how she stays young. In addition to keeping her home tidy, she suspects her long walk from Clermontville to the Mt. Zion School, as a child, was also another factor in maintaining her health. She continues a very active lifestyle that consists of attending her church every Sunday and preparing her own meals; she loves vegetables!
Mrs. Fulton reminisced about her childhood and that she and her mother lost her father when she was only 3 years old. In an effort to provide for her family, Margaret’s mother boarded her with her grandparents while she traveled to the Girls Friendly Vacation Home in Clermontville to earn a living. Margaret eventually worked at the home as well, but not before trying different jobs that had her traveling from the east side to the west on the various forms of transportation used in that time. When asked what she does and does not like about the changes that have happened in our world, Margaret didn’t hesitate to tell us that she can’t believe some of the behavior she has heard about on the news. Also, she doesn’t care for soap operas, and she prefers to watch things with more action and less drama. She also continues to be amazed that as a country, we have put people on the moon!
After marrying her husband, the Fulton’s had two sons, one of which, recently passed away. Margaret recounted many happy memories of the home she and her husband had created for themselves. She said the decision to move from that place was not easy but it proved to be the right choice.
She moved to one of the Clermont Senior Services, affordable housing complexes in 2003 at the age of 90, after the passing of her husband. There are seven apartment communities throughout Clermont County, operated by Clermont Senior Services, allowing people over the age of 62 to have a safe, clean and affordable place to live and continue to thrive. Residents monthly rent is based on 30% of their income and utilities are included, other eligibility criteria may apply. Margaret mentioned that she didn’t feel as safe in her home alone, so she decided to make the move, and she has never regretted that decision. She enjoys the friends she has in her building, but she especially loves the potluck dinners they share. Only now, she isn’t required to cook anything for the potlucks as she is their guest of honor. Clermont Senior Services provides a variety of services to residents in the seven housing communities. Mrs. Fulton receives Homemaking services, which provide light housekeeping but, on occasion, she has told them that she can handle everything just fine on her own. It seems as though the mission of Clermont Senior Services is being executed well: to improve the quality of life for older adults by providing a broad range of home and community based services, enabling them to remain as active and independent as possible.
We can learn so much from the older adults in our communities, take the time to sit with them for a while. You just may learn something too.