Senior citizens defy gravity, age by zip lining in Myrtle Beach

Senior citizens defy age, gravity on ziplines

A group from Brightwater celebrates Active Aging Week by zip lining at Radical Ropes in Myrtle Beach.
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A group from Brightwater celebrates Active Aging Week by zip lining at Radical Ropes in Myrtle Beach.

Not every senior citizen can zip line 50 feet in the air, but a group of Myrtle Beach seniors took up the challenge Monday afternoon.

Seven seniors – all women – and two zip line guides spent more than an hour weaving between the trees and zipping down three cables at Radical Ropes Adventure Park in Myrtle Beach. Complete with harnesses, helmets and gloves, the seniors climbed 50 feet before stepping off the platform into the glide.

I applaud these groups – they’re so willing and able to do this. I hope I can still do this at their age.

John Metts, lead zip lining guide

The seniors were on a trip from Brightwater, a retirement community in Myrtle Beach.

“Just because they’re old doesn’t meant they have to be stodgy,” said Susan Parrotta, director of wellness for Brightwater. “This gives them the chance to expand their horizons.”

Brightwater chose “Live Your Adventure” as this year’s theme to the annual Active Aging Week. The week is sponsored by the International Council on Active Aging and is recognized nationally.

Parrotta said this week is about giving seniors the chance to cross something off their bucket list.

“We’re encouraging them to do something they’ve never done before,” Parrotta said.

Janet Osgood, 87, said she’s always wanted to try zip lining but was always a little afraid of getting hurt. After researching the safety equipment and rules, however, she decided to jump on the opportunity.

“You have to do these things when you can – don’t wait until you’re 87 years old,” she said.

Vivian Gilmer smiled while gliding down the cable but afterward said there wasn’t anything going through her mind on the course – except questioning her senses.

“You just think ‘Lord, help me. Why am I doing this?’” she said.

Aaron Grant, zip line guide, said working with seniors always brings a smile to his face. Seniors appreciate their life and experiences more than many other groups and Grant said it’s refreshing to see someone enjoying an activity as much as the small group of elders.

“When they think they can’t do it, and then you show them they can, it’s the best,” Grant said.

I can’t believe how many of them wanted to do it. I’ve been underestimating my seniors.

Susan Parrotta, director of wellness for Brightwater

Brightwater residents will also have the chance to craft woodwork, participate in a scavenger hunt, play putt putt and take a “blind taste adventure” throughout the week. Parrotta said “Live Your Adventure” is all about giving seniors the ability to feel empowered.

“You’re only as old as you feel,” she said.

Ann Anderson, who has been at Brightwater for about six months, was happy to be back on the ground and out of her harness. The 80-year-old said she has a fear of heights but wanted to experience life in the trees at least once.

“I didn’t realize it was going to be so high, but I did it,” she said.

Would Anderson do it again?

“I’ve done it. That’s good enough,” she said.

Claire Byun: 843-626-0381, @Claire_TSN

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