These Movers and Shakers Are Changing the Way We View Age

The Caregivers is a unique series focused on the challenges and triumphs of caregiving. These stories have been created through a strategic partnership between AARP and Word In Black.

The Internet is home to some comical displays of aging. There’s “Ms. Shirleen,” the Southern church lady character whose critiques of gas prices and Met Gala looks spark laughter. There’s Grandma Mary, who is determined to understand rap lyrics. Let’s not forget Helen “Baddie Winkle” whose wit and fun style inspire even teenagers. Longevity is a mix of healthy routines, genes, and luck. These influencers are showing us what’s possible when we’re up in age and what joy we spread when we’re doing what we love.

Bose Ogulu, the global pop music manager 

Bose Ogulu is the mother of the Nigerian international star Burna Boy. She is also his manager and the force behind much of his success in the industry. Ogulu is a multifaceted woman. She is a linguist and an entrepreneur. In an interview back in 2019, she explained that living your best life is “Working hard at what you love to do, playing hard, doing stuff that makes you happy, and being comfortable in your own skin. Period.”

Edna Davoll, the roller skating queen

Edna Davoll embodies our most memorable moments as teenagers at the neighborhood skating rink. There’s just one thing. The Bronx native is 84-years-old. Back in 2019, her roller skate skills went viral, landing her a feature on the Rachael Ray Show. Davoll doesn’t look at herself through the lens of age, though. Peep her on the rink at age 82. 

Ernestine Shepherd, the record-breaking bodybuilder

At 85 years old, Ernestine Shepherd is proof that you’re as strong as your fitness regime. The Maryland resident once held the title of the world’s oldest living competitive bodybuilder. She’s retired from competing. Now, she spends her time training and teaching seniors and inspiring everyone to get a little exercise into their lives

Irvin Randle, “Mr. Steal Your Grandma”

Scroll through hundreds of posts on Irvin Randle’s Instagram page and you’ll see a thoughtfully curated presentation of a man who is well dressed, well-traveled, and well-admired. Irvin Randle, self-described as “too grown” and known by his followers as “Mr. Steal Your Grandma” shows us what it’s like to embrace the finer things in life. 

Makeda Smith, the bold pole artist

For her 60th birthday, Makeda Smith offered a pole dancing presentation to her Instagram followers. The grandmother, publicist, and founder of Flying Over 50, is devoted to encouraging diverse images of women as they age. In an interview, she explained her mindset when she began pole dancing: “One part of my mind kept telling me I was too old and just crazy to be starting this regimen at my age.” That was more than 15 years ago.

Read wellness tips from Makeda Smith, here

RuPaul, the superstar entertainer

For decades, RuPaul has set standards across race, gender, and age for what is possible when you let your creativity flow. At 61, the RuPaul’s Drag Race host is still going strong. 

There’s so much that goes along with improving mental health. We have our individual wellness to strive for and our collective healing. How are you embracing your mental health? Send us your story.

Mental well-being is a cornerstone of healthy living. AARP wants to help you get healthier and stay healthy. Visit AARP’s Mental Health Center at www.aarp.org/mentalhealth for tips, tools and resources that can help you develop healthy habits for mental well-being.

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