Senior Services is pleased to announce Natalie Tucker as the NEW Mills Activity & Dining Center Director! Natalie has previously worked as a teacher, librarian, a tutor for university students and a freelance writer for the Midland Daily News as well as various non-profit groups. She even wrote an article for Senior Services several years ago which we have reprinted below! In addition to this, Natalie and her husband have raised triplets, who are now all in college and doing very well.
We are very excited to have her experience and passion for older adults as a part of our Senior Services team! Please give Natalie a warm welcome when you see her.
Healthy aging awareness: The story of Emmy Bork
Published in the Midland Daily News on Aug 28, 2011 by Natalie Tucker
September is Healthy Aging Awareness Month. What does “healthy aging” mean to you? In a culture in which the media is forever attempting to prey upon our insecurities about aging, it is refreshing to see elders who — without becoming a slave to consumer gimmicks — remain vibrant and are willing to share their wisdom with others.
I was recently invited to have lunch at Senior Services of Midland County, and saw many people there who fit that description. Here is the story of one Midland patron.
Emmy Bork, a 79-year-old widow, believes that we all have such a profound ability to affect people around us for better or worse that it just makes sense to be a force for good. “Things will always happen that shake up your life. Although healing involves grief and crying, you have to learn how to let go of your prior plans and make new ones,” Bork said.
Her life is a testimony for this belief. A retired nurse, she graduated from Memorial Hospital School of Nursing’s three-year program in 1954. The rule was that a student had to remain single while attending school. On a July 4 holiday weekend in 1955, she met Paul George Bork. The two enjoyed each other’s company immensely. They married in September of that same year, and remained soul mates for more than 50 years. He became a chemical engineer for Dow Corning Corp. They had a baby girl, and one year and three days later had twin boys.
Paul George and Emmy Bork taught confirmation classes together. The two loved to go motor-homing.
“It started out as tent camping with our children. When they grew up and moved on, we continued with this lifestyle. This is one hobby that allows you to meet people from all walks of life. Everyone, regardless of profession, could get together and find common ground.”
Then her husband became ill. Due to his terminal condition, a social worker at the hospital put Emmy Bork in touch with Senior Services. They assisted her by informing her of various services that are offered on an income-based sliding scale. Through the center, she was able to receive services from “Meals on Wheels” and Hospice, and also get help with her housekeeping.
When her husband passed away, her lifestyle changed abruptly. Senior Services offered a grief support group. She hesitantly attended with a friend with an agreement that neither of them would go to another meeting if they did not want to. They met several women between the ages of 60 to 90, and they all enjoyed each other’s company so much that they decided to meet monthly for lunch after the class ended.
“We don’t sit around talking about our dead husbands either,” she said. “We discuss current events, our families and how we can help each other do what we need to do.”
Bork said she is always learning things of value from these ladies. “I have one friend who is in her nineties. Through her, I am learning about how to make necessary adjustments and changes over time.”
An avid knitter who makes special items for her grandchildren, Bork also finds time to donate her handmade soft blankets and quilts to the Crisis Pregnancy Center and for children who must go to an emergency room by ambulance. She also enjoys playing board games and having discussions with people who are not able to leave their eldercare environment.
She says that staying connected with the stories of her children and 10 grandchildren helps her to maintain an awareness of changes in our culture. She is also happy to have a social worker from Senior Services call her once every six months to find out if there is any practical way they can assist her.
Getting on with her life and living it to the fullest, she maintains, is one way she can still honor her husband and celebrate their wonderful life together.
Midland County has a reputation for being a great place for senior citizens who are going through life transitions. Places such as Senior Services empower individuals by providing opportunities to collaborate and find the resources they need to maintain a healthy independent lifestyle. To explore options such as care coordination, meals, caregiver training or programs for people who have recently lost a spouse, contact Senior Services at (989) 633-3700, or explore on the web at www.SeniorServicesMidland.org