Caring for the Elderly | Warmth and Hospitality from Five Star

Resident Jumps Out of Plane for 95th Birthday, Takes Executive Director with Him

  • September 19, 2018

What’s the best way to celebrate your 95th birthday? Jumping out of a plane, of course. At least, that’s what Remington Club resident Joel Halpern would say. Halpern, who turned 95 last year, celebrated the occasion not with cake and ice cream but by skydiving (yes, skydiving!) with friend and Executive Director of The Remington Club Kristen Kearnaghan.
 
"It was quite an experience," Halpern said of his jump. Harnessed to a tandem instructor, he free fell for a mile and a half before the chute deployed around 5,000 feet and he floated to Earth. Back on solid ground, staff and residents of The Remington Club — a flagship Five Star Senior Living community in Rancho Bernardo, California — cheered him on, along with members of Joel's family.
 
"It was the talk of the community for a while," said Kearnaghan. The Remington Club provided a bus for residents who wanted to cheer on their adventurous friend. "What a way to celebrate a milestone birthday!"

What would inspire a nonagenarian to take such a leap? "One of my sons-in-law had been in the service as a paratrooper and we often spoke about it," Halpern said. "He said, 'You’ll never do it!' so it was sort of a challenge."
 
The skydive was not so shocking to anyone that knows Halpern. He’s always loved a challenge and never gave up his taste for athletics and adventure. Back in his day, he used to have "a pretty mean backhand" in ping-pong, which he still plays today in The Remington Club's game room.
 
Kernaghan, too, has a long list of adventures she has been embarking upon. Recently, she went cage diving with great white sharks off the coast of South Africa — which she says was scary but not as scary as seeing elephants up close from a Jeep.
 
This wasn't the first adventure Halpern and Kearnaghan tackled together. Six years ago, they did a charity walk in support of multiple sclerosis research.

Their adrenaline-fueled pairing is just one example of the many friendships between residents and staff at The Remington Club. With more than 300 team members to the 400 residents in their care, the staff of this continuing care retirement community (CCRC) makes building lasting personal relationships a priority. "That's why we're here," Kearnaghan says. "We take pride in the longevity of our team members. Eighty-four current employees have a tenure of 10 years or more at The Remington Club." Within this thriving community, intergenerational friendships aren’t the exception —they’re the norm.   
 
With his 96th birthday right around the corner, Halpern says he'll probably keep his feet on the ground this year, though he's still going on recreational and charity walks and striking fear into the hearts of his opponents at the ping-pong table. As for his memories of the jump? "It was well worth it!"

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