Active Living Meets Skydiving

Senior living communities plan all sorts of outings for their residents – historical tours, dramatic plays, delicious meals – but what about skydiving? Trillium Woods residents and staff did just that on Saturday, July 13, to celebrate resident Marvin Cross’s 90th birthday.

Wanting to check off this classic item on everyone’s “bucket list,” Cross concocted this skydiving excursion. Some might think he’s crazy for wanting to jump out of an airplane at such an age, but Cross actually sees it as the perfect time.

“You only turn 90 once! Why not do something exciting?” Cross said.

Adding to the excitement of the day, several friends from Trillium Woods joined Cross for the big jump. From first-timers to self-proclaimed thrill-seekers, 13 residents and staff members – including Trillium Woods Executive Director Elizabeth Ann Fetner – took the leap, while several others tagged along to cheer on members of the Trillium Woods community.

seniors sky diving

“It’s even more special because so many others have joined the jump,” Cross said.

“Skydiving is something I’ve always wanted to do,” said resident jumper Bruce Williams, “and you can’t wait forever.”

Joanie Wright skydived for the first time when she was 80, and jumped for her third time with Cross and the Trillium Woods crew!

“When I was a little girl watching war movies on TV, I loved watching the silk parachutes floating down to the ground,” Wright said. “I always thought I would love to do that.”

All 13 jumpers had a great experience and made it on the ground safe and sound with smiles all around. Fetner recalls the adrenaline she felt wasn’t from jumping out of a plane at 12,000 feet, but from the energy and enthusiasm of the residents.

“It was epic and unforgettable,” said Fetner after the jump. “The best part of the day was observing the fun and adventurous spirit of eight Trillium Woods residents ages 74-90. Inspiring is an understatement. I’m grateful to have been a part of their day!”

Jumping out of that plane into a field in Wisconsin was everything Cross had hoped for and more.

A resident and instructor parachute out of a plane together.

“You free fall and you go over 120 miles an hour free falling,” Cross said. “And [the instructor] said it would be one minute. That was the longest minute I’ve ever lived in my life. I was scared. But when that ‘chute opened, it was fantastic. You could see the countryside and it was the nicest thing that ever happened to me.”
Trillium Woods is dedicated to helping seniors enjoy an active lifestyle, and this is taking it to the max! We could all learn a thing or two from these skydivers, most notably the importance of living life to the fullest even in our older years.

Cross is already planning his next skydiving trip for his 95th birthday, proving that with a positive attitude and courageous spirit, age has no limitations.

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