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Linden Ponds resident 1 of 50 exceptional seniors

Marty Saunders lauded by LeadingAge Association

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December 20th, 2011

When Marty Saunders received the call asking her to have lunch with Ian Brown, executive director of Linden Ponds, she immediately thought, Oh gosh, what did I do? At Linden Ponds, the Erickson Living community in Hingham, Mass., where she lives, Marty rarely stops doing. Indoors, she can be found teaching art and history to her neighbors and designing sets for the community s theater performances. Outdoors, she leads monthly historical tours of Hingham as well as efforts to preserve Linden Ponds historic grounds. Marty s drive to share her lifelong passions has made her one of the most active members of the Linden Ponds community. For this, Brown invited her to lunch to tell her that she was to be honored at a national conference for her many accomplishments. Nominated by Brown and Community Services Manager Joseph McStowe, Marty was among 50 people chosen by the LeadingAge Association for inclusion in its Celebrate Life exhibit. LeadingAge is an association of 5,600 nonprofit organizations, including Erickson Living, dedicated to expanding the world of possibilities for aging, according to its website. Nalora (Lo) Steele, who lives at Linden Ponds and directs its repertory company and singing group, was also nominated for the exhibit and received an honorable mention. I never cease to be amazed at the energy, dedication, compassion, and abilities of these two women, McStowe says. Because their interests and talents are so varied, their efforts have touched almost everyone who lives and works at Linden Ponds.

Tremendous example

Larger-than-life photos of the honorees were displayed in a spacious hallway at the LeadingAge annual meeting and International Association of Homes and Services for the Aging Global Aging Conference in Washington, D.C. The corresponding nominating essay topped each photo. Marty is a tremendous example for all of us, reads the essay, written by Brown and McStowe. Marty inspires all of us to reach our full potential and never let physical challenges limit us. Her active lifestyle and contributions to her community give nothing away, but Marty uses a motorized wheelchair and oxygen. She says living at Linden Ponds has afforded her this active lifestyle. Erickson makes my life very, very easy I don t have to do anything I don t want to, Marty says. All my needs are supplied, but I can still participate in the outside community.

On the go

Marty moved to Linden Ponds seven years ago this month from Hingham. A professional artist and historian, she teaches sculpting at Linden Ponds each week, and she designed the set for the Linden Ponds Repertory Company s holiday show last month. Next month she will teach a Lifelong Learning course titled, American History as Shown by Its Artists. Certified in historic landscaping, Marty has also made it her mission to preserve the natural beauty of Linden Ponds and the greater Hingham community. She coordinates more than a dozen committees at Linden Ponds, with tasks from pruning to keeping the community s 30-plus planters in bloom. In Hingham she works on traffic islands and planted about 200 bulbs last fall. What doesn t she do? Somebody else cleans my apartment, she says. She has retired from onerous duties and relaxed into playtime, she says. Leigh Kitcher, Marty s daughter, represented her mother at the LeadingAge award ceremony. Kitcher echoed her mother s sentiments. The thing about my mother is she s always been a very active person. She s always been very engaged, but here she doesn t have to focus on doing anything that she doesn t want to do, Kitcher says. She only has to do what she loves and she just never runs out of things to do. Kitcher adds: Mom s recognition as 1 of 50 exceptional people leading age is a testament to the wonderful environment created by Erickson Living that allows residents to focus on what they love doing, learning new things, and sharing with others without worrying about maintenance issues related to their house or health. Each day for Marty is an opportunity to take on activities she loves. Getting up every day and having a good time and meeting a lot of people I love that, she says. Linden Ponds is full of charming people. Marty adds of life at Linden Ponds: I ve had more fun than I have had any place else I ve ever lived.

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