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A Cover Girl Shares Her Secret

If you want to know the secret to successful aging, look no further than Onie Mae Clark. 

Carillon Assisted Living Resident

Mae Clark makes her home at Carillon of Knightdale.

Just days from her 93rd birthday, “Mae,” as she’s known to family and friends, possesses a rare kind of beauty. People don’t look at Mae Clark and wonder what she looked like when she was young.  Hers is a face that speaks not of glory days gone by, but of the thrill of living in the here and now.  

From her residence at Carillon Assisted Living of Knightdale, Clark shares her views on everything from being featured in Carillon’s print and television advertising, to her late-in-life transition from wallflower to life-of-the-party.

Q: You’re known for your fun, friendly nature. Have you always been that way?

A:  “No, and in fact, there was a time when I never would have been able to sit and talk and laugh with you like I’m doing now. I changed quite a bit when my husband died 24 years ago. He was the outgoing one. I referred to him on most things.

When he died, I got the feeling my children were thinking, ‘Oh, how is mama going to get by without daddy?’  Well, I decided to show them, and everyone, what I could do.”

Q:  What prompted you to move to assisted living, and why did you chose Carillon?

A: I was hospitalized in 2010, and I was very weak when I went home. Not long after that, my doctor told my children that I should not be living alone. I was determined not to live with my children, because I knew that, sooner or later, my being there would keep them from doing things. And to tell you the truth, I wanted a place that I could call home. I came here and just loved it immediately. I felt right at home from day one.  

Q: How did you feel when Carillon asked you to appear in the company’s advertisements?

A: “I said, ‘Here I am! What you see is what you get.’ I was happy to do it, because as I said, this is my home. I am happy here.  And it’s fun. I’ve had friends tell me, “Mae, I saw you in the newspaper the other day,” and I just laugh.”

Q: What is your secret to living well, and aging well?

A: As far as the body, I haven’t done anything special – just eat well, rest well, and be active. I clean my face really good every night, and use Oil of Olay.

But I’ll tell you: the exercise is so important.  When I moved in here, I told them, ‘I’m going to wear this new carpet out, walking here, there and everywhere.’ I don’t sit in my room staring at the walls. Why should I? This is a beautiful place to live and there’s so much to do. I want to do as much as I can, for as long as I can.”


Posted in Resident and Community Life, Resources, Sage Stories on March 14, 2013

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