WINDHAM — While ideas on how to age gracefully vary, one centenarian in Windham, Mary Dentler, attributes her 106 years to a positive attitude and the occasional adventure.
Dentler, who loves the oldies and has a fondness for classical music, regularly attends the entertainment hosted by Windham Terrace Assisted Living, where she lives. She enjoys singing along during musical activities, the staff says. A self-proclaimed night owl, she even attends local concerts when she can.
Dentler says she sees each day as a new opportunity to live well and enjoy the life she feels blessed with.
“I never could have imagined that I would make it to this age. I just try to live each day like it’s a gift,” said Dentler, whom the staff says is noted for her smile and for being impeccably dressed.
“Over the years, many things about the world have changed, but the one thing that has remained constant for me is the importance of being kind and just how special it is to be close with your family,” she said. “Living at Windham Terrace enables me to be as busy and active as I want and ensures that I’m able to live on my terms. I have a wonderful life and am blessed with good health, even though I can’t say I’ve ever done anything to make that possible except be incredibly lucky.”
Dentler says the world today is far different from what she had imagined when she was growing up. She often reflects on pivotal events like the Great Depression and World War II, recounting how they shaped the world. A former teacher, Dentler taught in the English department at Cambridge Latin School in Cambridge, Mass., for four years before marrying her husband, Carl.
Looking back on her life, her fondest memories come from her 63-year marriage to Carl and the time they spent raising their three children and watching them start their own families. Dentler says her six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren bring her great joy, and she loves having them visit her at the senior living community. One of her favorite activities is to sit with great-granddaughter Addison and listen as the middle-schooler reads to her.
“The beautiful thing about getting older is that life can be whatever you want it to be, and it might as well be fun,” Dentler said. “Too many people today are negative and looking for something to be upset about, and that’s just not what life should be. I’ve been so very blessed through every stage of my life, and this is just the next one it seems. Life has been good, and I’m going to do everything I can to keep it that way.”
Lynda Brislin, Windham Terrace executive director, said she hopes Dentler’s story will inspire others “to live life without limits and pursue the moments that bring them joy and redefine what it means to grow up and live life well.”