Rocking Chair Renegades: Ruth Keilen

Rocking Chair Renegades: Ruth Keilen

A Rocking Chair Renegade is a woman over 50 who: refuses to let age define her and is not afraid of showing the lines of life on her face… believes that the fountain of youth springs from her mind… is wise, funny, active, engaging, valuable, beautiful and definitely not finished!

Lives: Murrells Inlet

Family: I live with my husband, Phillip, of 34 years and have four adult children and five grandchildren ranging from 2-19.

Occupation: I am the Business Development Specialist with MercyCare, the only non-profit hospice in Horry County. I’ve worked in the senior health field for over ten years.

Volunteers: I volunteer as an Accredited Visitor with Mended Hearts for Grand Strand Regional Medical Center, Waccamaw Community Hospital and Georgetown Memorial Hospital. I am the founder of the Mended Hearts support group (peer to peer support for people who have had heart events) at HealthPoint in Litchfield and am the VP of a group at Grand Strand. I also volunteer for the Georgetown County United Way, have been a co-facilitator for the Bureau on Aging program Better Choices, Better Health and participated in committees with SAGES (Senior Advocates Growing Elder Services).

Hometown: I grew up in South Orange, and Avon by the Sea, New Jersey, then moved south to Beachwood for 25 years. Seven years ago, I REALLY moved south to Murrells Inlet.

Age: 36 (what I feel like), but in reverse!

Activities: volunteering, walking, travel, beach time, reading baking and genealogy.

Loves: Spending time with family and friends—I love it when I’ve recaptured my favorite childhood memories and made them stronger and brighter by sharing them with my grandchildren.

Laughs: I get a big kick out of the antics of my grandkids. They are incredibly resourceful, and you never know what insightful and blatantly honest comments will come rolling out!

Favorite Meal: Any meal where the family is gathered around is good—particularly if it involves prime rib or sharing Frogmore Stew.

Perfect Day: Starting out with an early morning beach walk to watch the sunrise, exploring new (to us) areas of South Carolina with my husband and finishing with an easy dinner at home with family.

Reads: I usually read suspense—John Grisham and Peter Baldacci are two of my favorites. I recently read Room and thought it was terrific. It’s great being able to download books—I always have a great read available.

Spirit: I keep a positive state of mind and rely on my faith. It’s amazing how goals can be actualized when you believe they can be achieved. I had an Aortic valve replacement in March, 2009. I felt great, but as a child I had rheumatic fever, so I went to a cardiologist for regular checkups. That’s how my doctor found that I needed the surgery. Otherwise, I would have probably been one of those people that just drop dead!

Gets Excited: I’m excited about living life! The Mended Hearts motto really fits—“It’s great to be alive and help others.”

Aging: Our bodies won’t stop aging, but staying involved in volunteering and being active keep the mind and spirit young. I’ve learned great lessons on the power of positive thinking from working with seniors. One 90-something woman told me she had plenty of aches and pains—and her choice was to either dwell on her discomfort at home or get out, be distracted and have a great time. She chose the great times and had a schedule packed with the activities she loved.

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