Senior Women Who Just Get It Right

Inspiring Senior Women

In honor of International Women’s Day on the 8th, our senior living advisors will shed light on some senior women who are role models in their field and to those who know them. While some of these women might not be “famous,” they absolutely deserve recognition for their accomplishments. One similarity you’ll see with all of these women, and most people who have chased their dreams, is that they never stopped. While some original plans or goals might not have worked out for them, they continued on their journey and paved their own path.

Joy Behar, 80 years old.

You might recognize the name from the popular daytime TV show “The View.” Joy started her career as an English teacher, but the school administration did not approve of her outspoken ways. She left to start her career in show business, claiming she was “still teaching, only now I have a bigger audience.” As a divorced single mother at 40, she picked herself up and decided to pursue stand-up comedy. By 1997, she gained national fame when she joined “The View.” She went on to co-host the show for twenty years! Now she guest hosts, has had a few shows of her own, and shows no sign of slowing down at the ripe age of 80 years old.

Ernestine Shepherd, 86 years old.

Ernestine is a mother, grandmother, and retired school teacher, but she also holds the title of the world’s oldest competitive female bodybuilder! If you’ve never heard of Ernestine before, you’ll be surprised to know she started her bodybuilding journey at 71 years old! Before the age of 56, she had never exercised or played any sports at all, until she decided she wanted to lose some weight. She started slowly with walking and aerobics, then she hired a personal trainer at 71. Seven months later, she won her first bodybuilding show. Ernestine doesn’t compete anymore, but instead leads senior fitness classes and marathons. You may have seen Ernestine’s cameo appearance in Beyonce’s hit visual “Black is King” in 2020.

Iris Apfel, 101 years old.

Iris Apfel is an American businesswoman, interior designer, and fashion icon who is still working at age 101! She began her career as an art student in 1921 and went on to start a textile company with her husband called, “Old World Weavers.” She led the “jeans” revolution for women in the 1930s (thank you, Iris) when neither men nor women wore them. In 2005, she was asked to help save a failing show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. While there, she displayed the jewelry and clothing collection that ended up launching her mainstream fashion career. Since then, she has been a visiting professor teaching students how to build a fashion career, made a documentary, and even signed her first modeling contract in 2019. Over her career, she has also written three books about fashion and design. Iris is still working today and has no plans to retire!

Inspirational Seniors in Cape May County, NJ

While all of these women have very different stories, all followed their passions one way or another and never gave up. While some did not discover these passions until much later in their lives, they never let the factor of their age hold them back. We urge you to remember the same. You can still pursue your dreams, no matter how old you think you feel! At our  independent lifestyle community for seniors, UMC at The Shores, we take away the day to day responsibilities, creating time for seniors to pursue their passions wholeheartedly. Our goal has and will always remain the same: to help seniors live the most abundant life possible.

For more information about our inspirational seniors living in Cape May County, please visit our website at:

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