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Pam Renga might be retired, but she’s busier than ever! A Michigan transplant, Renga and her husband Ivars came to Roanoke thanks to a cousin. Because of nearby family, she was familiar with the area and all it has to offer. She and Ivars made a few visits to The Glebe retirement community, opting to live in one of their cottages. The friendly, helpful people sealed the deal in deciding to move south.
“We lived on a farm for years,” Renga says. “When we came here and I realized how much free time I had, I knew I could do so much more.”
Within her first year at The Glebe, Renga joined the community book club, volunteers at the thrift store, participates in the wellness program, and is the chairperson on the welcoming committee for new members. Also the organizer of Ladies’ Night, she and several women will hop on the bus to head into town each week for dinner and a movie. She even convinced The Glebe to bring in a ping pong table, hosting games and tournaments for residents.
She also enjoys seeing the Roanoke Symphony and attending concerts within The Glebe’s schedule. Renga has no plans to slow down. At 68, she’s the youngest member at The Glebe and has plenty of future plans.
“I recently returned from Sri Lanka and I travel back home [to Michigan] to see my grandkids. I can’t wait to go to Ireland,” she says.
Renga appreciates the community aspect of living at The Glebe, enjoying being with friends and having many things taken care of, such as her meals. She’s gluten-free, so to be able to simply walk into the dining room and know they’ve taken care with her personal menu is comforting.
“Don’t wait too long to get involved,” she says. “It’s important that you’re well enough to make friends while you’re here to get that sense of community and family. Get there while you’re well enough to meet people and make friends. If you’re going to age in your own home, think about how close your home is to other people if something were to happen.”
She also highly recommends staying active and participating in classes or events offered by the community. Not only is she surrounded by people (a plus if anything were to happen), but she gets to learn new things and interact socially with friends.
As a Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner, Renga also leads a “Mindful Movements” class dedicated to helping her fellow retirees learn more about their bodies. The Feldenkrais method is a way of learning to move more freely and carry less stress in your body through gentle movement and directed attention. Renga has helped several of her friends through larger classes and private lessons; her 92-year-old friend and star pupil Bruce can now get down on the floor and back up without any problem, something she never thought she’d do again.
“It’s really your mindset,” Renga says. “If you believe and are willing to work, you can do it. It all depends on the person.”