Seniors Help Seniors in Honor of National Senior Citizens Day
At 99 years old, Mildred “Millie” Miller has lived a long life of goodwill and good spirits.
A resident of Grand Oaks Assisted Living Residence, she’s been a member of her local Kiwanis Club and a long-time philanthropic volunteer with her Capitol Hill church, where she and her late husband, Woodrow Miller, met during Sunday School at just 10 years old.
A lifelong resident of Washington, D.C., Millie taught business at the girls Burdick Vocational School. Through countless endeavors, she’s made her community a brighter place—and even helped to build the assisted living residence where she now lives.
As we celebrate National Senior Citizens Day on Aug. 21, folks like Millie are looking back on their greatest achievements. On Aug. 19, 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation declaring Aug. 21 a national day to support, honor, and show appreciation of seniors, and to recognize their achievements and contributions to our communities—like the contribution that Millie and her late husband made through Grand Oaks.
Years ago, the Millers joined the Sibley Seniors Association, the volunteer committee for seniors ages 50 and over that helped bring Grand Oaks to life in September 2000. “It’s a group of retired people with time to fool around with advancing projects,” Millie laughs.
For years, they had a grand idea to open an expansive senior living residence on the campus of Sibley Memorial Hospital, where aging D.C. metro residents would have comfortable surroundings, personalized assistance, 24-hour nursing support, and a full range of activities and services.
“There are lots of nice places to live here in Washington, but not enough for all of the old people because we live longer,” Millie says. “Seniors needed a nice place to go. It was a big project. For a long time, it was just on paper and in our minds.”
Since the idea for Grand Oaks began, the Millers had planned on one day becoming Grand Oaks residents. “We made a deposit when they broke ground here,” Millie says, “and the apartment just sat here waiting for us for years. It was always our intention to come here.”
On April Fools Day of 2015, Millie moved into the home she helped build through her volunteer efforts. Unfortunately, her late husband did not. He passed away of cancer 25 years prior.
Today, Millie spends her time attending learning sessions on Parkinson’s disease and senior health and fitness, or visiting the on-site salon to get her hair done. On other days, the Palisades Library visits and brings books she wants to read.
“I don’t do any cooking. I don’t have to go to the store—Grand Oaks does everything I need now,” she says. “I like the lack of responsibility. That’s good for an old person. And, the neighborhood and apartment layouts are fantastic.”