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Hot Air Balloon visit to The Legacy Willow

Members of The Legacy Willow Bend, Plano’s true life care retirement community, enjoyed a fun-filled two-day celebration recently to promote the benefits of leading an active and healthy lifestyle while highlighting older adults’ abilities to live well. In honor of Active Aging Week led by the International Council on Active Aging® (ICAA), seniors participated in a variety of unique activities, and the theme “Let the Adventure Begin,” could not have been more appropriate. Alice Carpenter, the wellness coordinator at The Legacy Willow Bend, organized everything from cooking and belly dancing demonstrations to meditation and Get Fit exercise classes and even a special creative art class using The Zentangle Method. Other opportunities included games and relays and a “one-mile fun walk” so that members across all levels of care could join festivities indoors and outdoors throughout both days in a safe, fun and friendly atmosphere at the community.

“This was an innovative way to celebrate our members’ dedication to being physically active and engaged in different kinds of activities,” described Carpenter. “I love the concept behind the International Council on Active Aging® reminding everyone that adults over the age of 50 are still fully functioning members of society, and they enjoy learning how to improve fitness and increase their knowledge about nutrition and healthy eating choices as much as the next person. 

After a “one-mile fun walk” around the campus, things kicked off on the first day at 10 a.m. with Carpenter’s Get Fit class, which included exercises at different stations and incorporated weights, exercise balls and resistance bands. As the members moved through the stations, they got a full-body workout and enjoyed fun music as they went. Following that, members had the opportunity to participate in an Aqua Aerobics Class (H20 on the Go!), and then in the afternoon, enjoyed a healthy cooking class led by The Legacy Willow Bend’s executive chef, Jeff Rosenhoover. That gave them the chance to engage in a hands-on learning experience preparing healthy salads and wraps. Of course, everyone was encouraged to indulge in his or her own delicious creation afterward as well. The community then had a hot air balloon visit at the campus that evening brought by the Metroplex Ballooning Association.

Day Two began with another “Fun Walk” opportunity in the morning followed by games and relays and a meditation class. Then the real fun began as a troupe from Dalida Belly Dance School comes performed and gave a short class for those who wanted to participate. Dalida, who teaches classes in Dallas and Plano and provides workshops locally as well as internationally, came to teach the members at The Legacy Willow Bend.

“Belly dancing can benefit several parts of the body in ways many may not realize,” explained Carpenter. “Not only are you able to get a great lower-body workout, but the movements incorporate the shoulders and exercise the back muscles as well. Strong back muscles prevent back injures and they promote good posture. Belly dancing also aids in digestion! Exercising the abdominal area by swaying the torso helps food move through the digestive system.”

The day concluded with a special art class taught by The Legacy Willow Bend’s Lifestyle & Member Assistance Coordinator Lisa Harris. She instructed the seniors on The Zentangle Method – how to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. This helped increase focus and creativity among the members while giving them artistic satisfaction and an increased sense of personal wellbeing as everyone was encouraged to take his/her artwork home to enjoy. 

“We always enjoy putting on such events for our members here at the community,” said Marilyn Israel, executive director of The Legacy Willow Bend. “It’s as encouraging to us as it is to each of them just seeing the way they feel empowered and excited through such fun and health-focused activities. We look forward to making our involvement in this international movement of Active Aging Week an annual occurrence moving forward.”


The Legacy Willow Bend, Plano’s first and only life care retirement community, is situated on a 28-acre site at Spring Creek Parkway between Preston Road and Ohio Drive. The Legacy Willow Bend offers resort-style services and amenities for active, independent seniors, as well as all levels of health care services on-site. The community features 103 independent living apartment homes, 12 custom independent living villas, 40 assisted living apartment homes, 18 memory support suites, and 60 private skilled healthcare suites.


The Legacy Willow Bend is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit retirement community owned by parent company, The Legacy Senior Communities, Inc. The Legacy Willow Bend, the only Jewish-sponsored life care retirement community in Texas, is open to people of all faiths.  For information, call (972) 468-6208, or visit