James Ivey spent much of his life as a minister in the U.S. and as a missionary around the world. In his later years, a health incident brought him back to Middle Tennessee. Join us to learn about his “can do” attitude, why he stays motivated to help others often serving as a mentor to those around him, and the role his extended family and his daughter’s friends, the Sister Circle, play in his life.

Why is volunteering so important to you?

It gives me an opportunity to encourage others and to be positive around others in order to help them make decisions… Whenever I’m called upon to do whatever, I will always do it… I’ll always volunteer. I’ve been a pastor for 55 years. I “preached and teached…” I don’t mind being asked to do them. I’m just grateful that I’m able to do them.

Several years ago, you had a stroke, will you share a bit about that and how it has impacted your life?

It has taught me, not only patience, but it taught me the importance of being watchful of your health, taking your medications like you should, and then being able to push yourself back…  I don’t regret what happened. I’m just thankful to God that I’m still around to be able to assist and help in any way that I can… You count your blessings differently. Boy, you learn your weaknesses and your strong points. But I don’t let it stop me.

Do you think it’s important for older adults to participate in activities and senior centers?

… Staying active and involved with other people gives you an opportunity to continue your life like you once were …

Tell us how you deal with the loss of independence and how you’ve learned to cope. You know, I’ve always been independent, but when you learn your strengths — your strong points and your weaknesses — I don’t mind asking for help. To survive it takes people around you …

Several people beyond your family and children look up to you as a mentorWhy do you think that is?

I think they like my honesty. …I’ve learned how to say it in a way that I show love and [they] respect me for it …  A lot of my church friends call to ask me, “What would you do in this situation or what would you do in that situation?” I’ve always tried to be honest and give this solid advice, but most of all, I’ve tried to live like I teach and practice.

In this podcast, we learn about health and well-being from a sage in his 70s. Through his words, we can also hear the echo of the generations, as he shares powerful lessons passed on from his grandfather. This podcast focuses on positivity, perseverance, and Ivey’s extended family. From his team of doctors — who communicate well with one another due to the advocacy of his daughter — to his dedicated family and friends including those from his church, senior center, and his daughter’s beloved “Sister Circle.” We learn firsthand how a strong community of support plays a powerful role in bringing support and energy to his life.

What is it that you do to Squeeze the Day? As much as I can, and that’s the truth. I look forward to having a full day every day. every day of my life. From the time I get up to the time I go to bed, it’s getting as much involvement and as much done as I can.

Don’t miss this inspiring interview with James Ivey where through his stories we sometimes hear the voice of the retired pastor and at other times the senior seeking services. The underlying message resonating throughout the podcast is that engagement, activity, faith, perseverance, and a circle of support are important to our well-being at any age.

This Squeeze the Day is brought to you by the All of Us Research Program from the National Institutes of Health. Learn how you can help change the future of health by participating in the program.
Visit joinallofus.org to learn more.