Senior Caregiver Spotlight

ANNIE SHURTLEFF “I’ve always been very involved.

I’ve always been a traveler from the time I was born,” said Tulsan Annie Gilcrease Shurtleff.

“I’ve always been curious, and I love people.” Shurtleff, a self-described optimist, brings that positive energy into everything she does.

A community volunteer for decades, her decision to retire in 1995 opened the door to new adventures.

Shurtleff began what she calls her “second career” in seasonal hospitality work.

According to her, working around the U.S. in various national parks and resorts has been one of the most rewarding things she’s ever done.

These temporary gigs have taken her everywhere from the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone to Mesa Verde and Austin.

 “I’ve been able to pick and choose areas of the country where I wanted to be involved,” she said.

“I had paid positions that allowed me to get what I call my ‘walking around money.’

It’s extended my retirement savings.”

Shurtleff has particularly enjoyed her time at the YMCA of the Rockies in Colorado, where she’s returned several times.

She believes it’s helped her maintain both her physical and spiritual health.

“I’ve made friends there who are from all over the United States.

We also work with young people from 20 different countries.

Interacting with them has kept me very youthful and active,” she laughed. Shurtleff puts in plenty of time in her home community, too.

Having lived in neighborhoods across Tulsa, she thinks it’s important to support all areas of town with her time and her money.

Her go-to organization for volunteering is RSVP of Tulsa, a nonprofit agency that connects people age 55 and older with opportunities for community service.

Shurtleff ’s positive attitude permeates every aspect of her life including her immediate community.

She recently started a pickleball program at her condominium complex to encourage her neighbors to get out and try new activities.

“I try to look for opportunities to give people enthusiasm and joy,” she said. “It can be adaptable to their situation.

If they can’t walk a mile, let’s walk half a mile.

That kind of thing.” At 75, Shurtleff is proud of her age and continues to explore new ways to be involved in Tulsa and beyond.

“I took a Dale Carnegie course years ago,” she recalled. “I learned something that I kept on my mirror for a long time.

‘Act enthusiastic and you will be enthusiastic.’ I think that’s just amazing.”

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