Retired Seniors Stay Active with Engineering in 'Man Cave'
Morty is a radio controlled, talking, walking, or more precisely, rolling robot.
It’s creator is Al Ladine, a retired engineering physicist at Irvine’s Atria Woodbrige Senior Center.
“It just started out with a design in my head you might say,” Ladine said. “I wanted to start building some of these prosthetic devices. And I thought, well I’ve always needed something in the means of testing them. So I thought well, nothing better than a robot.”
Made of out ply wood and plastic pipes as its basis, Morty is just one of the many creations in Ladine’s ‘Man Cave,’ an outlet that’s special to many male seniors at Atria Woodbridge.
“It’s basically a good outlet for expression for one thing,” Ladine said.
The ‘Man Cave’ serves as an active pastime for retirees at Atria Woodbrige. Senior Rodney Hoff has been involved for a year now and says it adds excitement to this retirement.
“It makes it livable because otherwise, it can be very boring and time passes awful slow,” Hoff said. “It keeps us active and doing something. You need to have something to do like this, otherwise you become a hermit.”
Many of the seniors here have sight problems. Ladine, for one, is legally blind. But the volunteers and members help each other out, building radio controlled planes, helicopters, clocks, and even motorized racing jockeys.
Ladin’e ‘Man Cave’ won an excellence in Innovator’s Award from the International Council of Active Againg. But it’s not an all exclusive men’s club. The lady seniors here also play a special part.
Ruth Suttner hand painted figurines in most of the planes displayed in the room. She also painted the panel board that decorates this racing jockey.
“It’s an advantage to be busy as you get older and not just sit around by yourself,” Suttner said. “These activities keep us alert and active and interested, and that’s good for us mentally as well as physically.”
“I want them to forget some of their aches and pains. A lot of them just sit around just kind of feeling sorry for themselves. If they stay active then they forget out it,” Ladine said.
In that way, the ‘Man Cave’ is giving Ladine and his peers one memorable senior year.