At 82 years old, Murphy, a resident of Casa de Merced Senior Community in Mesa, Ariz., walks 5 miles every day.
Murphy is a member of Seniors Walking with Attitude Team (SWAT), a Mercy Housing Southwest program that encourages seniors from several Phoenix-area properties to stay active as they age, so they can continue to live independently. This year, Mercy Housing Southwest produced a calendar, highlighting residents who take part in the program.
Murphy, also known as “Miss January” in the calendar, moved to Arizona from New Orleans just four months before Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast in 2005.
“I count my blessings because I wasn’t (in New Orleans),” Murphy said. “But because I lived with so many different people before finding my own home with Mercy Housing, I felt like I was homeless. I am so grateful at this time in my life to have found a home where I feel safe, secure and valued.”
The opportunities provided by Mercy Housing, combined with Murphy’s strength of spirit and energy, have allowed her to remain active and healthy. She participates in Casa de Merced’s Health and Wellness program, which provides nutrition workshops, lessons on how to eat well on a limited budget and on-site physical activities for seniors and families.
Each year, SWAT leads senior residents on a several-mile walk, which Murphy’s 63-year-old daughter, Glenda, was able to join her in this year. Murphy eventually had to leave her poor daughter in the dust, because, apparently, Glenda just couldn’t keep up with her Calendar Girl mother.
“Everybody just loves Miss Gloria. She’s got energy and a bright smile and more than just a little Southern charm,” said Lena Kelly, Mercy Housing Southwest Resource Development Director. “She is the epitome of aging successfully in one place.”
To read more about Mercy Housing residents like Gloria Murphy and other news throughout the nation, check out our latest issue of News from Our Neighborhoods.