Seniors compete in spelling bee

CARLISLE, Pa. (WHTM) – The annual Aging Spelling Bee in Cumberland County got heated this year. The competition puts seniors ages 50 and older to the test.

But it’s more than just fun and games.

“It’s always better to be number one,” said Nancy Baker, a 67-year-old from Carlisle.

Baker joined 17 players at the table including past winner Roderick Minaya.

“I’ve won other times in the past,” he said. “Yeah, it’s tradition.”

Minaya never misses the annual spelling bee.

“We’re able to participate in one of the greatest things,” he said.

Heather Dewire at Cumberland County Aging and Community Services says the event keeps the county’s aging population active.

“To keep their minds sharp,” she said, “and help them get out and about and visit other people.”

Cumberland County has six senior centers with activities and events to keep seniors engaged.

Baker spells it out straight:

“Everything else in my body is going to pot, but my brain’s still working,” she said.

That’s no small thing at her age – when one in three seniors develops dementia.

“Puzzles and word games and such,” he said. “Certainly at least some help to avoid those serious medical problems.”

“It’s also good for people with depression, because being home and alone, you will get depressed,” Dewire added.

Minaya was out in the seventh round. Then, it’s neck and neck between Baker and her friend Jane.

The word that ends it all: dermatology.

Baker reigns.

“I finally won this year!” she said.

It’s a win she’s not taking lightly.

“I’m just enjoying my mind while I have it,” she said.

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