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How Sharon Brewer, 73, inspires Richmond’s aging and Alzheimer’s patients

Posted at 3:24 PM, Apr 23, 2015
and last updated 2015-04-23 18:36:49-04

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Whoever coined the phrase a rolling stone gathers no moss, must have been thinking about Sharon Brewer. The 73-year-old Chesterfield woman is always on the go, in fact, she rarely stops moving. She is more than happy to share her passion and energy with anyone who will listen. The certified instructor is a beloved fixture at rehab and assisted living facilities across Richmond leading aging and Alzheimer’s patients through vigorous and spirited exercise routines called Ageless Grace.

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Her playlists are as diverse as her exercises, from Duke Ellington to Donna Summer.

"Since I moved to Richmond was about 11 years ago I just hit the ground running," Brewer said. "What makes it fun is the types of exercises we do."

Brewer said her students identify with her because, well, she is their age.

"The other thing that inspires me is seeing them enjoy it so much," Brewer said. "That means a lot to me, it is so heartwarming."

What makes Brewer's activity all the more impressive, is that she lives with degenerative discs in her back and arthritis. Her tireless work with senior citizens has not gone unnoticed. Recently, a humbled Brewer was honored with the Commonwealth Award for Optimal Aging.

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"She is not only stimulating them physically, but she is stimulating them emotionally," Beaufont Health & Rehabilitation Center Admission’s Director Pamela Hoy said.

Staying active can help you inside and out, Brewer added.

"It helps them with their self-esteem. It helps them with their self-confidence," Brewer said.

Keeping up with Sharon Brewer? Forget it. It’s a fruitless endeavor. Her lifelong creed is ‘Use it or lose it’. It is a motto this dynamo takes to heart.

"It is not work. It is fun," Brewer said. "I just love it. It is so much fun."

Sharon is also a member of the Senior Choral Group which entertains audiences across Central Virginia.

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Greg McQuade and CBS 6 News are featuring local heroes in a weekly “Heroes Among Us” segment. Watch Greg’s reports Thursdays on CBS News at 6 or here on WTVR.com. If you would like to nominate someone to be featured on “Heroes Among Us,” click here to email heroes@wtvr.com.