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After 35 years of balancing home, parenting, and a career, some women might be ready to take a breather. Pat Mallik is not one of them: Her days in retirement are fairly bursting with activities. “I’m so, so busy!” the vibrant 78-year-old exclaims. “Just because I am retired doesn’t mean I’m going to sit in a chair and sleep: From 9 a.m. every day, I am on the move!”
For the former hairdresser and beauty consultant, four factors form the foundation of a satisfying retirement: fitness, food, family — and her own private bathroom (more about that, later).
Together with her husband, Singh, Pat’s path to Judson Park has been a circuitous one, taking the couple around the world as well as across the country. After marrying more than 50 years ago in their native India, the couple relocated to the United States for employment opportunities. Singh, now 88, was the first to make the move. “He came to find a job and an apartment, and then I joined him,” Pat explains.
The couple initially settled in Barberton and then moved on to Seattle. While Pat had been a schoolteacher in India, financial considerations became paramount after their move. “I would have liked to go to school in the U.S.,” Pat admits. “But both my husband and son were in school at that time, and we needed some money. So I changed careers and became a hairstylist, to help support my family.”
After more than three decades of living and working in Seattle, Pat and Singh, who retired from a career in mechanical engineering, relocated to Northeast Ohio in 2018, at the suggestion of their son and daughter-in-law. Fearing that Singh’s health was failing, the young Cleveland Heights couple pointed their parents toward Judson Park. And for Pat, there’s not been a moment of looking back.
Given her long career in the beauty industry, it’s no surprise that the former cosmetologist places a premium on fitness. “I want to keep myself up!” she says. “That’s why I love going to exercise classes here. I exercise at least one hour a day, every day: swimming, balance, and stretching classes. Some days, it’s more!” It’s an enthusiasm she doesn’t hesitate to share. “Sometimes I knock on my neighbors’ doors and ask them, ‘Don’t you want to come out and exercise?’”
A love of food – and home cooking – also serves as motivation to keep moving. “I do all kinds of cooking,” Pat says, “Indian, of course, but also Italian, and even Vietnamese. I try everything. Most of the time it is good … some of the time it isn’t! But because I am petite, I have to watch my weight. That’s another reason I like to keep active.”
Gardening, reading, freely sharing her beauty expertise with neighbors, and looking after her husband are also on this energetic woman’s to-do list. But while Pat has embraced her Judson lifestyle with gusto, what really thrills her is being so close to her children. “It’s been wonderful being near our son and his wife!” says Pat. “They are so supportive and so helpful. My daughter-in-law is so, so sweet — and such a good baker! And my son does all our grocery shopping and calls us twice a day, every single day.”
As a result of that constant outpouring of care and concern, Pat says, Singh’s health has greatly improved since the move to Judson. “He doesn’t hear very well, but he has gained weight, goes for exercise now, and is very sharp. That’s all thanks to my son and daughter-in-law!”
And then, there’s that bathroom.
“I love our apartment because my husband and I each have our own bathroom,” Pat chuckles. “I have my own place for all my creams and makeup and beauty items, and that way, we don’t have to share any space.
“There are so, so many reasons I’m happy at Judson,” she adds. “The exercise options are great, people are so friendly, and help is here if you need it.
“But most of all,” she laughs, “I love my bathroom!”