Age doesn't stop Barbara Beskind from following her passion

By Alexandra Zaslow
Updated March 03, 2015 06:40 PM
Courtesy IDEO

She may be decades older than her colleagues, but this 91-year-old woman brings all the wisdom she’s collected in her long life – and that’s something you can’t teach.

As a young girl, Barbara Beskind dreamed of becoming an inventor. Now, at 91 years old, she’s seeing it through.

Beskind works as a tech designer for IDEO, a Silicon Valley design firm, according to TODAY.

Her passion for inventing began nine decades ago during the Great Depression, but she couldn’t follow it because the related college courses were reserved for men. So she ended up joining the army and becoming an occupational therapist instead.

But she always had a passion for creating things. When she was 10 years old, she made a hobby horse out of old tires.

“I learned a lot about gravity because I fell off so many times,” Beskind tells TODAY.

Two years ago, she read an article about IDEO, which is famous for creating the first mouse for Apple, and decided to apply for a job, saying: “Now nearly 90, I am anxious to be involved with others who share a passion for problem solving and innovative design.”

She leaves her senior living community, takes public transportation and walks a few blocks to the office every Thursday.

“IDEO is my second family. Everybody gives you a hug and they’re very supportive,” she says. “On Thursday I feel 30 years younger.”

Beskind primarily works on projects pertaining to aging. She feels like her coworkers can’t always put themselves in the shoes of the elderly.

“People who design for the elderly think they need jeweled pill boxes or pink canes. We need functional equipment,” Beskind says.

“She’s not afraid to roll up her sleeves,” Gretchen Addi, who works at IDEO, tells PEOPLE. “She’s just an incredible resource for us.”

And the designer is thankful for her job.

“It makes aging more tolerable, more enjoyable, she tells NPR. “I enjoy the age I’m in. I think it’s one of the best chapters of my life.”