Being a centenarian is an exceptional and somewhat rare feat. The odds of any of us making it to dizzying heights of 100 years old are slim, about 5,000 to one in fact. So it’s no surprise then that centenarians represent just 0.03% of the Canadian population.
At Aspira Retirement Living we like to celebrate that tiny percentage. We pride ourselves on prioritizing the health, well-being, and longevity of our residents. Our nutritious and delicious meals as well as our brimming activity & fitness schedules are designed to keep anyone who stays with us healthy, satisfied, and engaged. Passing milestone ages can evoke mixed feelings in some, but the majority of people tend to experience pride and gratitude when reaching such ages as 80, 90, and 100.
When a resident has been with us for a number of years and they hit the big 100, it is a very proud moment for the person in question, but also a proud moment for Aspira. Our Purpose is cultivating happiness in our residents’ daily lives so when they become a centenarian we wear that fact like a badge of honour.
Since there is no official day to celebrate centenarians in Canada we thought we’d create one. We chose the 100th day of the year, which in this case is April 10 and we talked to three of our 100+ year olds to ask them about their life at Aspira and their secret to a longer life.
Evelyn Freedland (Aspira Kensington Place)
Evelyn, 100, moved into Aspira six years ago. She was born and raised in Toronto along with her eight siblings. She grew up in poverty, but according to Evelyn, all that matters is family. When she got married she lived with her parents and helped to care for them. The importance of family is what continues to keep her young and thriving. Evelyn has four beautiful children as well as several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Moving to Aspira Kensington Place has given her a sense of safety and comfort. When asked about her life as a whole she said, “I am a very lucky person.”
Ken May (Aspira Kawartha Lakes)
Ken is 101 years old “going on 102.” He added that being 101 feels fantastic. “I still walk, talk, have all my wits about me and I still go to the legion once a week!” So what is his secret to a long life? “I never smoked, I drank very little, even in the army I never drank and my religion, I believe, had a lot to do with it. I had a lot of people praying for me over the years and my mother made me promise that I’d one day meet her in heaven, so I have to stay good.”
Ken makes no secret of how much he loves his life at Aspira. “I enjoy my life here. I can sit at my desk in my room, look at the parking lot, at the bus and all the staff coming and going. I work on my book when I feel like it, and sit back and snooze when I don’t. I like my meals being made and no dishes after. I can do activities if I feel like it and if I don’t, I don’t have to. It’s a simple life, and I love it.”
Doris Dray (Aspira Kawartha Lakes)
Doris is 101 and lives at the same residence as Ken, Aspira Kawartha Lakes, in the beautiful town of Bobcaygeon, Ontario. So how does it feel to be centenarian? “It feels normal, I feel happy that I am well,” said Doris. “I don’t know why I’ve lived such a long life, I am a happy soul, one of my aunts lived to be 104. We were both nurses.” And how does she find retired life in Bobcaygeon with Aspira? “I think security is the main thing. If I were by myself I wouldn’t be so safe, it’s close to my niece and cousin which is the only family I have left. It’s a nice place to live.”
Evelyn, Doris, and Ken are just three of Aspira’s many centenarians. Below is a list of some of the rest.
Fay Isakow, Aspira Kensington Place (100),
Ida Kestenberg, Aspira Kensington Place (100),
Jeanine Lloyd, Aspira Lynde Creek Gardens (100),
Mary Lou Kellet, Aspira Traditions of Durham (100),
Reta Parr, Aspira Island Park (100),
Millie Borchert, Okanagan Chateau (100),
Helen Noble, Aspira Douglas Crossing (102),
Margaret Raets, Aspira Douglas Crossing (104),
Rose Moneit, Aspira Kensington Place (105),
Ethel Rosenberg, Aspira Kensington Place (102),
Marjorie Ward, Aspira Douglas Crossing (100)
Aspira wishes all centenarians a happy 100th day of the year this April 10.