Learning from the experiences of centenarians

While life expectancies continue to rise, the 100-year mark remains a tremendous milestone that only 3,300 living Australians have been able to reach.

The first day of October is the United Nations’ International Day of Older Persons, which helps highlight the achievements of this special group, and today, Carinity is proud to celebrate the 13 centenarians who call its aged care centres home.

To mark the occasion, we talked with our oldest centenarian and a trio of residents who celebrated turning 100 this year, and discovered what they believe has helped them live for a century.

Carinity’s oldest resident, 107-year-old Evelyn Vigor, says her genes are the reason for her extraordinarily long life, helped by a well-balanced lifestyle.

“You can only get there by eating healthily. We used to go to bed early too. We looked after our heath as much as we could,” she said.

Evelyn also says a sense of humour and strong Christian values are important during life’s tough times.

Joyce Glassop, who turned 100 in May, can list a few reasons for her long life, but one of them some people might find unpalatable: abstaining from alcohol.

“I’ve never smoked, and I’ve never had alcohol. My trust in the Lord, and trying to do the right things helped too,” she said.

Her family also credits the community atmosphere at Carinity Aged Care – Brookfield, where Joyce has lived since her husband passed away more than 30 years ago.

Lillian Bounds believes cards, exercise, never drinking to excess and a good quip or two are responsible for her good hand in life.

She was introduced to cards by her father when she was young, and playing a few hands with the other residents of Carinity Aged Care – Hilltop has become one of her favourite pastimes.

Lillian is also known around the Kelvin Grove aged care centre for her quick wit.

“You should avoid getting up to mischief. But a little joke, that’s alright,” she said.

Rose Carkeet says resolve, determination, and her desire to take life one day at a time are the reasons she reached 100.

“I have just lived my life day by day. That birthday was just another day. In a way, it was special, yet just the same as any other birthday,” she said.

Caring for her family has been an important part of Rose’s life, and she enjoyed seeing her two children, five grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren to mark her birthday recently.

Evelyn, Joyce, Lillian, Rose, and Carinity’s other nine centenarians have lived very different lives, but there are common traits among the group, including a healthy lifestyle, exercise, an enthusiasm for living, and a strong belief in God.

However, all 13 have one obvious genetic similarity: they are all women.

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