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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

May 11 Celebrate Life, Honoring our Centenarians

Yesterday I had the privilege of attending the annual Centenarian Luncheon at Drexelbrook. There were 47 centenarians or people who are 100 or older at the luncheon with his or her family. Yes, his. Even though women live longer than men, there were 2 male centenarians present at the luncheon. The other 45 ladies were dressed to perfection some needing assistance from a family member and some walking or even driving to the event on their own independently! I had the privilege to sit with a 105 year old lady who was incredibly independent using only a walker to get around, standing with little to no assistance and able to converse with us at our table. An extraordinary life she told us she was one of 20 children and that she came to PA at the age of 13 from the country, noting she was a "country girl".

She was sitting with a young man of about 30 and when I asked if he was her grandson, he tried to answer for her saying he was her caregiver at the facility but she quickly interrupted him by swatting him on the arm as if to say don't tell anyone I live in a facility!. Her independence was truly amazing and we were blessed to have been sitting with her.

The afternoon was such fun for all. Third graders from Worral Elementary school sang Frank Sinatra songs to the group and Lisa Thomas Laury from action news interviewed a couple of centenarians and their families. Sitting with our guest who was 105 was truly amazing to watch as she listened to the kids sing and then she clapped appropriately at the end of each song and I think at one point she even gave some feedback about the singing to her caregiver. I couldn't help but think at one point, the kids are about 10 years old and she is 105, what she could teach them about history having lived through what she described the good and bad times.

And what a caregiver he was. I asked him if he volunteered to bring her or if the facility asked him to do it. He then shared with us that someone was scheduled to bring her but that person could not and when he found out about it, he came in on his day off and brought her himself to the luncheon. A kindness that we all admired and were grateful for. To go in on your day off and take a 105 year old lady to a luncheon takes someone with a humble and generous heart.

It was a great day shared by all. A big thank you to Barb Nicolardi and her staff at COSA who organized and put on the event and to Drexelbrook for great food and fun.

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