Monday, 20 September 2010

The Secret? Humour

I liked this article from today's Winnipeg Free Press.

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

What's the secret? 'No sex after 40'

Centenarians share their formula

Stella Baran, 101, with daughter Nettie Kowbel (left) and granddaughter Donna Wankling, lives in her own suite, works out.


Stella Baran, 101, with daughter Nettie Kowbel (left) and granddaughter Donna Wankling, lives in her own suite, works out.

EAT bacon and eggs for breakfast every day except Friday. Lift weights. Be yourself. No sex after 40. Have a sense of humour. Pray.

These are just a few anti-aging tips some true longevity experts shared Sunday at an exclusive party in their honour in south Winnipeg.

A retirement home put a call out inviting Manitobans ages 100 and up for a birthday bash.

Eighteen centenarians showed up at Seine River Retirement Residence Sunday, where they were feted with fancy sandwiches, balloons, birthday cake and politicians' good wishes. Some of the birthday partiers were willing and able to share some wisdom on how to live a long life.

"Be happy and be yourself," said Marge Mewha, who grew up in Teulon. The great-great-grandmother lives in her own apartment and said she gets her exercise keeping the place tidy.

"No drinking, no smoking, no sex after 40," deadpanned Irene Rowlin, who turns 105 next month. She taught piano until she was 85 and served as a school trustee in St. James in the 1960s.

"Work," said Norman Wicharenko, 100, a retired farmer who still lives in his own home in Cooks Creek. He and his wife will celebrate their 74th wedding anniversary next month. He said he makes himself bacon and eggs for breakfast every day except Friday -- porridge day.

"Eat porridge every morning," suggests Myrtle Bargery, 102. She grew up on a farm near Beausejour, has kept her figure and maintained her weight. Bargery and her husband never had kids or owned a car and walked everywhere.

Don't stop moving just because you're old, the centenarians said.

"I work as much and eat as much as I can," said Stella Baran, 101. She lives in her own apartment and prepares her own meals. Baran also lifts free weights, walks laps on a track twice a week and has three great-great-great-grandchildren.

But being so old isn't a piece of cake, said Margaret Loewen.

"I shouldn't be here, but here I am," Loewen laughed. She had skin cancer removed from her face a few days ago, but felt well enough and wanted to attend the party with her peers.

Loewen came to Canada from Russia in 1926 at 17 to work on a farm near Carman before marrying and starting her own farm. When times got tough, she relied on hard work and her faith.

"Call on the Lord and it goes away," Loewen said.

On the farm, there was no store nearby. They survived on the vegetables and chickens they raised, literally living off the land, she said.

Eighty years later, all that exposure to the sun has left Loewen with skin cancer that she regularly has removed.

"It's not easy," she said of being 100 -- not the cancer. Like many of the 100-plus partygoers, Loewen is hard of hearing and her eyesight is is getting worse.

"I can't see faces," said the outgoing woman, who has a dozen great-great-great-grandchildren. Loewen recently moved into a seniors residence. She struggles to recognize her new neighbours at meals but making friends is worth the effort, she said.

"Do a lot to get happy."

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 20, 2010 A3

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