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Remarkable birthday party might be a sign of the (senior) times

Irwin Block Special to The Senior Times

September 2011

A special birthday celebration for 22 people could be called a “sign of the (senior) times.”

Nineteen women and three men had a collective birthday party last month and all were celebrating the fact they had lived 100 years or more.

The celebration was held at the Jewish Eldercare Centre on Victoria for eight residents who had reached 100: six were 101, two were 102, and three are turning 103.

The most senior celebrants were 104, 105, 107, and the eldest, Bella (Huss) Zomberg is 109.

This year’s crop of super seniors was described by Robin Thornton, a centre spokesperson, as “pretty astonishing,” because it is almost double last year’s total of 13 who had reached the 100 or more mark.

A cleaner and healthier environment and vastly improved health care are the basic reasons people live longer in most developed countries, Thornton noted.

As of 2007, the life expectancy for Canadian men was 78, for women 83, Statistics Canada found. That’s a good decade longer than the corresponding figure in 1960-62, when men could expect to live to 68, women to 74.

The centre is home to 320 residents and is designed for people who can no longer live on their own.

“We encourage residents to live as autonomously as possible,” Thornton said. The centre tries to avoid regimentation. For example, late risers can stay in bed until 9 a.m. and still get breakfast. Lunch can be eaten when residents want. Dozens of organized activities include bingo, bowling, shuffleboard, concerts and pet therapy.

It caters to a Jewish clientele, offering kosher food and holiday celebrations, but all denominations are welcome to live there.


Russian-born Brukha Rozenman says regular exercise is the key to her longevity.

Barbados-born Caroline Ford, mother of seven, is strongly reli- gious and sings hymns with gusto. Holocaust survivor Franja Kruger is a retired hat designer who selects different headgear every day from her vast collection. And Ethel Brodwin: “Respect people and they will like you. If you like a person, show them.

“There’s too much hate in the world.”



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