Happiness key to a long life

Margaret Wilson resident Theresa Ford celebrates her 100th birthday. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Margaret Wilson resident Theresa Ford celebrates her 100th birthday. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Timaru centenarian Theresa Ford used to tell everyone she was going to live to 100.

"When I got to 88, I thought I’ll give it a go."

The Margaret Wilson resident’s achievement was marked earlier this month with a letter from King Charles III.

She had one piece of advice for anyone wanting to live a long and healthy life.

"Don’t sit in the gloom, keep your mind busy, keep thinking ahead [like] what will I do tomorrow?

"Find someone to talk to, otherwise you could get lonely."

She felt there were two lives you had to navigate to get to 100.

"When I was younger there were days where I was so busy I just wished I could sit down, and now it is the very opposite."

But, she felt the key thing was to socialise, to keep happy and to laugh lots.

"You get by with laughing."

She also thought people should remember to drink in moderation.

"Socialise, but know when to stop."

She felt alcohol could spoil an evening or an atmosphere.

The biggest piece of advice she could pass on to younger people was to enjoy their independence while they had it.

"Enjoy your car. You miss driving, grabbing your car keys and going wherever you want."

She said there was only so much walking one person could do.

Mrs Ford had had an active life, playing basketball as a child and golf in later life.

The golf had purely been for exercise, not for competition, she said.

Mrs Ford’s father had served in World War 1, where he had been wounded.

She had gone through the Great Depression.

Her family had looked after her grandmother.

"She was crippled from palsy, us kids would have to take her to the toilet."

When World War 2 arrived, the family had bought a small amount of land, "to keep us out of mischief".

"We thought it was awful, moving away from the city.

"It was a good old life."

When peace was declared, her oldest brothers were in camp on final leave.

She looked after her mother in her mother’s later life as she had been the only girl left.

Life had not been easy at times.

"But I’ve mastered it."

SHELLEY.INON @timarucourier.co.nz