If this doesn't prove to you that alcohol is
bad for you and
kills you everytime you use it then I don't
know what will. Every single oldest person recorded in the
world has never ever drank and this proves it. Just think
living 30-50 years longer than the average life expectancy just
by not drinking or
According to the
Guinness World Records website, the oldest "fully authentic age" to
which a person has ever lived is 122. The record was held by Jean
Louise Calment, who was born in France on February 21, 1875. She
died in 1997.
Bete, who turns 120 in May next year, could
well surpass that record, judging by her health and
The current record for the oldest living person is
held by 114-year-old American Elizabeth Bolden.
the oldest person following the death of Hendrikje Van
Andel-Schipper, of the Netherlands, who died in August this
Maryna Daniels, a senior official at the local
department of home affairs, confirmed that Bete was the oldest
living South African.
"I was phoned by a social worker this
afternoon to confirm that the ID number was indeed correct. I then
checked in the population register and saw she was the only person
still alive who was born in the 1880s," said Daniels.
can't remember much about her past. She said she had worked as a
nanny for a white family at a nearby farm. "When the family's
children grew up, I then worked as a domestic worker," Bete said,
letting her toothless gums beam.
She remembers that her
family moved from a farm to Grahamstown, where they settled in
"We had no cars in our days and we used
horse-drawn carriages," she recalled.
She also noted that
there were no traffic lights in those days. "There used to be
someone giving directions by waving his hands in the middle of the
She attributed her long life to her parents, who had
taught her to respect other people and not drinking
Bete, who can't remember when her husband died, had
seven children, three of whom are still alive. She also has 15
grandchildren and 27 great-grandchildren. She said her greatest wish
was to meet Nelson Mandela.
Ecuadoran woman who once drank donkey milk is now
QUITO (AFP) - A clean-living Ecuadoran woman
who as a girl drank donkey milk is now -- at 116 -- the world's
oldest living person, her daughter told AFP.
Maria Esther Heredia Lecaro now holds the
Guinness Book record, her daughter Hilda Capovilla, 80, said Friday.
Capovilla is the third of five children of
longevity record-holder Heredia Lecaro, who spent her girlhood on a
coastal family farm, and went on to wed an Austrian military
engineer who died back in 1949.
The woman turned 116 September 14.
"My mother has no health problems, not
cholesterol ... not high blood pressure," her daughter said, noting
that her mother played the piano, and has never smoked or drunk
alcohol. "She feeds herself, handles the dishes wonderfully, and
doesn't depend on anyone."
Three of Heredia Lecaro's children are still
alive, and she has 11 grandchildren, 20 great grandchildren, and two
great-great grandchildren, her daughter said.
The oldest living man is a Puerto Rican,
Emiliano Mercado Del Toro, who turned 114 in January.
No bottling it for 125-year-old
INDIAN authorities say a man believed to be
125 years old and who has shunned alcohol and tobacco, could be the
world’s oldest person.
Habib Miyan, from Jaipur in Rajasthan state,
has a pension book which records his date of birth as May 20,
Oldest Man Turns 115 in Puerto
By FRANK GAUD
Associated Press Writer
22, 2006, 7:44 AM CDT
ISABELA, Puerto Rico -- The world's
oldest person celebrated his 115th birthday Monday, offering advice
on healthy living at a party where he was serenaded by a well-known
Puerto Rican singer.
Emiliano Mercado del Toro, who was a
boy when the United States seized Puerto Rico from Spain in 1898,
attributed his long life to a healthy diet and avoiding alcohol.
"I never damaged my body with liquor," said
Mercado was declared the world's oldest
person by the Guinness Book of Records last year.
thought I would last so long," he said.
An ambulance carried
him to an outdoor plaza where family, friends and the mayor gathered
for the party. His favorite performer, Iris Chacon, crooned a
birthday tune set to mariachi music.
"I feel happy," said
the wheelchair-bound Mercado, who has difficulty hearing and has
been blind for four years. He lives with a niece in the northwestern
coastal town of Isabela.
Mercado was recruited into the U.S.
army in 1918, during the last months of World War I. He was still in
training when the war ended in November of that year.
young man, Mercado said he worked for 50 cents a day driving animals
loaded with sugar cane to processing centers.
The mayor of
Isabela, Charlie Delgado, said a residence for the elderly would be
named for Mercado in honor of a man who "ate healthy, had no major
vices and who has put this island on the world stage."
Guinness had recognized another Puerto Rican as being the
world's oldest person. Ramona Trinidad Iglesias Jordan died May 29,
2004, after a bout with pneumonia. She was 114.
World's Oldest Man Dies In
TOKYO, Sept. 29,
Chuganji, a retired silkworm breeder documented as the world's
oldest man, died at his home in Japan at age 114, his family said
Chuganji was pronounced dead from natural causes
Sunday evening, said his 65-year-old nephew, Tadao Haji.
Bedridden in recent years, Chuganji had been living with his
72-year-old daughter Kyoko in the city of Ogori, about 550 miles
southwest of Tokyo.
He had just finished drinking some apple
juice when his family noticed he wasn't looking well, Haji said.
"As always, he had been thanking everyone for taking such
good care of him and for cooking his meals," Haji said of Chuganji's
Chuganji was born March 23, 1889 in the farming
town of Chikushino on Japan's southernmost main island of Kyushu. He
worked as a silkworm breeder and adviser after graduating from
technical school in the early 1900s.
He liked to eat beef
and pork with his meals of rice and miso soup. He would drink milk
everyday but didn't consume alcohol.
Kyushu is also home to
the world's oldest person, a 116-year-old woman named Kamato Hongo.
Japan's oldest man is now Kameni Nakamura, who turns 109 on
Friday, said Hideki Matsumoto, of the health ministry. Nakamura
lives at a retirement home in Okinawa, which is famous for its high
concentration of old people.
Japanese officials said that,
with Chuganji's death, they did not know who the oldest living man
in the world was.
St. Charles woman dies at age
Leta Marshall was pulling for the Grand Old Party in
the November elections.
Which isn't remarkable until you consider she was born
three years before one of the best-known Republicans of the 20th
century - Theodore Roosevelt - even took office.
"She said, 'I don't know what we're going to do if the
Democrats get elected,'ć" said Karen Pritchard, a granddaughter who
lives in Sycamore. "So I got her a Bush/Cheney yard sign."
Marshall, a lifelong St. Charles resident, died
Wednesday at the age of 106.
Marshall, who was born on a St. Charles farm, lived in
her own home in St. Charles despite her advanced age.
Marshall did not want to live in a nursing home, and
her children honored that request. Up until Tuesday, she was living
with her dog, Bud, a gift from Pritchard, and a caretaker.
Her grandson Lonnie Marshall lived about a block away
from her in St. Charles. After he finished working the third shift,
Lonnie drove his grandmother, who never had a driver's license, to a
senior citizens program.
"She liked it and that was one of my favorite
memories," he said. "She loved doing her crossword puzzles and word
searches and keeping her mind sharp."
She was also quite the jokester, Pritchard said.
"Her favorite was I would say, 'How do you feel
grandma?' and she would say 'With my fingers.'ć"
Marshall would sometimes tell her children about the
days when she was growing up.
One was about how she would heat up bricks, wrap them
in towels and use them to keep their feet warm when traveling to
church in a horse-drawn buggy, said her son, Marcus.
Marshall's primary duty on the family farm was
bringing the cows across Ferson Creek, a task that scared her to
death because she couldn't swim, Marcus Marshall said. So she
resorted to finding the creek's shallow parts and walking them
Born at a time when there were no cars, radios,
televisions or computers, she saw the world we know today as it was
"She lived in a transformation age when you went darn
near the stone age to modern society," Marcus said.
Marshall attended school in Wasco and graduated with
the class of 1917 from St. Charles High School. Before she
graduated, she took a teacher's exam and was eventually placed at a
school in Gilberts. Her second assignment was in rural St. Charles.
She married Marcus F. Marshall in 1919, whose father
had built a log cabin and settled in St. Charles in 1843. They'd met
while they were members of First Methodist Church.
Marshall was a devout Christian, her son said. She
never drank alcohol, hardly wore jewelry - except her wedding ring,
a crucifix and watch - and didn't believe in
"She was very mad when I started to smoke at age 16
just before World War II," Marcus said. "She said, 'If you don't
quit, why, you'll have to pay me to do your laundry."
The family was frugal, and instead of changing clothes
in a dressing room when vacationing in Lake Geneva, they covered the
windows of their Model A Ford with newspapers and changed right
"She was strong-willed, so she sort of bossed the
whole family around, which is good," Marcus said. "She was quite a
Survivors also include grandchildren Sharon Freund and
Lynn Marshall; great-grandchildren Sean and Colin Pritchard, Chris
and Jody Freund and Corey and Cale Marshall; and one
great-great-grandchild, Wyatt Freund. Her husband, Marcus, daughter
Marilyn Marshall and son Milton, preceded her in death.
August 23, 2002;
Mrs. Adelina (Engargiola) Domingues
, recently accepted as the oldest living American at 114
years old, has died. We have just learned from her grand-daughter
that Mrs. Domingues died on Wednesday, August 21, 2002 at 1:30 PM
PDT of congestive heart failure at the San Diego nursing home in
Spring Valley, CA where she lived. She was born February 19, 1888 in
Brava, Cape Verde Islands (off the coast of West Africa). After her
marriage, she moved to Massachusetts in 1907.
Adelina attributed her longevity to her daily regimen
of eating vegetables and beans and her life-long abstinence
from any form of alcohol or tobacco. But she also thought
she lived longer because she "never played cards or went to a beauty
parlor," something she was very proud of. She was also an expert
Information has been provided to us by her
daughter-in-law Rosalie Domingues of Santee, CA. For more details,
see Tony Perry, "Adelina Domingues, 114; Oldest Person in the U.S.,"
The Los Angeles Times, p. B20 (August 24, 2002) for her
Mrs. Elma Grace (Tennis) Corning, age
111, who was
born in Iowa on February 22, 1892 but has lived in Los Angeles since
1921. She now resides at the Kingsley Manor Nursing Home near
Hollywood. She had one brother, 2-years younger, who died at age 70.
Her Mother, Jessie, died at age 87, while her Father Addison, who
was a farmer and a pilot during World War I, died at age 48 of
severe arthritis. She was married, and her husband, who was in the
Navy in San Diego in 1918 during World War I, worked in Los Angeles
as a linotype operator. He died in 1956. They had just one son,
Russell, who married for the first time to his wife Mandel when he
was 53 and she was 52, so they have no children of their own.
graduation from college in 1912, Elma taught Home Economics in a
local high school. Once she moved to Los Angeles, she worked as a
house keeper and for the Los Angeles County Department of Public
Assistance. She is relaxed, easy going, and doesn't worry much. "I'm
too busy to do exercises," she said. She never smoked or drank, but she really enjoys bacon
and coffee, and pie or cake for desert. She played the organ for the
Presbyterian Church in Ohio when she was 16. She served as an
Officer in the Congregational Church since 1935 and was President of
their Woman's Association. Her secret to a long life is "to work
hard and have a great desire to accomplish
Mrs. Mamie Legg who was born on January 9, 1894
in Georgia and died in Colorado on June 13, 2005 at age
On the morning of her 110th
birthday, she was asked about the secret to living so long. She
responded, "No drinking, no drugs, no alcohol, no smoking. Going to
church." And in between, she shared more than a century of stories.
"All these things make up a life," she said. "I guess I just did the
best I could with the time I had. Life is what you make it,
Zydeco and Cake Make a Happy 110th
woman one of oldest in the world
Pimentel, Chronicle Staff Writer
Friday, February 9, 2001
Lily Wilkinson's neighbors and friends threw her a
birthday party yesterday -- which made them feel quite a bit
Wilkinson turned 110, making her not only the oldest
resident at the Masonic Homes of California in Union City but
perhaps the oldest person in the Bay Area and one of the oldest
people in the world.
"My goodness, look at all these nice people," she
said, wearing a purple scarf and sitting in her wheelchair, her
wrinkled hands folded on her lap. "I'm surprised to think that I
could see all these nice people looking at Lily Wilkinson."
Her guests laughed and then sang for her the
traditional "Happy Birthday to You" which had not yet been composed
when she was born in the Tyne and Wear region of England in
According to the Guinness Book of World Records,
Wilkinson is only five years younger than the oldest living person
in the world, 115-year-old Eva Morris, who also was born in the
United Kingdom, on Nov. 18, 1885.
Wilkinson attributes her long life to "good genes" and
the fact that she never smoked or drank It seems a good bet that Wilkinson is older than
anyone in the Bay Area.
Leavitt, member of pioneer
Clark County family, dies at 100
By Ed Koch <firstname.lastname@example.org>
LAS VEGAS SUN
Vegas residents of the 1950s so trusted dry cleaning delivery man
Woodruff "Woody" Leavitt that they gave him duplicates of their
house keys so he could get into their homes when they were out and
hang the freshly-pressed apparel in their closets.
his daughters recalled that Leavitt would go to work at Society
Cleaners with as many as 200 house keys hanging from his key ring.
was an honest, clean, good man who people really trusted," said Nola
Cox, the oldest of Leavitt's six children. "And although he never
had much money in his lifetime, he was always there to help someone
Leavitt, a member of the construction crew that built
the first road across the Mormon Mesa 80 years ago and one of the
oldest living people born in Clark County, died Sunday at a
retirement home in St. George, Utah. He was 100.
March 12 Sun story marking his 100th birthday, Leavitt attributed
his longevity to clean living and staying mentally active. He
neither smoked nor drank
oldest man dies
Sunday November 21, 2004
oldest man in the world died yesterday. Supercentenarian Fred Hale
Senior died peacefully in his sleep at the age of 113, just two
weeks before his 114th birthday. He became the world's
oldest man in March after Joan Riudavets Moll of Spain died aged
114. He had five children, nine grandchildren, nine
great-grandchildren and 11
was born on in a different time in history, on December 1, 1890,
before the invention of radio, airplanes, Corn Flakes and
escalators. He was born in the same year Wilhelm II of Germany fired
Bismarck, Idaho became the 43rd US state, Vincent Van
Gogh killed himself, and the Meiji constitution started in Japan. He
was 17 when he saw his first car, but was too old to serve in World
was in the Guinness Book of Records as the world's oldest driver
when he renewed his driving license aged 104, but gave up driving
four years ago because New York drivers were “too slow”. He
never smoked, drank alcohol and ate a teaspoon of honey every
morning. His grandson said he didn’t need a lot to be
World's oldest man dies at
age of 114
Posted Sun, 07 Mar
Spaniard thought to be the oldest man in the world has died at the
age of 114, his family said on Saturday.
Ruidavets Moll died from the effects of a cold on Friday night, on
the Balearic island of Minorca, his relatives told the Spanish
Ruidavets, who spent his entire working life as a
cobbler, was born on December 15, 1889, in Es Migjorn, where he also
wife, who was born in the same year as he was, died at the age of
Ruidavets attributed his
great age to his Mediterranean diet, based on tomatoes, fish and
olive oil, the fact that he slept 15 hours a night and only rarely
drank coffee and didn’t drink alcohol.
Ruidavets was the world's oldest man, according to the
Guinness Book of Records.
took over the title from Japan's Yukichi Chuganji, who died in
September 2003, also aged 114.
world's oldest living woman is 113-year-old Charlotte Benkner, a
naturalised American who was born in Germany on November 16, 1889,
according to the Guinness Book of Records website.
world's oldest person ever was France's Jeanne-Louise Calment, who
was born on February 21, 1875, and lived to the age of 122 years and
164 days. She died on August 4, 1997.
"(Calment) led an extremely active life, taking up
fencing at 85 years old and was still riding a bicycle at 100. She
portrayed herself at the age of 114 in the film 'Vincent And Me', to
become the oldest actress in film," the Guinness website
Jaenicke-Assistant Features editor
MAXTON - She may not be older than the hills, but
Carrie Mae McDonald is older than most of the pine trees surrounding
her Maxton home.
In a life spread out over three different centuries,
McDonald, 109, has lived through 20 U.S. presidents, two World Wars
and seven other major wars. At various times, she has lived without
modern comforts of life such as automobiles, electricity, indoor
plumbing, television, microwave ovens and
Despite having a difficult time hearing, and walking a
bit slower than she used to, McDonald will turn 110 on Dec. 4.,
continuing her inexorable march toward a world
One news agency reports that the oldest documented
person, Jeanne Calment, died in 1997 at the age of 122. Former
title-holder Hanna Barsevich of Minsk, Belarus, was 116 before dying
in 2003. Charlotte Benkner was 113 before dying in November of that
same year in Cleveland. According to the "Guinness World Book of
Records," Benker wore the oldest living crown after Japan's Mitoyo
Kawate died at age 114. McDonald said she has outlived her seven younger
siblings, her husband and his two children, and numerous friends and
family members half her age through good genetics and by what she's
stayed away from and what she's embraced.
Her list of "no-nos" include things that have taken
down many a person early in their retirement
"No alcohol, no tobacco, no coffee or tea and no
swearing and never say a cross word," McDonald
She also says the "must-do frequently" list is just as
"Eat right and live right and do what God wants you to
do," McDonald said. "You have to do things for others, care for
them. I've lived so long because God wanted me to take care of
people. God had a reason."
Albanian woman is
dead at 123
-- The oldest woman in Albania, and perhaps the
world, died Saturday at age 123 and was buried yesterday beside the
husband she resented being forced to marry at 14.
Born Aug. 22, 1880, Hava Rexha breathed her last on
Saturday in the picturesque central Albanian village of Shushice,
where she had spent her life.
Wrapped in a faded shroud that she embroidered for
herself when her elderly husband died a few years after World War
II, Rexha was buried in the Shushice cemetery. Hundreds of people
joined her only surviving daughter, Vule, 80, and 120 other members
of her family to pay their respects at a Muslim ceremony that local
reporters described as "majestic."
Interviewed a month before her 122d birthday, Rexha
said she resented her forced marriage to a man who was "about 60 and
married twice before as well."
"I didn't love my husband. He was an old man," said
Rexha, who had six children, four of whom died in childhood. Rexha
had carried out household chores and tough farming jobs, including
pasturing livestock. A devout
Muslim who never touched alcohol, drank coffee, and enjoyed
News reports said that National Commercial Bank had
been giving Rexha $100 a month to help her grandson's family look
after her and that the bank had begun action to register her with
the Guinness Book of World Records. If Guinness had received and
authenticated her documents, she would have entered the records book
as the oldest person who ever lived, beating Jeanne-Louise Calment,
a Frenchwoman who died in August 1997 at age 122 years and 164
By Tampa man's count, he's
120 years old
Juan Ramos is so old he
called airplanes "ships with wings" when she was growing up,
granddaughter Maria Mora recalls.
By JOE HUMPHREY
Petersburg Times, published June 24, 2000
TAMPA -- If the passport is right, Juan Ramos turns 120
That easily would make him the oldest man on Earth, a
record now officially held by an Oklahoma man who is only
But Guinness World Records, famous for its book,
television show and stringent qualifications, does not recognize
Ramos because there is no clear way to prove he was actually born in
A Cuban passport, issued before Ramos moved to the
United States in 1994, shows Ramos' date of birth as June 24, 1880.
Not acceptable for Guinness, but good enough for the Tampa Housing
While Ramos might not be the oldest man in the world,
it's clear he is the senior tenant at the J.L. Young Apartments on N
Florida Avenue. Friday, residents gathered to celebrate Ramos and,
perhaps, 12 decades of life.
"Some think he is, some think he's not," said
80-year-old apartment resident Robert Prior.
The facts didn't figure into Friday's celebration,
which featured Latin music, a large cake and a white-haired man just
happy to be alive on the eve of his birthday.
"The secret to good health is to abstain from alcohol
and smoking cigarettes," Ramos said through an interpreter.
Oldest American dies age
described as the oldest living American and the third oldest person
in the world has died at the age of 114.
Slough passed away in the state of New Jersey just three days after
her 90-year-old daughter died at the same nursing home where they
Slough, who is believed to have been born in 1888, lived through
seven US wars, 21 presidents, and 12 US territories gaining
world's oldest person is a Japanese woman Kamato Hongo, who turned
116 last month.
world's second oldest person is believed to be 114-year-old Mitoyo
Kawate, also Japanese.
Slough died in her sleep on Sunday at the Victoria Manor Nursing
Home in the resort town of Cape May, an official said.
her death, the oldest American and third oldest person in the world,
is now Charlotte Benkner of North Lima, Ohio, according to the
Gerontology Research Group.
German-born woman will turn 114 on 16 November.
month, a retired Japanese silkworm breeder believed to have been the
world's oldest man died at the age of 114.
Chuganji drank milk every day, but did not consume alcohol.
are an estimated 15,000 people in Japan over the age of 100, most of
has the world's longest life expectancy - 78 years for men and 80
oldest person on record was a French woman, Jeanne Calment, who was
122 when she died in 1997.
oldest person dies at 115
Wednesday 31st August,
woman believed to be the oldest person in the world died peacefully
in her sleep early Tuesday.
Hendrikje van Andel-Schipper,
nicknamed Henny, spent her last years in a nursing home in Hoogeveen
in the northeast part of the Netherlands, Expatica
Van Andel-Schipper was born in a small town,
Smilde, on June 29, 1890.
She was premature and undersized,
and her mother did not expect her to live. On May 30, 2004, she was
officially recognized as the world's oldest person.
Andel-Schipper was almost 50 when she married and never had
children. Her husband, Dick Van Andel, died in 1959.
lived in her own apartment until the age of 106.
Andel-Schipper attributed her longevity to abstaining from
alcohol, and staying
celebrating the coronations of three Dutch queens, Van
Andel-Schipper was a big fan of the royal family. She was a longtime
follower of the Amsterdam soccer team Ajax, which honored her with a
personal visit on her 114th
In a youthful state of mind
4 local seniors back up studies on wise lifestyle
By Stephanie Shapiro
Published November 26, 2004
Not everyone has to read
the research on longevity and health to know that a sound diet and
regular exercise can delay what was once thought to be the
inevitable debilitation of old age.
Wise lifestyle choices,
whether made early or later in life, can lead to a vigorous
existence at any age, according to four studies reported recently in
the Journal of the American Medical Association.
study, researchers found that seniors 70 to 90 years old who rely on
a diet rich in grains, olive oil, produce and fish and who get
moderate exercise and don't drink or smoke, reduce their mortality
rate by 50 percent. Another study linked an overall healthy
lifestyle with reduced mortality. Two studies found evidence that
the simple act of walking lowers the risk for dementia and cognitive
The four fit seniors profiled below understand
intuitively what researchers say with statistics: Age is just a
It wasn't until she was 46 and decided to accompany
her husband on daily walks after he suffered a heart attack that
Yvonne Aasen got acquainted with her inner runner.
still see the boys going to track practice in high school," says
Aasen, 73, who grew up on a North Dakota farm and now lives in
Severna Park. "I still remember how envious I was," she says. No
girls' team existed.
Those daily walks with her husband
became daily runs. Today, dozens of medals, plaques and trophies
later, Aasen, the mother of five and grandmother of eight, says, "I
fulfilled myself by winning awards after the disappointment of not
being able to run in high school."
With vindication comes
She only takes medication for bone health and to
maintain her thyroid level. "I don't take anything for blood
pressure or cholesterol," she says. "For my age, apparently that's
Aasen eats bread, pasta, a lot of vegetables and
fruit, but few desserts and candy. Her slender figure may look
effortless, but it's not, she says.
Running, and finding that
she had a talent for it, has given her the confidence to do things
she never would have considered before. When she was younger, Aasen
says, she was "very nonassertive." Now, "because I can run I can do
many things, such as get up and speak in public."
just the running; it's the competition that motivates her, and
motivates her training. Aasen has placed at or near the top in races
around the country, including the Senior Olympics
"I like to win," she says. Often, her husband,
Marvin, and dog Fawn are there to cheer her on.
When in peak
shape, Aasen runs an average of 12 to 15 miles a week. She has raced
as far as 10 miles, and has clocked a personal best of 29 minutes in
a 5K race.
Last year, she ran 22 races. This year, bursitis
of the hip, an overuse injury, has limited her. It's frustrating,
she says, but she is working her way back to competitive
Running "gave me something that was my own," Aasen
says. "That's what I do."
Bill Harris plays basketball three times a week with
the Cloverdale Athletic Club Baltimore Basketball Association, the
league he helped found 30 years ago. Every summer, Harris and other
league members coach as many as 400 kids as part of a youth
"I feel good," says Harris, 69, who proudly
proclaims that he hasn't had to see a doctor in
He doesn't drink or smoke, and he eats
moderately. "I'm careful about what I eat and how much I
eat," he says. "No soda pops." He favors "country cooking," and
nothing raw, such as "lettuce and tomatoes, you know. I like my
Harris, a widower with three daughters,
nine grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, is always on the
move. He's a contractor, a business owner and he owns a rental
"I keep busy," he says.
At his home in
Baltimore's Northwood neighborhood, Harris is often at work on one
of three computers. "It's not good to sit still because death
approaches too quickly if you're not using your limbs or thinking
ability," he says.
Harris plays the blues guitar, mostly for
his own pleasure. At times, though, he's been known to strum
something more romantic "when I'm courting a lady
Standing 6 feet 2, with a wiry, 175-pound frame,
Harris has played basketball since he was 9. He's an aggressive
player who plays for two hours at a time with other men middle-aged
and older. His game is old-school - "none of that fancy dribbling" -
and so is his philosophy when it comes to
"I get nicked up, bruised here and there,"
he says. "I'd rather be sore because of a game of pickup basketball
as opposed to having a hangover from
Two years ago, Mary Scroggins retired from her job as
manager of a dry-cleaning plant. No longer on her feet all day,
Scroggins, then 62 and widowed, gained 20 pounds and became less
So she joined a fitness class at the Waxter Senior
Center in Baltimore's Mount Vernon neighborhood. She lost 10 pounds,
got back in shape and found new friends.
"Sitting in the
house will mentally age you overnight," she says.
minutes on the treadmill, Scroggins takes three "body tune-up"
classes a week that provide 40 minutes of supervised cardio and
Scroggins, a resident of Heritage
Crossing in West Baltimore, also walks a lot - to Lexington Market,
the doctor's and the Waxter Center.
"Exercise helps maintain
my cholesterol," Scroggins says. "I eat basically what I want to
eat. I eat salads and diet soda and try to stay
away from snacks."
Scroggins takes medicine for her
cholesterol, "when it's high," as well as vitamins, baby aspirin,
garlic tablets and calcium.
By getting out of the house
daily, Scroggins, a grandmother of six, maintains her spirits.
Often, she'll take the light rail to Owings Mills Mall, where she
will watch a matinee, have lunch and take "all day to find the
bargains I want."
When her granddaughter Angel accompanies
her, Scroggins' fast pace tires the 8-year-old, she says.
home, Scroggins cooks for herself. Every four months she prepares a
large batch of collard greens and freezes them in small helpings. "I
do the same thing with soup," she says.
She used to eat a lot
of junk food. "As I got older, I had to change up a little bit," she
says. The "change up" has paid off.
"I have no problem with
growing old," she says.
Once a "muscle head," always a "muscle
So says Ed Lanehart, who started lifting weights at
age 14. Now 69, the champion bowler and retired Baltimore County
physical education teacher has the physique of a much younger
Taking a break from a weekly practice session in a
bowling alley near his Ellicott City home,
Lanehart catalogs the advantages of living healthfully.
lifelong commitment to staying in shape has allowed him to maintain
flexibility in his bowling hand in spite of arthritis. Lanehart, who
works out in his home gym several times a week, also credits a quick
recovery from prostate cancer three years ago to steady
Lanehart, who is married, has two
daughters, three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, doesn't
smoke or drink, and prefers fish and chicken to red
no-fat kind of person," he says, although he does like nuts and
other sources of beneficial fats.
Retired from teaching in
1992, Lanehart started a musical entertainment business called A
Salute to Great Gentlemen of Song. In nursing homes and retirement
communities, he performs the music of Tony Bennett, Nat King Cole,
Frank Sinatra and others.
Until arthritis limited the range
of motion in his left hand, (he bowls with his right), he also
played Dixieland music on the four-string banjo.
As he has
grown older, Lanehart says he has worked to resist his "Type A"
tendencies. "It's a lot easier on the nerves," he says.
four studies focusing on elderly health published in September's
Journal of the American Medical Association offer encouragement to
those who may fear that to grow old is to grow
· A study
conducted in Europe found that a "Mediterranean-style diet,"
moderate physical activity, no alcohol use and not smoking can
lower mortality by more than 50
· A study
conducted in Italy found that the same diet heavy on fruits,
vegetables, olive oil, fish and grains may reduce the risk of heart
disease and diabetes.
· A study
of 18,766 U.S. women ages 70 to 81 found that physical activity,
including walking, "is associated with significantly better
cognitive function and less cognitive decline in older
· A fourth
study of elderly men suggests that walking can reduce the risk for