Six centenarians share their secrets for reaching 100 years

When SCAN Health Plan reached out offering to share centuries worth of wisdom with us and our readers in the form of a photo campaign for National Centenarian’s Day, we immediately said yes. So today, not only are we celebrating those who have reached 100 years or more, we’re sharing some of their secrets to living a long, fulfilling life, which are oftentimes a lot simpler than you might think.

The photo campaign, “Stages: 100 Over 100,” captures the portraits and life stories of the featured centenarians on their birthdays. SCAN has so far connected with nearly 50 people, while also collecting quotes filled with humor, wisdom and insightful tidbits into lives well lived.

Eve Gelb, Senior Vice President of Healthcare Services at SCAN, also let us in on some of the observations she’s accrued caring for those who have reached or surpassed the age of 100, saying, living for 10 decades can be a great deal about your attitude towards life. Who would have thought?

“People who live in the moment, enjoy their day, these people find the beauty in life,” said Gelb. “They have passion regardless of their circumstances. For example, many of these people have experienced extreme loss, the loss of a child or spouse, yet they still find a reason to live, they still find joy in the world, and that can be hard.”

Mildred K. Gardiner, Lakewood, 103

“My mother and sisters lived very long lives so that’s what I attribute my long life to. It’s surely not because I eat right; I love snacks, sweets and a few swigs of champagne now and then!”

Photo courtesy of SCAN Health Plan.

Rozella Pitts, Long Beach, 101

“I remember getting dressed up and wearing a beautiful hat to attend church every Sunday. I think I have owned at least 500 hats over the years!”

Photo courtesy of SCAN Health Plan.

Laverne Olsen, Lakewood, 100

“There’s been a few bumps in the road—but some roads weren’t so bumpy. I thank God for every day that I’m alive.”

Photo courtesy of SCAN Health Plan.

Winifred W. Carter, Long Beach, 100

“I don’t know too many people who’ve reached this age—but it feels good!”

Photo courtesy of SCAN Health Plan.

Bob Hayden, San Clemente, 102

“When people ask me what I do to live so long I tell them I have a small dish of nuts with my Manhattan every night.”

Photo courtesy of SCAN Health Plan.

Jack McEwan, Arcadia, 100

“My wife and I have been married for 71 years and you know what my secret is? Doing what your wife tells you.”

Photo courtesy of SCAN Health Plan.

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Asia Morris has been with the Long Beach Post for five years, specializing in coverage of the arts. Her parents gave her the name because they wanted her to be a world traveler and they got their wish. She has obliged by pursuing art, journalism and a second career as a competitive cyclist.
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