Helen Smith, 101, has a simple tip for longevity: “Keep yourself busy and be in love. That’s important.”
Smith is one of 11 women at a Commack assisted living home who range in age from 106 to just a couple months shy of 100 years old, according to Michael Letter, an administrator at Gurwin Jewish-Fay J. Lindner Residences. The group was inducted into the inaugural class of the Gurwin Centenarians Society at a luncheon Wednesday, where they received plaques in front of family and friends.
“We’ve always had women, mostly, and men who’ve lived here through their hundredth birthday and gone on to do amazing things . . . but never had we had so many at one time as we do now,” said Staci Rosenberg-Simons, director of marketing for Gurwin Jewish, before presenting the plaques to the centenarians.
The women have seen it all: They’ve lived through at least 18 presidencies and two world wars.
“We were thinking about how remarkable and special it was to have so many people reach this milestone,” Letter said. “We just decided we wanted to come together, and honor and celebrate that.”
The average age of the assisted living home’s 220 residents is about 90 years old and is “slowly creeping up,” Letter said, adding that he’s looking forward to welcoming more residents to the centenarian club.
“They’re truly remarkable in their spirits and energy,” Letter said.
In a set of video interviews released ahead of Wednesday’s celebration, the women shared their tips for living a long, healthy life.
Doris Goldenberg, who will turn 100 in September, said in the video she thinks the key to living a good life is kindness.
“To have the life you enjoy, a good one, be kind to people.” Goldenberg said.
However, when asked about longevity, not all of the women had an explanation for reaching age 100 or beyond.
There are “no secrets,” said Fannie Wicentowski, 103. “Good luck.”