WALLINGFORD — Masonicare residents who have crossed the century mark, or are about to, shared the secrets to their longevity during the retirement home’s annual centenarian celebration this week.
Nineteen residents ages 99 to 104 enjoyed a luncheon with family and friends, munching on dishes inspired by their younger days as the music of Frank Sinatra and Doris Day played.
Here are some of their keys to a long life:
Clara Bighinati, 104, said she loved to dance and would visit dance halls every Saturday and Sunday. She remembers buying tickets to the dance hall and excitedly waiting for someone to ask her to dance. Her approach to life generally is to “take one day at a time,” she said.
2. Golf and wine
Mary D’Amico, 101, played golf three or four times a week and also likes to knit. She loved to play at the Farms Country Club and the Wallingford Country Club,
She also enjoys a glass of wine with her meal every night. D’Amico sat with her family at the celebration as they lifted their glasses to toast in Italian and sang “The Trolley Song” from the 1944 film, “Meet Me in St. Louis” starring Judy Garland.
With more than 100 medals and trophies for swimming, Harry Bartlett, 103, has had a passion for the sport since age 7. He didn’t begin swimming competitively until he was 70. Bartlett participated in the National Senior Olympics and swam until he was 98 years old.
Bartlett shared some other advice.
“Help someone who needs it,” he said. “Show kindness to everyone.”
4. More vegetables
“Less meat and more vegetables. I don’t eat a lot of meat,” said Jane Thompson,101.
Thompson, who lived on a farm, considers herself an animal lover. She often fed groundhogs and raccoons that wandered into her backyard and has always enjoyed hobbies, including crocheting, knitting, and gardening.
5. No smoking, no drinking
Madelyne Sulok, 99, attributes her long life to refraining from smoking and drinking. She came to the United States from Hungary and worked at Sargent Manufacturing in New Haven for 45 years. Her hobbies included embroidery, swimming and getting outdoors. Sulok said she had a tradition of waking up early to open up every window in the house — from the basement to the attic—and then close them again.
6. Keep it simple
Frank Ame, 104, owned Ame Cosmetics and ran the business for much of his life. Ame has enjoyed reading, writing and traveling. He didn’t want to give away too many of his secrets, but said the key to enjoying life is simplicity.
“My only advice is the love of humanity,” Ame said. “There’s nothing else.”