Six women who reside at Premier Cadbury of Cherry Hill are close to, or already have reached, 100 years of age. On May 15, the continuing-care retirement facility celebrated the longevity of its centenarians with a birthday party.
Eva Serotkin, Rose Barbarito, Clare McPherson, Hope Hass, Ida Goldstein and 106-year-old Freida Lefkowith – along with as many friends and family they could muster – were the guests of honor.
“All of these women have the survival instinct within them. They have lived through so many world events and have come out on the other side. I think they know what it’s like to have to focus on what’s important, and to deal with limited means from time to time,” said Premier Cadbury executive director Meredith Becker.
According to the American Society on Aging, there are more centenarians living today than ever before. Per its website, the United Nations estimated, in 2012, that there were 343,000 persons worldwide 100 or older, and that number is expected to balloon as high as 3 million by 2050.
“I would say we probably have a good handful in their 90s, but it’s unusual to have so many to be 100 or greater. I’ve been doing this for a little more than 20 years now, and never before have I had so many people be 100 or older. Every once in a while I would see one here and there, but definitely never to have six at one time, and certainly not to have a resident be 106,” Becker noted.
Councilwomen Carole Roskoph and Carolyn Jacobs also attended, expressing their well-wishes to the honorees.
Becker added that, unlike the stigma associated with nursing homes, a place like Premier Cadbury “is a place where you come to live, not to die. It gives all our residents a sense of purpose to get up and be active.”
Lefkowith holds the honor of the oldest living resident at Cadbury, having turned 106 on Mother’s Day. She still lives independently, preparing her own meals, dressing herself – often in high heels.
Serotkin reached her 103rd birthday back in March. In her younger years, she enjoyed going to the Jersey shore and attending shows in New York City.
Barbarito hit the century mark in April. Rose, who worked in her yard and managed to cut her own grass until the age of 92, likes to bake, cook, play bingo and golf, and also loves to watch the Phillies.
“It’s inspiring to me, that through everything they’ve gone through in their life, they’re still strong. Every day, they enjoy being here, not just at the facility but life in general,” noted Susan Duban, assistant to Becker.
McPherson has yet to reach the century mark, but is expected to do so on June 22. Always quick with a laugh if you get in the way of her scooter, she once met “I Love Lucy” stars Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance when they were selling war bonds.
Hass will turn 100 on July 8, and her advice is to take all things in moderation and don’t sweat the small stuff. She keeps her mind active by reading, cares for a unique collection of antique dolls and still needlepoints and sews.
Goldstein, the quietest of the bunch, remained adventurous into her 80s, riding a zip line and riding an elephant. She will officially become a centenarian on Nov. 10.
“I believe that their secrets to long life are staying active, not holding grudges, and trying to live as healthy a lifestyle as possible. They all say that the relationships they have with friends and family help get them to their milestones. That’s a good lesson for all of us to learn, how much we need to live and love and depend upon each other to help build us up,” said Becker.