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With a healthy lifestyle and a little bit of luck, Americans can expect to live about 78 years–the current life expectancy in the United States. For some, 78 is a mere suggestion as they continue to live on for decades past this average, with even fewer making it past the century.

So often, we hear the phrase “quality over quantity” when referring to all sorts of life choices, and this is echoed by many when referring to life itself, as some who live well into old age do so with much discomfort, health ailments, and limited happiness. Yet sometimes, we are lucky enough to hear the stories of those who live well past the century mark that still maintain an active, healthy, and happy life.

We see this with our longtime Senior Meals participant, Annie Katarzy. At 103 years young, Annie has been receiving meals from our dining site at the Josephine Lum Lodge in Hayward for 43 years. To this day, Monday through Friday, Annie receives her nutritious, hot meal, and visits with our staff and volunteers.

She regularly shares useful feedback with us on the meals, often sharing her love of the dishes which feature potatoes as a starch. When asked if there was anything we could share with our culinary staff on her behalf, an elated Annie exclaimed “more potatoes!”

“I am so, so grateful for these meals. They are delicious, and all of the people who work for Spectrum Senior Meals are wonderful!” she continued.

Katarzy, a former electrical assembler of over 20 years, moved to the Josephine Lum Lodge in 1979 when she was 60 years young. At the time, her mother who she took care of was also living with her in her unit. “There are other people who I know of that are 100, and they are laying down all day. I am happy to be still healthy and able to take care of my daily business” Annie shared with us, sitting in her comfortable recliner with a table to her side containing her calendar, stationary, and writing utensils.

In addition to managing her daily routine, with the help of a family member Annie still goes and gets her hair and nails done each week. “I just really like to be able to still take care of myself,” she shared, looking out towards her well-maintained hydrangeas visible on the patio.

As providers of Senior Services, we see many clients past the age of 90 still participating in programs. In the past fiscal year, we served 238 individuals over 90 through these programs. Whether it be our home-delivered or congregate nutrition services, or our Fall Prevention exercise classes, it is clear that many who live long lives wish not to rest, but continue to improve their health in order to enhance their quality of life.

“I’m turning 102,

but I’m not blue,

I still have so many things to do!”

-Annie K.