Here's a question to ponder: How old is "too old"? You may be one of the many Americans who'd love to live to a ripe old age, but don't relish the infirmities, indignities and general aches and pains of living too long. You may be averse to the idea of someday finding yourself propped up and planted in a chair at some nursing home just waiting to die; and perhaps you're not too keen on the idea of strangers tending to your every bodily function -- if you get my drift.
Are a long life and a quality life mutually exclusive? Can we have both? To answer that question let's take a quick peek at some of the oldest Americans -- supercentenarians -- those 110 years of age or older.
Ella Schuler -- 111 -- Kansas
Ella is still healthy and takes regular walks assisted only by a wheeled-walker. With a keen interest in science, she reads for two to three hours a day; a couple of her favorite magazines are National Geographic and Scientific American. She eats a typical American fare and enjoys downing a glass of milk three times a day.
Catherine Helen Dahlheimer Hagel -- 113 -- Minnesota
Catherine farmed until age 100. There must not have been much to do on that farm, as she gave birth to and raised 11 children. Actually there was a lot to do on the farm and the children were a big help. Amazingly, she's not on any medication. How many 50- and 60-year-olds can say that?
Maggie Renfro -- 113 -- Louisiana
Unlike Catherine, Maggie and her late husband had no children. She lives with her niece and caretaker, Mattie Ellis. Maggie recently proclaimed, "I feel good. Nothing hurts me ..." Many much younger Americans would love to be equally pain free.
Walter Breuning -- 112 -- Montana
It is reported that Walter is still in excellent health and able to walk. He has a "very sharp and accurate memory." His one concession to old age is that at 111 he agreed to be fitted for hearing aids.
Onezima "Oni" Ponder -- 110 -- Florida
When asked if she had any problems associated with aging, all she pointed out was that her hair is thinning and she has some age spots on her forehead. Oni takes a daily walk using a wheeled-walker; she used to walk more than a mile each day until age 101, when cataracts limited her vision too much to make it safe. Her medication consists of just two pills once a day. She still loves to go out to eat, go to church on Sundays, socialize and listen to books on tape (about 250 in the last 10 years). She says, "I just love living every day and doing the best I can ... " You can see a video of Oni that shows her wit, sharp mind, and the spring in her step at www.GrowingBolder.com -- Archives, Vol. 68
Let's wrap this up. These supercentenarians show us that one can be in better shape healthwise and enjoying life more at 110+ than some folks in their 60s and 70s. How old is too old? Sixty and 70 is too old if we don't take care of ourselves and enjoy each day as if it were our last -- as these oldest Americans do.