SASKATOON – In 1907, Sir Wilfrid Laurier was Canada’s first francophone prime minister. Theodore Roosevelt was the 26th president of the United States and Oklahoma became the 46th state. And it was the same year Katharine Hepburn was born.
It was also the year Anna Ens would be welcomed into the world just outside of Osler, Sask.
On Thursday, Ens celebrated her 109th birthday from the comfort of her own home. It’s a little apartment she lives alone in with the help of care aids who were just returning her from the beauty salon downstairs when we arrived.
“I never thought I would get this old,” Anna said, just shy of completing 11 decades of life.
She credits her longevity to a good cup of coffee, taking the stairs, being happy and the love of family and friends. In fact, her 96-year-old “little” sister Stella called during our interview to wish her a happy birthday as her 85-year-old daughter helped her with the phone.
In total, Ens’ family tree has grown to more than 65 people over five generations including great-great grandchildren with whom she will celebrate her major milestone this weekend.
“That was my children’s wish, I kinda look forward to it.”
So just how does her family plan to light all those candles?
“We do it the easy way, we buy those candles that say 1-0-9!” laughed her daughter, Carolyn, who reads to her mother every night over the phone. At this point they’ve read more than 50 books this way and romance novels are their favourite.
To put things into perspective, in her lifetime Ens’ will have eaten 39,785 servings of breakfast, brushed her teeth 79,570 times and will have consumed 318,280 glasses of water.
Ens’ is taking part in the Boston University School of Medicine New England Centenarian Study on longevity, funded by the National Institute on Aging.
“Did we have anything special happening this year mom?” said her daughter.
“Well yes, some babies came,” Ens’ replies.
Two more great-great-grandchildren are on the way as well as an upcoming wedding.
“You have to be able to anticipate something,” adds Piercve, who says major life events keep her mother going.
At this point Ens could be the oldest person in the province but it’s a bit difficult to determine. Currently registered on the provincial health registry with Saskatchewan health benefits are 60 people who are 105 or older and a total of 12 people older than Ens.
Officials tell us their records may not be accurate since they would not account for anyone living in Saskatchewan who may not have a health card.
Data is also unreliable since officials say they wouldn’t necessarily know if someone had passed away or moved out of the country so information in the health registry may be skewed.
Either way, Ens doesn’t appear to want to break any records and says she certainly doesn’t feel any wiser being a year older.
“I don’t feel much difference.”
© 2016 Shaw Media