Saskatoon’s Century Club is celebrating a milestone.
It’s a social group for those aged 90 and over. The program is run by the Saskatoon Council on Aging and formed in 2005.
This year the club reached 200 members.
“We’re getting people from all walks of life,” Century Club committee co-chair Lynell Czekaj explained.
“People who live in some of the seniors’ complexes in town and a lot of those who do live in their own homes.”
More and more Canadians are living longer. The latest census shows the biggest increase in the population of seniors since Confederation.
Centenarians – people 100 or older – are the fastest growing demographic in Canada. By 2031, it’s estimated one in four Canadians will be 65 or older.
According to the latest census, Saskatchewan is home to roughly 375 centenarians. On a per capita basis that’s more than any other province.
“It tells me that we are promoting positive aging and people are living healthier,” said June Gawdun, executive director for the Saskatoon Council on Aging.
“They’re doing active aging that contributes to it a lot.”
There are 10 people over the age of 100 and six more turning 100 this year in the Century Club.
At the age of 104, Sophie Foster is the club’s oldest member, joining about a decade ago. She’s outlived all of her eight siblings and said the key to a long life is “everything in moderation.”
“That means active, diet, associations and your work,” Foster explained. “I work hard, I always exercise, I’ve been careful with my diet. I’ve been fortunate that I haven’t had any serious illnesses.”
Foster said a highlight of her life was her 60-year marriage.
“We had a very very good marriage,” she said. “We respected each other and we respected our friends and family. That’s what made our lives so much better.”
Order of Canada recipient Harold Chapman joined the club three years ago. The 101-year-old was born in Saskatoon and has lived in Saskatchewan all his life.
It seems longevity runs in his family. His father lived to celebrate his 100th birthday before he passed away.
“If you’ve got good genes you’ve got to look after them,” Chapman said.
He also shared some tips for a long life – his first rule? No smoking.
“Not if you want to be around until you’re 100,” he explained.
“Do things in moderation – It’s OK to have a drink every now and then.”
Looking back over his life he highlights his part in building the co-operative movement, his 18-year tenure as a principal and his 62-year marriage.
Hildegarde Keller is one of the Century Club’s newest centenarians, celebrating her 100th birthday in March. She was 92 when she first joined.
Born in Rhein, Sask., Keller grew up during the depression and went to war. Her life advice is to work hard and accept things as they come.
“I’ve worked hard all my life,” Keller said. “Try to be content and accept the way life is – it’s not always good.”
As for membership – it has its perks.
“I made a lot of old friends,” Chapman exclaimed. “It’s nice to talk to folks that have been around for a long time.”
“We are serving a purpose and they are enjoying it,” Czekaj said.