Secrets to living long, happy life

Florida centenarians share their stories

By Jodi Mohrmann - Managing Editor of special projects
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HOLLYWOOD, Fla. - The numbers are growing! More people than ever before are celebrating being a centenarian. In fact, there are 55,000 Americans who are now 100 years old or older, and 80 percent of them are women. Meet two friends who share their secrets on how to live a long, healthy, and happy life!

Walking has always been 107-year-old Dorrie Aber Noyek's preferred mode of transportation.  However, Mazie Ford, who is also 107, really misses getting behind the wheel.

"I drove up until 3 years ago and I still have my license, [but] I gave it up," Ford said.

However, she hasn't given up her passion for knitting caps. Ford makes them for newborns at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, Florida.

"I do not watch television, I make my hats," Ford said.

There seems to be some similarities between those who make it to 100. About 57 percent have at least a high diploma. A poll in Forbes magazine says a common theme centenarians have is a positive attitude. They are highly critical of today's large portion sizes. Most attribute a loving family or active social life to living longer.

Noyek and Ford happen to live in the same building and volunteer at the same place, Memorial Regional Hospital.

"It's something that I love to do," Noyek said.

She also loves books and doesn't even need to wear glasses.

Ford keeps her mind sharp by working with her hands.  

"It helps me to keep alert," she said.

Both women are just a few years away from being super-centenarians, a title earned at 110.

Additional Information:

Centenarians Dorrie Aber Noyek and Mazie Ford both volunteer at Memorial Regional Hospital, which is something they said they love and have been doing for years.

There are 55,000 centenarians and 40 million people 65 and older in the U.S.  A recent report by the U.S. Census Bureau compared social and economical differences between centenarians and people 65 and older in the U.S.  The report, released in April 2014, revealed that the majority of centenarians are women. It also showed most centenarians as having lower education levels and more likely to live in poverty than people 65 and older. Some other major findings include:

  • Of the U.S. centenarians, 57 percent received at least a high school diploma compared with 77 percent of the 65-and-older group.
  • Women made up 81 percent of centenarians and 57 percent of those 65 and older.
  • About 17 percent of centenarians lived below the poverty line, and 9 percent of the 65-and-older population were in poverty.
  •  Among women, 3 percent of centenarians were married compared to 41 percent of women 65 and older.
  • Among men, 23 percent of centenarians were married as opposed to 71 percent of men 65 and older.
  • Of centenarians, 83 percent received Social Security income while 88 percent of the 65-and-older group did.
  • About 24 percent of centenarians received retirement income compared to 38 percent of those 65 and older.

"By living a century or more, centenarians have seen great changes in the American landscape and their education levels reflect social and economic conditions in the 1920s and earlier," Brian Kincel, a statistical analyst in the Census Bureau's Age and Special Populations Branch and the report's author, was quoted as saying.

(Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey)

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