This story was originally published in PHC News on April 12, 2018 and updated for publishing February 6, 2020.
Shiu Kim Wong has been alive for the sinking of the Titanic, the start of Mother’s Day, both World Wars, and the birth of computers and cell phones. At 107 years old, the resident of Mount Saint Joseph Hospital has seen so much in her lifetime. Her grandson Godwin Wong credits her longevity to “good genes, a simple life, and family visits.” He is so proud of his grandmother, “I saw that the oldest person in Canada is 112 years old so that puts my grandmother within the top 50.”
But the centenarian is not the only one with incredible life stories to share. Turns out almost one-tenth of the residents at MSJ have lived a century or more. In addition to those nine residents, another 35 are 90 years of age or older.
Site leader Carrie Willekes says during her career in residential care, she’s typically seen one or two centenarians at a facility at any given time, so to have nine at once is incredible. She laughs, “Of course we attribute the longevity to great care here at MSJ in addition to a great community.”
One of the younger centenarians Loo May King, 100 years old, had some advice for anyone else who wants to enjoy a long life, “Eat lots of rice and chicken thighs.”
All the residents at MSJ were treated to a special birthday celebration today. Event host Monica Ng, occupational therapist, and staff handed out flowers, birthday hats and traditional Chinese ‘longevity peach buns’ – filled with sweet red bean paste, symbolic of health and immortality. The event was supported by St. Paul’s Foundation.