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Silveridge Centenarians Weigh In On Insight and Resolutions for 2024

Submitted by Kara Webb, RN, Director of Assisted Living

As I try to think back on the past year, one thing really comes to mind… “Where the heck did it go?” My thoughts drifted back to the start of my own 2023 and asking myself if I met my New Year’s resolution, then trying to decide if I even made one. A sudden sense of guilt came over me knowing if I do not even remember my 2023 resolution, I likely did not accomplish it. And if I did not accomplish last year’s resolution, what on earth would I set for myself for this year? 

While there is a history of resolutions dating back to the Babylonian times, my own internal turmoil caused me to ponder if today’s custom resolutions have always been such a focus at this annual turn of time, or if they are simply something recent generations have chosen as just another means of self-gratification.  While thinking about this I also took the time to try and reflect on lessons I have learned this past year or of things that have impacted me, and it reminded me there are invaluable lessons to be learned every day. 

Therefore, in honor of the New Year I decided to ask a few of the Silveridge tenants who have experienced multiple (100 or more to be exact) to weigh in on resolutions as well as a few things that have been impactful to them this past century.

How many centenarians reside at Silveridge do you ask? Three!

LaGene Webb just celebrated her 100th birthday on Christmas Day. Having just celebrated the milestone I wondered if she had any time to reflect on the past 10 decades of life, so I asked her if she had to choose three ‘pillars’ so to speak that got her through the last century to name them.

  1. The values instilled by her parents: LaGene recalls honesty, kindness, and having daily goals and motivation were things her parents taught her and her siblings. “Don’t just let the days go by”, she said, recommending we make each one count.
  2. Faith: LaGene said her faith is what gives her hope and direction, it calms her worries and fears, and soothes any sorrow or pain she may be experiencing. She said throughout her life she has learned to turn to God and He gets her through.
  3. Family: She smiled and said this is what provides us with love and stability. “Family is everything.”

Verle Massman also turned 100 this past year so I inquired about the same three pillars:

  1. Knowing what you want and going for it – Verle grew up a farmer’s son and knew early on what goals he wanted to first obtain in life: to buy a new car and to buy a farm. He worked hard and toward those goals every day, finally securing his first 80-acre farm at a young age which eventually grew into 1080 acres. He smiles and recalls having spent his youth always wanting to own a new Ford and being so excited when he finally purchased his first in 1944, which is likely why he has owned almost 40 Ford vehicles at this stage in his life. 
  2. It never hurts to have a little good luck and a sense of humor – those of us at Silveridge know we can always count on Verle for a good joke even at the age of 100. Verle said he and his wife loved to laugh and have a good time with friends.
  3. Good years are always ahead, even when it doesn’t seem possible – Verle recounts having been hit with tragedy when he and his wife lost their 1 ½ year old son in a farming accident almost 80 years ago.  He said while it’s easy to ask ourselves the “Why” and “What if” questions when faced with tragedy, as well as to place the blame either on us or on others, the realization he’s carried with him for his century of living is that bad things simply happen. He encourages others to lean on those you love during the difficult times and promises “things do get better and there are still good years ahead.” 

Doris Hansen celebrated 103 years this year at Silveridge. A few things that have been impactful to her throughout her century of living:

  1. The love her parents gave her – Doris recalls education and hard work being important in her home with her mother being a teacher and her father a farmer. She said those two things are something that molded her into the person she is today as well as the family she raised.
  2. Faith – having attended Sunday school since the age of 4 years, faith has always been prominent in both her home and her marriage of 78 years to her late husband.
  3. Family and Friends – Doris smiles saying “I like people” when naming her third pillar, stating her cousins as well as other family and friends were very important throughout her life.

While there were certainly common themes within each of our centenarians’ lists – parental values, family, and faith for example- each pillar is unique as it is told from their own perspectives. 

Each impactful lesson offered by our three tenants may cause us to reflect on our own lives momentarily, as they are all things that certainly could continue to shape us throughout our own centuries.

Surprisingly enough, when asking each of these tenants about their own past New Year’s resolutions, the unanimous verdict was this: none of them ever made one. Not ever! This brings me to believe that while resolutions do have a place in history, they really were not overly common with generations that preceded the 21st century. This seemed to relieve me of a little of my own anxiousness surrounding my resolution ‘slacking’. LaGene did offer a bit of insight that resonated with me going into this year, however, which is something I will also leave you with. “If you live each day to its fullest potential, you really won’t ever have a need for a resolution.” Touché LaGene, touché.

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