A century, and counting...

March 16, 2016
Mae Knowles and her boyfriend Monty

Mae Knowles plans to celebrate her upcoming birthday like most days. Lounge in bed in the morning in her apartment. Grab a spot of tea. Do a crossword. And look forward to lunch with her boyfriend Monty later in the week.

Nothing special, she says. Except for the fact she is turning 101 on March 20, her boyfriend is 96, and she still lives independently - with supports - at Ironwood Place in Campbell River, an assisted living residence for seniors.

Mae’s milestone birthday comes just weeks after the provincial government introduced amendments to the Community Care and Assisted Living Act that once in effect, will allow seniors like Mae, who can still make their own care decisions but require more services, to live in an assisted living residence for longer.

Mae appreciates the help she gets with personal care, meal preparation and medication management. But she also enjoys her independence, and thinks that may have contributed to her longevity. As well as the fact that she never drank or smoke.

“I didn’t really expect to live for more than a century,” she said. “I’ve had a good life. I raised nine children in Saskatchewan, and I have too many grandchildren and great-grandchildren to count.”
Rita Bresson, the administrator at Ironwood, thinks Mae just might be the oldest assisted living client on Vancouver Island.

“It speaks to the importance of supporting seniors in the community, to help them stay as independent, and live with dignity for as long as possible,” Bresson said.

As for Mae, before she gets ready to blow out 101 candles on her birthday cake, she does have one piece of advice for the rest of us.

“Slow down. The world is too fast.”

Mae Knowles’ Birthday Celebration
2 p.m., Monday, March 21, 2016
Ironwood Place
1351 Ironwood Street, Campbell River

Kellie Hudson
Media Relations Manager
Island Health