Real Lives

Care home residents share tips to long life after turning 100

“Remember your manners” and “enjoy everything in moderation” are just some of the secrets to a long and happy life, according to two care home residents who turned 100 in November.

Betty Wilcox and Vera Malin who live at Sanctuary Care’s Pinewood Residential Care Home in Essex were joined by the Mayor and Deputy Mayor Councillor of Essex, Councillor Linda Mascot and is Councillor Jude Deakin, along with fellow residents, staff, and relatives to toast the special milestone.

To mark the big day, staff decorated the home with balloons and banners and held a special birthday party for Betty and Vera, with a beautiful cake prepared by the home’s head chef.

Both Vera and Betty were born in London and have lived at the Chigwell care home for two years and 18 months, respectively.

The not-for-profit care home provides residential, dementia, and respite care to 54 elderly residents from the local community.

Centenarian, Betty Wilcox, was born in Edmonton, London. She says her most notable achievement was raising her two sons.  When asked her secret to living a long and enriched life, Betty said:

“Always be polite and helpful, and don’t drink alcohol”. 

Vera Mallin grew up in Stratford, London, and she says her proudest achievement was serving HRH the Queen in the army as a machinist, as well as raising her family.

Sharing her own pearls of wisdom for growing old happy, Vera added:

“Good food and keeping warm is the trick. I used to enjoy a Guinness but now I favour moderation in all walks of life”.

Denise Brown, Care Home Manager at Pinewood Residential Care Home, commented:

“We had an incredible day celebrating Vera and Betty turning 100. The surprise visit from the Mayor and Deputy Mayor was greatly appreciated, making the birthday party extra-special for our two lovely residents.

“Our team at Pinewood Residential Care Home feel more like a family, and like any family, we do everything we can to enrich our residents’ lives and make them smile. 

“There is nothing our residents love more than a party and so taking time to celebrate important milestones and big birthdays is just one way that we can ensure our residents feel happy and fulfilled whilst living in our home.” 



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