Tag Archives: 100-years-old

Jamaica nursing home celebrates more than a dozen centennial residents


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

This week, the Chapin Home for the Aging will have more than a dozen residents who are a century or more old. And to celebrate the occasion the administrators are going to hold a birthday for all of them on Wednesday.

“In all my years of working at nursing homes I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Kathleen Ferrara, the recreational director of Chapin Home. “They’re so unique and such a special group.”

The Jamaica nursing home, which started out as a women’s home in the 19th and much of the 20th century, can hold up to 220 elders. On Tuesday, one of the residents turns 100, giving the nursing home 13 residents who are at least 100. Many of them have some degree of dementia, according to Ferrara, but for the most part they are very lucid for people who have lived for so long.

Ferrara is in charge of making sure that the residents stay active and keep busy with carious recreational activities. The group of centennials occupy themselves in a variety of ways from playing bingo to playing bowling on the Wii.

Mildred Gent is the oldest of the centennial cohort and in October she will be 107. Gent’s lived in the nursing home since 2010 and lived in Greenwich Village where she worked as a clerk during the 1920s and 30s and into WWII.

Gent doesn’t pay much attention to the modern world and when asked about the Internet she said, “It’s a lot of bunk,” using a term that is as old as she is.

The youngest to join the group of ultra-elders is Mary Nuccio, who turns 100 on June 24. Born in 1914, Nuccio has witnessed three generations of her family develop. Her great-grandchild starts college in the fall.

“This is pretty rare in my family,” she said about her age. “I’m going to be 100. Everything is broken but not my mind.”

During WWII, Nuccio and her husband James, who is now deceased, left their Astoria home to live in the Nebraskan city of Omaha, where James served as an MP at an Italian prison war camp.

In her spare time, Nuccio likes to play bowling on the Wii. Her bowling partner and fellow resident Carol Martin complained that Nuccio is very good at the game.

“I’m very determined,” Nuccio, who is around 5 feet, said. “I don’t like to be dependent on anybody. I’m very independent.”

As Nuccio played on a game console that is less than a decade old, resident Jimmy Key sat outside enjoying the warm weather.

In a very heavy southern accent—reminiscent of blues singers like Lead Belly—that Ferrara said most people can’t understand, he said he was from Nashville, Tenn.

“I’m country boy,” Key said. “I’m over 100 years old. I’m so old, I don’t remember how old I am.”

 

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Little Neck woman celebrates a century


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Follow me @liamlaguerre

 

Woodrow Wilson was president, Babe Ruth played his first professional game and the world’s first transcontinental telephone line was established, the year Maria Regina Lucarelli was born.

Lucarelli, a resident of Brandywine Senior Living at the Savoy in Little Neck, will turn 100 years old on Sunday, April 13, and she will have a birthday party at the senior home to celebrate her experiences during the last century.

To reach the century mark, Lucarelli didn’t have to rely on a fountain of youth or a special anti-aging potion. Her advice to younger people is to just take it easy.

“You let each day go with whatever happens,” she said. “Go with the flow.”

Lucarelli’s life has been a wild ride through some of history’s darkest moments, including World Wars I and II and the Great Depression, as she struggled to achieve the “American Dream.”

Lucarelli was born in Toritto, Italy, in 1914. As a child, she traveled with her parents to America, where she completed junior high school and learned English. Eventually, she moved back to Italy to settle down and help her family during the Great Depression.

In 1947, she married Filippo Lucarelli, a conductor and musician, and the pair had two daughters in Italy. In 1953, when the family decided to board a ship to move to America permanently, the couple learned at the last minute that Filippo’s papers weren’t in order. She went alone and he remained in Italy with the children.

Initially, the problem with Filippo’s papers should have taken a few weeks to fix, but ended up splitting the family up for about seven months, becoming the most devastating period of Lucarelli’s life.

“That was the biggest obstacle I think my mother and father had to face,” said Lucarelli’s daughter, Chiara Ceglian. “I just can’t imagine the heartache that everyone felt at that time.”

Photo courtesy Chiara Ceglian 

After the family was reunited, they lived in a small apartment near Gramercy Park in Manhattan, where the rent was a bargain at $50 a month.

In America, Lucarelli used her skills as a seamstress to become a fashion designer working for department stores, such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman.

She also mended clothes for private clients, “saving every penny” she earned, Ceglian said. After Lucarelli gave birth to her final daughter, the family moved to a house in Long Island with a relative. Then Lucarelli used her savings to buy her own house in Long Island, where she remained until she retired.

Her daughters are hosting her century birthday party, but cake and drinks aren’t on Lucarelli’s mind these days.

“I made it through the bad,” said Lucarelli, who is a great-grandmother of two. “I’m happy to be alive.”
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