Aug 24, 2023

Australia’s oldest person turns 111!

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110-year-old Catherina van der Linden celebrating her 111th birthday with family and care staff. [Source: Southern Cross Care SA]

Australia’s oldest living person Catherina van der Linden will turn 111 tomorrow, August 26, and credits her long life to an active lifestyle. 

The supercentenarian  lives in Southern Cross Care’s West Beach Residential Care home in South Australia and still engages in regular walks and twice-weekly gym sessions at the on-site Health and Wellness Centre.

“I push myself sometimes when I’m getting a bit tired and I think it’s about time to do something to yourself to see that you still have that energy that you had before,” said Catherina.

Catherina has always loved bike riding! [Source: Southern Cross Care SA]

Catherina’s oldest daughter Mariella Hocking said her mum really likes exercising, particularly walking, so it wasn’t a surprise she’s had such a long life. 

“Mum had one aunt who also lived to 110 but all her brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, all lived only to their 60s and early 70s, so there’s a freaky gene there somewhere in the family I think,” said Mariella.

West Beach Residential Care Manager, Catherine Willoughby, said Catherina is a healthy ageing role model for all staff and residents.

“She’s still doing regular walks around the facility, opens the exit doors and around she goes. We’ve actually got a couple of other new residents that have started doing the same routine,” Ms Willoughby said.

Born in the Netherlands in 1912, Catherina migrated to Australia with her husband and young family in 1955 and went on to work a variety of jobs to help pay the bills.

Catherina, her husband and four children in Glenelg, Adelaide after migrating to South Australia. [Source: Southern Cross Care SA]

She was a grape picker, a nursing assistant, a typist and a clerical assistant, and had an interest in fashion and dressmaking inherited from her mother and father – a seamstress and a tailor.

Nowadays, Catherina enjoys socialising with family – consisting of her four children, 10 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren, friends and fellow residents in between staying active.

Catherina with three of her four children. [Source: Southern Cross Care SA]

So, what’s the secret to a long life? 

“Keep moving, don’t sit still,” said Catherina. 

“Be happy with yourself and be content with what life gives you, sometimes it’s not very good and sometimes it’s better but you have to take the bad with the good as well and it’s possible to make living a joy.

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