Hammerson House held a “Celebrating 100 years” party in honour of its centenarian residents — who rack up more than a millennium between them.
The Hamspstead care home, which merged with Nightingale House in 2012, counts 11 people aged over 100 among its 73 residents. The oldest resident, Edith Kaufman, celebrated her 110th birthday last week.
The 11-strong group were brought together with members of their families to toast their long lives with champagne and cake.
A big-screen presentation then interspersed images from their past — including photos of their bar- and batmitzvahs, weddings and children — with milestone moments from the past 100 years.
Familiar events included the first flight in 1903, which took place a week after Ms Kaufman’s birth, the vote being given to women in 1928, and the emergence of the television in the 1930s.
One resident who has certainly kept abreast of the times is 102-year-old Betty Clark, who celebrated her 100th birthday two years ago by flying in a helicopter — after being told she could not do a parachute jump. “I’m not afraid of anything,” she said. “It was a really wonderful day.”
Ms Clark also revealed one of her biggest enjoyments: watching Sky Sports, especially whenever her favourite rugby player, Jonny Wilkinson, is playing.
Another resident, 101-year-old Doris Samuel, spoke of her excitement about her great-grandson’s forthcoming barmitzvah.
“I have an evening gown for the party — you’ll have never seen anything like it,” she said. “I live for fashion.”
According to Hammerson’s chief executive, Andrew Leigh, the care home’s £25 million redevelopment plans, which will take place from 2016 to 2018, will work to accommodate the accelerating trend of older residents living in care.
Mr Leigh explained how the home was designed 50 years ago for a much lower level of care, with all facilities kept central at the front of the building.
But with more people than ever living into their 100s — and with all their accompanying care needs — it is vital to shorten the distances they travel and provide them with more modern, fully-equipped and spacious rooms.
This, he said, will enable Hammerson to provide full and first-class care — both for people living with dementia, as well as those who are not so physically able. Mr Leigh celebrated the century-long lives of Hammerson’s residents as a clear marker of the benefits of community care living.
He said: “This is life-enhancing. Being in a community is stimulating. Their biological age is their biological age — no one can do anything about that. But with the care we provide, we really keep them going physically and mentally.”
He pinpointed Ms Kaufman as being a formidable example of this bespoke care. At 110-years-young, and being among the oldest citizens in Britain, the Hammerson resident is keen to master computers and digital photography.